How to Store Carrots
Carrots can keep a lot longer if they're stored the right way.
Pictured Recipe: Grilled Carrots with Smoky Ketchup
Known and loved for their crunch, fresh carrots are available year-round—but keeping that snap for an entire bag of these root vegetables takes a little bit of storage know-how. Here, we'll show you how to store carrots so they can keep their crunch as long as possible.
How to Store Whole, Fresh Carrots
There are a few ways you might buy carrots: packed in a perforated bag without the greens, sold individually with greens still attached (usually found in the organic section) or in bunches at the farmers' market, fresh from the ground. And just as there are different ways to buy carrots, there are different ways to store them. Here's how.
How to Store Bagged Carrots
Whole carrots or baby carrots that you get in a plastic bag from the grocery store have a long shelf life, but it can be extended if you store the carrots right.
- Keep carrots in the bag they came in.
- Store the bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
Together, the crisper and the ventilated bag will keep the carrots cool with the right amount of moisture—it will be dry enough to prevent rot and moist enough to keep the carrots crunchy for up to a month.
The Best Way to Store Carrots
Carrots can weather a variety of storage conditions, but they thrive when it's cold and damp. If you are lucky enough to grow your own carrots, they may be left in the garden (in the ground with mulch or moist sand) until the ground freezes. If you happen to have a root cellar, you can bury them in moist potting soil as if the carrots are in the ground. But for most, water, a container and a refrigerator will help carrots keep their crunch for up to a month.
How to Store Peeled and/or Cut Carrots
Leaving the skin on a carrot helps preserve the carrot, but if you're doing meal prep for lunch or big meals, you might want to prepare carrots ahead of time by peeling and cutting them. Here's how to store them, so they're crunchy when you are ready to cook with them.
- Fill a container with cool water.
- Peel and cut carrots—you can leave them whole or cut them into sticks or coins.
- Place carrots in the container.
- Store in the refrigerator.
You can keep your carrots stored this way for up to a month.
How to Store Individual Carrots without Water
- Wash the roots, if needed, and remove the green tops.
- Place in a zip-top bag and leave it open.
- Store in the refrigerator.
The carrots continue to feed the greens after they're pulled from the ground, so removing the tops keeps the moisture and nutrients in the root. This method allows you to store carrots for up to a month.
How to Freeze Carrots
For freezing food at home, most vegetables are dunked in boiling water (blanching) and transferred to ice water (shocking) before being frozen. This slows down enzyme activity that normally distorts flavor and texture. Here's how to do it:
- Bring a pot of water to a boil.
- Prepare a bowl of ice water.
- Remove carrot tops. Peel and cut the carrots into coins or sticks.
- Place the carrots in the boiling water for 2 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the carrots to the ice water; leave them in the water until they're cool to the touch.
- Transfer the carrots to paper towel and let air-dry.
- Transfer the carrots to a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet, making sure they're not touching.
- Place in the freezer for an hour.
- Transfer the carrots to a freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How to Freeze Carrots without Blanching
While that is the traditional way to freeze carrots, you can skip the blanching without too much difference in the flavor and texture. If you want to skip that part of the process, here's how to do it:
- Peel carrots and cut into desired shapes.
- Place the carrots on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spreading them out so they're not touching.
- Freeze for 1 hour.
- Transfer the carrots to a freezer bag or container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How to Add Crunch to Soft Carrots
Peeled or not, if you stored your carrots without water and they've become soft, they may be salvageable. Like other fruits and vegetables, carrots love water and water can help revive limp carrots. Here's how to freshen up your carrots again:
- Fill a container with water.
- Place carrots in the water.
- Refrigerate for an hour.
If your carrots are limp because they've gotten a little dry, this method should restore their snap—they should be just as crunchy as they were when you brought them home from the farmers' market.