Store those fresh garden carrots! This is by far the BEST method for long-term storage that I have tried, and will keep your carrots from the garden available, crisp and sweet til spring!
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There is nothing better than eating a fresh carrot in the middle of the winter, tasting like it just came from the garden! I was told about this way to store carrots a few years back by my wonderful gardening mentor.
Carrots are crunchy, sweet and healthy for you! What’s not to like about that? They are rich in fiber, minerals and vitamins, especially beta-carotene which converts to vitamin A in the body, anti-oxidants, and are considered a low glycemic food source. All this adds up to one healthy food source!
One study suggests that the beta-carotene (converts to Vitamin A), will actually increase in the first few months of storage. All the more incentive to keep these beauties healthy long-term.
Carrots are made up of essentially two things: fiber (healthy carbohydrates) and water. The water content in carrots will vary between 86% to 95%. The KEY to long-term storage is to lose as little moisture as possible during storage. I store my carrots beginning from mid to late October and enjoy crunchy fresh carrots all the way until April/May. The secret? Sphagnum Moss.
THE BEST WAY TO STORE CARROTS
Fresh Sphagnum Moss is also known commonly as “Peat Moss”. It is, however, not the peat moss one can easily buy in the big box stores. It is made up of 16-26 times more water than their dry weight, making it a wonderfully hydrating bed for any root vegetable needing long-term storage. It is foraged & abundantly found in wet boggy areas and along streams, usually in thick, dense clumps.
I harvest Sphagnum Moss the same day as my carrots. This ensures complete hydration and no drying out. When harvesting, be sure to leave a good amount to ensure next years moss growth. This safeguard assures you have plenty of moss available when you need it yearly.
PREPARING CARROTS FOR COLD STORAGE
The preparation of your carrots for storage could not be more simple. Loosen the carrots from the earth with a pitchfork, being careful to not cut through or stab the carrots. Remove the greens as close to the carrot as possible without removing any of the carrot itself. As you can see below, I’m not too fussy with this process. As long as you have the majority of the greens removed, they are fine. I simply grab the greens near the root and give a good twist to remove.
Place a good inch or so layer of the moss on the bottom of a large barrel. I have no drainage holes in my bucket. Brush any excess soil from the carrots. I only concern myself with any large clumps of soil. Begin laying the carrots in a SINGLE layer with no overlapping. Continue until you have a complete layer of carrots.
Add a good thick 1-2 inch layer of moss atop the first layer of carrots and continue with this process until all of your carrots are stored in the bucket. Finish the top layer with another thick layer of moss.
Lastly, I lay a plastic bag loosely over the top of the bucket. This helps to retain moisture but still allows it to breathe freely.
BEST STORAGE FOR GARDEN FRESH CARROTS
Where do you store your bucket of carrots? If you are fortunate enough to have a root cellar, store the bucket there. Ideal root cellar conditions are a stable temperature of 34° to 40°F (0° to 4.5°C) with humidity at a level of 85% to 90%. These temperatures slow the release of ethylene gas and inhibit the growth of microorganisms that cause decomposition.
If not, you will need a cool, dark area for storage. Unfinished cellars, crawl spaces, garages or anywhere that does not experience a deep freeze, will be good areas for storage. Hopefully, any area you choose will be able to mimic the conditions of a root cellar as closely as possible. Realize the warmer the area, the shorter length of storage time you will have before they begin to decompose.
What are the best kinds of carrots for long-term storage? Any carrot that has a thick core seems to store the longest. I’ve had wonderful success with Danvers, Napoli, and Scarlett Keeper for winter storing. The flavorful and colorful carrots, Purple Haze, Atomic Red, and White Satin will store for a much shorter time. If you are planning on storing these, I recommend placing them on the top layers so they will be used first.
It should be noted that this storage method works with most of your root vegetable storage. I use the moss method for my rutabaga/turnip as well as my beets.
Normally, by using this method it is not a matter of the product not lasting long enough, but instead, will we be able to utilize all the produce before next season! Not a bad issue to have. I know my chickens love it when we need to clean out the root cellar early summer!
When cleaning out your bucket, don’t throw away the dried moss! It can be repurposed in a few ways. Dried moss is a great tinder for those who heat with wood or have a wood burning fire pit. I use it yearly in my outdoor flower hangers to replace any moss lost during the winter months instead of buying the traditional coco liners. Keep your eye out for my seasonal post on outdoor hangers! Throw it in your compost pile or garden.
By following these simple steps, you will be enjoying fresh carrots all year long! What is your preferred method for long-term storage of root vegetables? Love to hear from you!
Love, Light, & Laughter ~
Can do the same thing using potting soil between carrot layers.
There are certainly options for storing carrots for sure! However, I’ve found that by using sphagnum moss, I don’t have to worry about maintaining moisture levels in the carrots themselves to keep them from drying out. The moss contains all the moisture needed, and I’m all about one & done 🙂 Thanks so much for reading & stopping by, Gary!
I buy my pest Moss to store my carrots. Do I need to buy new peat miss or can I reuse the peat moss for this year’s carrots?
I’ve not used regular peat moss to store my carrots, only sphagnum moss. That being said, I’ve never re-used my moss from year to year for storage. I would be concerned with bacteria etc being leached into the moss from any carrots that deteriorate over time. I think I would replace the moss and use it elsewhere and use fresh for storage purposes. Hope that helps, Tracy!
What great information! Thanks for sharing with us!
Thanks for the tips Suzan! For some reason, my carrots never get larger or sweet… any tips? I would love to be able to have an abundance of carrots to store through the winter, as we use and eat carrots a lot in our home.
Thanks for sharing with us on Embracing Home and Family Link-up party! Please join us again this Friday 🙂
Planting carrots for an abundant crop can be tricky at times. Be sure you are planting in loose, sandy soil. Soil preparation may be the one biggest mistake in carrot planting as anything other than this type of soil will produce short, mis-shaped and stunted carrots. Here in zone 5b, we plant early spring and leave them in the ground until our first frost. They like the cold and will develop a sweetness during this time. Hope that helps somewhat!
So I’m not sure when I can find fresh moss, but I do have a bag of peat moss which is all dry. Would it be effective to layer it in and moisten it as I went? Thanks for these tips!
Also, do you grow the moss somewhere in your garden? I’ll have to do that next year if so!
Unfortunately, the peat moss will not hold the moisture as needed for long-term storage. Sphagnum moss grows in moist, boggy areas and we harvest it there. Not something that will grow in traditional gardens. If you cannot harvest this moss local to you, more traditional ways of storage such as sand etc will most likely be your best option. Good luck with your storage & I thank you for your questions & reading Robyn!
So glad I saw the link to this post at the Wow Me Wednesday party. We are already getting frost warnings so I’ll be harvesting my carrots within the next few weeks. Thank you so much for this great tip and it couldn’t be more timely. Off to get some moss to try this.
So glad it was of use for you Marie! Thank you for stopping by & reading.
This post was perfect timing for me. My carrots did not come in well this year, but next year when they do, I will know how to store them. My garden vegetables are more for winter. Great post!
So glad you found this of use, Michelle! It has been an off year for so many things for sure, my garden harvests as well. Thanks so much for stopping by!
What a great natural, sustainable idea, Suzan! It’s so important to be able to store a glut of garden produce. I didn’t realise the Beta Carotene in carrots could increase in storage either – that is so cool! Thank you so much for sharing this post with the Hearth and Soul Link party. I’m featuring your post at the party this week. Hope to ‘see’ you there!
Thank you, April! I appreciate the feature & will certainly be stopping by. Thank you for taking the time to read 🙂
Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared.
I wondered if one could use this method for potatoes? We stored ours in paper sacks last year but they sprouted long before we could eat them all and many were wasted.
PS found you from April J Harris’s Hearth and Soul Link Party
Hi Hilary ~ Thank you for stopping by! I’ve never tried that as we have a cold root cellar. Maybe give it a try with a few this year and see your results. Let us know if you do & how it worked out!
What a wonderful tip for storing carrots. We did not plant a vegetable garden this year. I miss the ripe tomatoes and so much more. Thanks Suzan for sharing at “Love Your Creativity.” Have a lovely week.
Thank you, Linda! To you as well.
wow, this is a great tip! I was thinking at first that you were going to tell us about putting them in sand (I’ve seen that done before on a “prepper show” but I was so surprised about the moss. Thank you for linking this up with us at #omhgww
Thank you, Alice! So glad I could surprise you!!
Love the idea of using moss to help keep carrots over the winter! We don’t have a root cellar as our home is built directly on bedrock but I might try this in our back room. Thanks for another useful post – found you through the Homestead Blog Hop!
Thank you for stopping by & reading! This method works amazing. We were eating fresh carrots all the way through April this year. Let me know how it works for you!