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Carrots - Now and Later

Carrots – Now and Later

 

            Were you aware there is a world carrot museum?  It is a virtual museum – online, only – no physical site - entirely devoted to the history, evolution, science, sociology and art of carrots. Their mission is to educate, inform and amuse visitors through the discovery, collection, preservation, interpretation and exhibition of objects relating to the carrot.  You can find it at: www.carrotmuseum.co.uk.

            Frequent questions about carrots are related to storing that super orange veggie. The trick to preserving the freshness of carrot roots is to minimize the amount of moisture they lose. Many different main methods of storing can be used for carrots – everything from refrigeration, to freezing, pressure canning, drying and pickling apply.

            Whatever method of preservation you use, an important first step is preparation. First remove the greens as soon as possible as they draw away moisture from the root. Tightly seal unwashed carrots in a plastic bag in the coolest part refrigerator. Wash just before using, since the added moisture in the bag could cause spoilage. Carrots begin to go limp once exposed to air.

The best way to enjoy freshly picked carrots is to eat them raw, or simply steam or boil them.   

            Carrots should also be stored away from apples, pears, potatoes and other fruits and vegetables that produce ethylene gas since it will cause them to become bitter.  Carrots can keep in the refrigerator for up to three months if properly prepared for storage. One recommendations is to line the vegetable drawer at the bottom of the fridge with a thick layer of paper towels. This will keep the carrots fresher for a much longer time. Make sure the carrots are dry before putting them in the fridge, especially if you buy them in plastic bags. Check on the paper once or twice per week. Carrots give off a lot of moisture in the fridge and it's important to keep them dry

            Carrots, like most vegetables, need to be blanched before freezing. Vegetables that are frozen without having been blanched are safe to eat, but have "off" colors, textures and flavors, and nutrient loss.  Water blanch small whole carrots for 5 minutes, diced or sliced 2 minutes and lengthwise strips take 2 minutes. Cool promptly drain and place in plastic containers, leaving ½-inch head space. Seal and freeze as soon as possible.

            As a low acid vegetable, carrots must be processed in a pressure canner. An average of 2½ pounds per quart. Select small carrots, preferably 1 to 1¼ inches in diameter. Larger carrots often are too fibrous. Wash, peel and rewash carrots. Slice or dice. For a hot pack, cover with boiling water; bring to a boil and simmer for five minutes. Fill jars, leaving 1 inch of head space. For a raw pack, fill jars tightly with raw carrots, leaving 1 inch of head space.

Add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jar, if desired. Add hot cooking liquid or water, leaving 1 inch of head space. Adjust the lids and process for either hot or raw pack for 25 minutes at 11 pounds pressure for a pint jar.  

            Pickling is another great way of preserving almost any garden veggie. These tangy, sweet and sour carrots are a great addition to any meal.

 

            Sweet and Sour Carrots

 

8 oz. carrots, peeled and cut into match sticks about 2" long
1 tbsp. coarse salt
1 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp. light brown sugar
Crushed red chili pepper flakes, to taste

            Place the carrots in bowl and toss with the salt. Allow to sit for 1 hour. Drain well.
Combine vinegar, brown sugar, and chili flakes in a small saucepan. Heat over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves. Allow to cool to room temperature. Add the vinegar mixture to the carrots and toss well. Allow to marinate for 1-2 hours before serving, or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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