Guest Post by Jason of Gardenlife Pro
Carrots are one of the best-loved veggies around, popular for school lunches and a staple ingredient in many recipes.
As an excellent source of fiber, vitamins A and C, potassium, and calcium, carrots also boast a natural sugar content that is higher than most other vegetables, making them a tasty snack.
Carrots are a root vegetable, maturing underground in the cool soil during the spring and summer. They are easy to grow, easy to store, and fun to eat!
The USDA reports that Americans consume over 10 pounds of carrots each year. Carrots are the go-to snack for kids’ lunchboxes, garden salads, and a nutritious side item at the dinner table.
The carrot’s leafy green foliage, as well as its seeds, was widely used for medicinal purposes in ancient times. In 100 B.C., Mithridates VI, the King of Pontius, used carrot seeds to counteract some poisons.
Carrots have a relatively long shelf life compared to most other fresh vegetables. As a root vegetable, carrots mature underground in cool soil. The dirt and the carrot’s skin work together as a barrier to protect the carrot from disease and decay. Mature carrots can even stay in the ground up to four weeks before being harvested.
Whole carrots fresh from the garden have a typical shelf life of 4 to 5 weeks. Baby carrots purchased from the grocery stores produce department will have an expiration date printed on the package. Baby carrots will last for 3 to 4 weeks in the refrigerator.
Remember, the carrot’s skin acts as a preservative. Baby carrots have been peeled and cut into their miniature form, so they will not last as long as a whole carrot. Because dirt can also act as a protective barrier for carrots, wait to clean the carrots until they are ready to be eaten. Leaving the dirt and skin intact will help the carrot stay fresh longer.
Freezing carrots is a great way to hang on to these fresh veggies. Before placing carrots in the freezer, make sure they are scrubbed clean of any dirt or debris and cut away any remaining foliage from the top.
Let them dry completely before placing them in freezer storage bags. Carrots can be kept in the freezer where their nutrients and taste will stay fresh for up to one year!
And if you’re looking to store your carrots for the long-term, I will also point out that carrots are very easy to dehydrate too!