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For many of us, carrots are a staple in our diet. They are packed with nutrients, are relatively low in calories, and add a touch of sweetness to savoury dishes. But there is nothing more frustrating than opening the fridge to find that they’ve gone limp and soft after only a few days. The good news is that with a few simple tips you can learn how to store carrots and keep them fresh for weeks!
IN THIS POST
How to store fresh carrots
Prepare the carrots for storage
Proper storage starts with good preparation, since you don’t know exactly how long the carrots were on the shelf before you bought them, start this process as soon as you get home.
Firstly, if your carrots have green tops on them, you should slice these off straight away. While they might look pretty and rustic, they are actually the growing part of the plant you see above the soil, and therefore they are actually fed by the root (the carrot). If you leave them on they will continue to extract nutrients and moisture from the carrot.
Method 1 – The plastic bag
The simplest method for storing carrots is to transfer them to a plastic food bag. Then store them in the vegetable drawer in the fridge. The plastic bag helps to lock in moisture around the carrots which actually prevents them from becoming limp. Don’t seal the bag and make sure air is able to circulate to the carrots.
To make this method more sustainable, you can use an old bread bag, which has the added bonus of being long and thin. Or you can use these reusable food storage bags.
When storing carrots using the plastic bag method, make sure they are fully dry before storage as any moisture on the surface can cause them to rot. Pat them dry with a paper towel beforehand.
Carrots stored in a bag in the fridge should last for 2-3 weeks, depending on how fresh they were when you bought them. The storage conditions in your fridge may also affect the freshness. Take a look through the below information about why carrots go soft in the fridge.
Method 2 – Water
For the longest-lasting carrots (without freezing them), the best method to use is to place them in a container of water in the fridge. You can use a large Tupperware box or even a large jug. As the carrots can be stored vertically or horizontally, you can find whatever best fits your space. You can also add a lid if you want to reduce the chances of spillage, but since the carrots are protected from air by the water, this isn’t essential.
If you follow the water method then make sure to change the water every 5 days to keep them fresh. The carrots also need to be completely submerged in the water before storing.
Carrots stored in water in the fridge will last up to 2 months, depending on how fresh they were when you bought them.
Why do carrots go soft in the fridge?
Have you ever gone to grab a carrot out of the fridge, only to find that it’s gone limp and soft? It can be quite frustrating, especially if you were looking forward to a crunchy snack. Luckily, there are a few simple explanations for why this happens.
- Carrots are about 80% water, so they tend to lose moisture when they’re stored in the fridge and fully open to the air. This can cause them to go soft and lose their crunch.
- If your fridge temperature is too low then the surface of the carrots may freeze a little. This can cause them to go soggy and mushy when defrosting.
- Carrots are sensitive to ethylene gas, which is a growth hormone and can speed up the ripening (and aging) process. Ethylene gas is given off by certain fruits and vegetables such as apples, bananas, melons and peaches. So if you store carrots near to them, you may find it causes your carrots to go off more quickly.
Since it is actually moisture loss that causes carrots to go soft, if your carrot is just a little limp and it’s not turned slimy and gross, you can actually place it in a bowl of cold water for 30 minutes. You may find that it’s freshened up and ok to use.
How to store sliced carrots
Crisp, cold carrots are a refreshing addition to any meal, but they can be a bit of a hassle to prepare. If you’re tired of chopping carrots every time you want a snack, there’s a much easier way to store them. Just pop the sliced veg in a container of water and keep them in the fridge. Not only will this prevent them from drying out, but it will also keep them nicely chilled. Plus, you can just grab a carrot out of the container whenever you want one, without having to do any prep work.
Sliced carrots which are stored in water will keep super fresh for around 1 week. Although they will last for 2-3 weeks in total.
How to freeze carrots
You can additionally freeze carrots for up to 12 months, although there are a few requisites. Frozen carrots will never defrost back into crunchy raw veg so if you want to eat them raw or slice and toss them into salads this is not the method for you.
However, if you are planning on using them in recipes such as soups or stews, or serving them as a cooked side dish, then freezing has a few extra benefits too. You can actually prep the carrots before storing them, saving you time later.
For best results when freezing carrots first wash, peel and slice them as required. Next, you need to blanch them, this means flash cooking them in boiling water before ‘refreshing’ them in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Frozen carrots which aren’t blanched first will lose their vibrancy and colour, they will also last a lot longer in the freezer. You can also check out this full article about how to freeze carrots.
So now you know how to keep carrots fresh for months, why not try out one of these recipes with your stash?