Storing vegetables from your garden can be difficult if you don’t have access to a root cellar or cold storage. And pickling is not always what we want to do. Thankfully, if you have a surplus of carrots I have a super easy fix for you. We don’t have the option of any form of cold storage in our house either, but don’t worry, there’s a solution.
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Before we jump into it, lets go over those other two options. Canning and pickling is usually the first alternative to root cellaring that most people think of. And yes, canning and pickling are fantastic ways to store your produce! If you can pressure can your vegetables then you don’t need to fuss with pickling everything and just eating pickles all winter long. But a lot of folks don’t have the option of pressure canning for storage, since that means owning another large piece of equipment. (more on pressure canning in another post though, if you are into that idea!)
Storing root vegetables through the cold months of the year without canning isn’t impossible, obviously. People have been doing it for hundreds of years, long before refrigeration. The problem is that not all of us have a spot in our homes that stays as humid and cold as is needed. Your standard fridge is nearly the perfect option though! Except for that maintenance of a high humidity. And if you happen to have a secondary fridge, or a mini fridge that could be used solely for veggies, even better!
Our Carrot Storing Method
So our solution, like I said, is ultra simple. Last week we brought in our carrot harvest. And yes, it’s not the biggest harvest in the world, at only 7lbs, but that’s still a lot for us! For this method all you need is:
- Large freezer style ziplock bags (One for rough every 2lbs of carrots)
- A wooden skewer
- Pruning sheers or kitchen scissors
- A bit of fridge space
The first thing you want to do is go through your carrots and cut the greens off. Leaving the leaves on the carrots will cause the root to soften as the leaves draw some final gasps of energy out of the root. DO leave the tap root attached though. This will help the carrot to absorb the moisture and not go sad and limp.
As you’re cutting the leaves off, inspect each carrot to make sure there aren’t any bugs or mushy bits anywhere.
Don’t wash the dirt off of the carrots. This may be an old wives tale but I haven’t got the heart to check out of fear that I’ll lose my harvest. Apparently, leaving the dirt on the carrots actually helps them maintain freshness and crispness. Simply wash them before you eat them.
Prep your Ziplock
Next. Using your wooden skewer, puncture about 15-20 holes in each of your ziplocks that goes right through both side of the bag. The holes allow just enough air flow to prevent mildew and mold from forming while still keeping the humidity in the bag up around 95% (Mimicking a root cellar)
Now simply fill each bag with about 2lbs of carrots each and seal them up. And that’s it! Stored in the fridge ( around 4C or 40F) carrots stored like this should last for months. We have an old secondary fridge in our basement that we use for storing veggies and stock piles of things like broth and orange juice. You can also simply put the bags way to the back of your fridge.
I have this bad tendency to lose jars of stuff in the back of my fridge. When I was living in an apartment, I would store my bags of root veg in the back of the fridge and it actually helped me to not lose other things, because I physically couldn’t push them far enough back to lose track. I realize that’s super odd, but oh well. We have a lot of jars in our house!
If you have a wine cooler or mini fridge, those are also good options for your bags or roots. Just because you live in a small space and don’t have a fancy pants root cellar doesn’t mean you can’t store your veggies in other ways!