© 2019 The Rural Hen

Carrot Keeping 101

We have been gardening forever, it would seem, as well as being gardeners with access to a storage cellar. Be that as it may, this is the first year we have managed to successfully overwinter carrots in their raw form.



I guess our storage method had been all wrong, and we would end up with carrots that were soggy at best and frozen at worst. So we canned 'em. Not a bad option—certainly better than blanching and freezing, in my opinion—and convenient, for sure. However, when we want to munch raw carrots, it's that tender, sweet, home-grown version we crave; and store-bought, as any gardener knows, are certainly not that.


Anyway, somehow time got away on us last fall, and the carrots stayed in the ground till the last minute. And then suddenly there they were , filling several 5-gallon pails and lined up in the back entrance hallway begging our immediate attention. It was decided, unanimously, that canning couldn't happen for at least several days and that the carrots would not wait. Hubby, avid Youtube-er that he be, discovered several recommendations for over-wintering carrots; and since they all seemed to have merit for various storage situations, he picked two that seemed reasonable to him and set to work saving our harvest.


He used a couple different mediums for separating and layering the carrots back into the pails for storage in the root cellar: sawdust and sand. He also had two prep methods for the carrots themselves: snapping the greens off right close to the carrot, and actually cutting the green ends off. With the latter, the cut end was sealed by pressing it into the garden soil before packing in pails. Also, the medium, whether sand or sawdust, kept the carrots from touching each other while in storage.


We aim to keep our root cellar (which has a dirt floor in an unheated part of the basement) at around 5° C, and that's where the biggest challenge lies. We have extreme temperature fluctuations in our part of the country—the thermometer has been known to drop from +5°C to -30°C within a 48-hour period—wreaking havoc with our cold storage.


However, we may finally have a handle on that, too, as it is now mid-February and we have neither limp nor frozen produce. I'm happy to report that we are still enjoying our deliciously sweet and tender home-grown carrots.


So, in conclusion. . .

Of the combination of storage methods we tried, we are deciding to go with the sand medium and the cut-end process in the future, mostly because these have proven to be the 'tidier'method of the two.


Hmmm. I think I may be planting a few more carrots this spring! :)