Asking yourself “How long do carrots last?” Carrots are versatile and tasty root vegetables that are filled with nutritional benefits, containing plenty of fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins. They make great snacks, salad ingredients, sides and even cakes!
Here’s a useful guide to the best ways of storing and preserving your carrots, and when to throw them on the compost heap!
How Long Do Carrots Last?
How long your carrots will last depends on a number of important factors, including whether they are home-grown or bought at the store, and how you store them at home.
Freshly harvested carrots tend to last longer than store-bought varieties, and prepared baby carrots often need to be eaten much faster than unpeeled carrots.
Let’s start with the basics such as knowing how long do carrots last in the fridge:
- Fresh carrots (whole carrots that are store bought) can last 4 to 5 weeks past their printed date.
- Baby carrots can be consumed 3 to 4 weeks past their published date. If they are peeled, however, they may start drying out.
- Cooked carrots can be kept in the fridge for a week.
- Carrots that are freshly harvested from your garden and left unpeeled can last up to 3 months stored in the fridge.
- If you want your carrots to last as long as possible, leave them in the fridge without even washing them, since the excess moisture can actually make them turn bad. Simply place them inside a plastic bag or container that is airtight.
- Remember to avoid storing them with the other vegetables and fruits, as this can make them start to rot.
- If you are using your fridge’s vegetable drawer for carrots, make sure to put a dry paper underneath it to help remove any moisture.
Growing your own carrots? You might also be interested in reading this article on carrots nutritional requirements and best carrot fertilizers available in 2022.
Storing Carrots Inside the Freezer
If want your carrots to last for more than a year, then storing carrots inside your freezer will work well.
Freezing carrots is a great way to have healthy, nutritious vegetables easily at hand through the week.
You have to do it the right way, however, if you want them to maintain their color, freshness and nutrients. Here’s how to start freezing carrots:
- Start by washing your carrots thoroughly.
- Peel your carrots (if you prefer them that way) and remove the green stem.
- Cut them to your preferred size.
- Now blanch your carrot! Heat water in a pot until boiling. You’ll need about 16 cups of water for four cups of carrots.
- Add your carrots when the water is boiling and keep them in for 3 minutes if sliced or in smaller pieces, or 5 minutes of you are using whole baby carrots.
- Once the time is up, remove them from the boiling water and put them into a bowl of ice water so they stop cooking and cool down immediately.
- Once cool, drain them well.
- Place the carrots in an airtight container or freezer bags. Vacuum seal if you can.
- Label and date your carrots so you know how old they are.
- Use your carrots as needed.
- To prolong their storage period, make sure that the freezer is at 0 degrees Fahrenheit to keep them safely frozen.
When to Throw Away Carrots?
So, when should you throw your carrots out? Have a look at your carrots. If they have cracks and have turned a bit white, this just means that the carrots are dehydrated and have dried out, so they are safe to use.
If they have become soft, limp, smelly, moldy, and mushy then they have started to rot and should be thrown away.
How to Store Carrots
You can preserve your carrots further with a little extra effort, by:
- Leaving them in the ground longer, especially if you live in a cooler climate. You can protect them from frost with mulch and a layer of tarp. As long as you don’t live in a very snowy area, this method works well.
- Store them in a root cellar. Trim off the greens but don’t wash your carrots or damage the skin. Pack them into boxes of damp sand or straw, and keep them in a humid space that doesn’t go below freezing. They can last up to 6 months!
If you have a food dehydrator, you can dry your carrots for later use in stews, soups, casseroles or even as snacks – they’re just as tasty as potato chips! Here’s how:
- Prepare and blanch them first (the same method as for storing carrots in the freezer)
- Spread them on the dehydrator trays, making sure they don’t overlap.
- Dehydrate at 125 degrees Fahrenheit until they feel brittle or tough. This can take 8-12 hours and you want them to be as dry as possible.
- Let them cool and then store in sterilized jars out of the sunlight.
How to Make Pickled Carrots
Pickled carrots are delicious and nutritious, and can be served as a tasty addition to steaks, tacos, salads and sandwiches. Here’s how to pickle and preserve your carrots:
- Peel your carrots (about 5lbs)
- Cut them to the desired size (some people leave baby carrots whole, finely slice them with a potato peeler or cut into rounds)
- Make your brine by combining 5 ½ cups of vinegar, 1 cup of water, 2 cups of sugar, 2 tsp canning salt, 2T pickling spice, 2 cinnamon sticks (optional) in a pot. Heat on the stove until hot.
- Add carrots and cook until they are just tender (about 10 minutes).
- Remove the spice bags and cinnamon sticks.
- While hot, pack into sterilized jars leaving a ¼ inch space at the top.
- Seal the jars and wipe clean before storing in a dry cupboard away from the light.
Preserved carrots should last a year or more if stored properly, and they should be properly pickled within a week or two. The longer you wait, the deeper the flavor will be.
Now You Know How Long Carrots Last!
Now that you’ve read through our guide, you have all the answers to “How long do carrots last?”, including information on how to tell if a carrot is rotten, how to store them in the fridge, and even how to dehydrate or pickle carrots to make them last even longer. Happy crunching!