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 Post subject: Food Item: Carrotts
PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:17 am 
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Food Item: Carrots


Successful cold storage

By Sylvia Gist


Ideally, I would have a root cellar which maintained the correct temperature for the produce I would like to keep. Unfortunately, it’s not that ideal, so I have to look for other places to store things. Fortunately, different vegetables like different temperatures, so everything doesn’t have to go in the same place. Other storage options (depending upon the item) include in the ground, under a staircase, unheated rooms, outside stairwells, pits in the ground, or extra refrigerators, to name a few.

A storage method is only the last step to having successful cold storage and fresh vegetables in the winter. The first step begins with the seed catalog; it is extremely important to choose cultivars which store well. For example, not every type of carrot will still be edible the following May. Most seed catalogs are good at telling us which ones have good storage qualities. I have relied on their recommendations and have found particular cultivars of a number of vegetables that store very well for me.

Planting time and harvest time also affect the success of storage. Many storage vegetables are planted later and harvested after frost. In the following discussion, I will note what works best for me as I deal with a fairly short growing season and cool nights.

-snip- --- FULL article can be found at link, above ---


The carrot named Bolero, a nantes-type hybrid, is a dual purpose carrot. It can be planted early for delicious sweet carrots, but when planted later (in June here), it will achieve a nice size of 6 to 7 inches in length with a 1-1½ inch diameter in time for fall storage. After storage, this carrot will still be crisp and sweet. Harvest as late as possible, after frost, but before the ground freezes. I snap off the green tops right where they join the carrot.

I choose nice straight healthy carrots of good size for storage and bag up the forked, broken, nicked, small, or oversized ones to put in the refrigerator for immediate use in canning, juicing, or munching. Then I take five-gallon plastic buckets, clean washed sand, and a pitcher of water to dampen it. Don’t put too much water in the sand as it will pool in the bottom and make it too soggy. I try to dampen the sand in a different container and add the sand to my storage bucket as needed. First I put down a layer of sand and lay carrots side by side. I prefer the carrots don’t touch. Then in goes another layer of sand to cover the first layer of carrots. I continue pressing carrots into the sand and adding sand until I am near the top of the bucket, where I put on an extra thick layer of sand and lay the lid on top.

This bucket is very heavy, so I put the carrots into it at the site it will spend the winter, which, for me, is at the bottom of a stairwell leading into the basement from the garage. When the weather gets really cold, I throw some rugs and blankets over the buckets to keep them from freezing. For ideal storage, carrots prefer 32° to 40° F and 90 to 95% humidity. If you don’t have varmints underground looking for a free meal in winter, you can store them in the ground with a thick layer of mulch to prevent freezing.

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