If you have an abundance of carrots you may be wondering how to keep them fresh until you’re ready to use them. Thankfully, with just a little preparation, root vegetables like carrots are easy to store for months at a time. Keep reading to find out how to store carrots long term so you can enjoy the harvest for months to come.
Carrots can be stored for up to six months with proper preparation and good storage methods. If you’d like to store carrots for even longer, there are several preservation methods listed below.
To start with, let’s go over how to store carrots long term.
1. Separate the Greens From the Roots
When storing carrots long term, the first step is to remove the greens from the roots.
Carrot greens are edible and nutritious but need to be stored separately. If left on the carrots, carrot greens suck moisture from the root and cause the carrots to dry out.
To remove the greens, twist them off or cut the top inch or so off of your carrots with a sharp knife.
Preserving Carrot Greens
You can save the greens long term by drying them or blanching and freezing them. More information on these preservation methods is below.
If you want to use the greens up more quickly, just wrap them in a paper towel and put them in an airtight container in the fridge. They’ll stay fresh for about a week.
2. Don’t Wash or Peel
When it comes to storing carrots long term, it’s best not to wash or peel carrots before storing them. Moisture from washing or even just rinsing can lead to mold growth while carrots are in storage.
The peel is important when storing carrots long term because it acts as a protective barrier keeping the carrots moist inside and dry outside.
Before storing, brush away excess dirt but wait to wash carrots until you’re ready to use them.
3. Choose a Filler
When storing carrots long term, moisture control is important. Adding a filler to your storage container helps maintain the proper amount of moisture around your carrots.
Too much moisture causes carrots to rot. Not enough moisture leads to carrots drying out and losing some of their flavor.
A good filler works to absorb excess moisture while preventing moisture loss.
Dry leaves, moist sand, and sawdust are all good options.
4. Use a Sealed Container
An airtight container keeps excess moisture out and helps keep carrots fresh longer.
Once you’ve brushed off excess dirt and removed the greens, add some filler to your container then put in a layer of carrots. Add more filler, then another layer of carrots. Continue adding layers of carrots and filler until the container is full. Put on the lid and your carrots are ready for long term storage.
5. Keep Them in a Cool, Dry Place
A root cellar is an ideal location for storing carrots long term. If you don’t have a root cellar, any cool, dry location will do but make sure the temperature stays consistently cool.
If you have a basement or garage that stays cool and dry through the winter, those could be good options for your long term carrot storage.
6. Keep Ethylene Gas Away From Your Carrots
Ethylene is a natural gas that causes fruit to ripen faster. Many fruits produce ethylene gas like bananas, avocados, apples, peaches, and many more.
Store carrots away from big ethylene producers like apples, pears, and melons. If you’re also storing some of these fruits long-term, you can put them in the same root cellar, just don’t put them right next to your carrots.
7. Other Options for Storing Carrots Long Term
If you have more carrots than you can eat within a few months, you may want to consider some food preservation options for storing carrots long term.
Freezing carrots is simple and can preserve them for up to a year.
To freeze carrots, start by blanching them.
Wash and peel carrots then bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the carrots to the pot and boil them for 3-5 minutes.
Remove the carrots from the water and immediately submerge them in a bowl of ice water until cool. Place the carrots on a towel to dry then put them in a freezer-safe container or food storage bag before storing them in the freezer.
You can freeze carrots without blanching if you want to, but the flavor and color will deteriorate much quicker so I think it’s worth taking the time to blanch them first.
Canning is a bit more complicated than freezing but if done correctly, canned food can last for years. This Food Preservation Guide includes a lot of helpful information about canning and other preservation methods.
Wash, peel, and slice carrots, then blanch them before drying.
As with freezing, it’s possible to dry carrots without blanching them first but the color and flavor will deteriorate much more quickly. It’s definitely worth your time to blanch first!
After blanching, use a dehydrator or an oven to dehydrate your carrots.
If using a dehydrator, set the temperature to 125 degrees and dry for 8-12 hours.
If using an oven, set the temperature to 125 degrees, or as low as it will go. If the temperature on your oven can’t go lower than 150, crack the oven door to keep the temperature a bit lower. You want them to dry, not cook! Spread carrots in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 8-12 hours.
When finished, carrots will be completely dry and crisp without any moisture remaining.
Dried carrots can be eaten as is, rehydrated to use in soups, stews, and casseroles, or ground up into a powder to be used in things like smoothies or baked goods.
There are several ways to pickle carrots to help them last longer. You can use vinegar brine, salt brine, or fermentation to make pickles.
Without canning, carrot pickles last for about a month in the refrigerator. If you combine pickling with canning, your carrot pickles will last much longer. Canned carrot pickles are shelf-stable for at least a year.
Wrapping Up How to Store Carrots Long Term
Now that you’ve learned how to store carrots long term, you’re ready to enjoy carrots for months after the harvest. For more long term food storage tips, check out The Complete Guide to Long Term Food Storage. To get more ideas for food preservation, check out 7 Food Preservation Methods.