Carrots are one of the most popular root crops grown commercially around the world. This vegetable has a high keeping quality, so it is advisable to harvest carrots for the winter.
Every year, during transportation and harvesting of root crops for storage, about 30% of the total harvested carrot crop is lost. It so happens that with improper storage, yield losses reach up to 80%. The thing is that carrots are often affected by diseases during storage. Carrots with mechanical damage or eaten by pests begin to deteriorate faster than their healthy counterparts. In order for the vegetable to be safely stored all winter, many conditions must be observed, which we will try to talk about in today’s material.
How to store carrots properly
Before you send red roots for storage, you need to sort them out. Only whole, healthy and ripe fruits have a high keeping quality. After harvesting, you should not keep the carrots in a warm place, otherwise the shelf life of the vegetable will be noticeably reduced. After the beds, the carrots need to be cooled for 1-2 days and then stored.
The place where the carrots will be stored throughout the winter must be prepared in advance. One month before harvesting, the carrot storage must be disinfected, ventilated and dried.
To disinfect the room, you should use a 2% bleach solution at the rate of 1 kg per 150 sq. m. This solution should bypass all the walls, and 2 weeks before picking carrots, whitewash them. To prepare whitewash, 2 kg of slaked lime and 300 g of copper sulfate should be diluted in 10 liters of water. For each square meter of the wall, about 0.5 liters of solution will go away.
However, the good keeping quality of carrots depends not only on storage conditions, but also on varieties.
If the carrot is not infected with an infection, it can be poorly stored due to unfavorable conditions, mechanical damage, and also because of the variety. The fact is that not all carrot varieties are intended for long-term storage. It is best to store canonical carrots: in particular, the varieties “Moscow Winter”, “Shantane”, “Incomparable”, “Valeria”. The fastest way to spoil during winter storage is carrots with shortened roots – “Parisian carotel”.
Where to store carrots
In winter, it is best to store carrots in a cellar, underground or basement, where it is cool, but not frosty, and also humid enough.
It is important to know that at temperatures above 5 degrees, carrots begin to germinate. To stop the growth of carrot tops, it is necessary to lower the temperature in the room where the root vegetables are stored. However, in immature carrots or early ripening varieties, young buds begin to form even at zero.
If the storage is sealed, try to reduce the loss from respiration of the carrots, suppress the reproduction of pathogenic flora, as well as the germination of carrots. This is easier than it sounds. To do this, you can use carbon dioxide, for example, dry ice or a can for soda drinks. But here, too, you need to be careful, because an excess of carbon dioxide can lead to the decomposition of pectins.
The optimal temperature for good keeping quality of root crops is considered to be 0-1 degrees with a relative humidity of 90%.
You can store carrots at home as well. Of course, the shelf life of carrots in an apartment will be much shorter than in a basement or cellar.
Before the onset of frost, it is more correct to store carrots at home on a balcony or glazed loggia. In this case, the box can be put on the balcony and make sure that the thermometer, which it is desirable to install near the box with carrots, does not drop below zero. With frosts, the box must be brought home, but left next to the balcony door, where the air temperature will be lower than in the rest of the apartment.
If you live in an apartment building and at the entrance there is a vestibule with neighbors or a shed between floors, then you can store carrots there. The temperature at the entrance is lower than in the apartment, and the humidity, on the contrary, is higher. If your neighbors are decent people, then carrots can easily survive until spring.
If you don’t have a lot of carrots, keep them in the refrigerator. For proper storage, place the root vegetables in plastic bags and store in the vegetable drawer.
Some housewives use an oven for storing vegetables. This is a household appliance powered by electricity that can be installed in any room where there is no heating: on a loggia, in a garage, on a veranda. If only there was electricity in the room. In such a cabinet, the carrots will be in stationary conditions, and will remain until the next season.
How to store carrots in the cellar
In the cellar and underground, carrots can be stored in different ways. The easiest way is to store root vegetables in a cellar or underground in bulk. To do this, lay an old blanket on the floor and dump carrots on it. However, carrots are better stored in boxes and baskets in the cellar and underground. Most often, corrugated cardboard or wooden boxes are used. In some cases, it is appropriate to store carrots in the sand. To do this, sand is poured in the designated place of the cellar and underground. The thickness of the layer should be at least 5 cm. Carrots are spread on the sand so that the vegetables do not touch each other. Next, the carrots are carefully covered with sand and a new layer of root crops is laid out. Then they again fall asleep with sand, etc.
Also, carrots are well stored on shelves that you can make on your own from ordinary boards. However, improvised shelves should be 1 m above the floor. And the gaps between them should be 12 cm. Place the carrots on the shelves freely. Sort out roots once a month and remove rotten fruits.
You can also keep the carrots fresh by dipping them in a clay mixture (talker), followed by drying the roots. This method is laborious, but in this form the carrots will retain their freshness and usefulness until the next season.
Before sending carrots for storage, some housewives wash the root vegetables and then process them with onion extract. To prepare a bactericidal solution, it is necessary to insist 200 g of onions in 10 liters of hot water for a day. Roots treated with onion extract should be thoroughly dried. After that, the carrots can be stored in any form in the cellar.
Some people prefer to store carrots in sawdust. In this case, you should properly pack the root vegetables: mix them with sawdust and pack them in bags. Keep the bags open in the cellar. It is recommended to sprinkle the carrots on top with onion peels.
How to store carrots in the refrigerator
Rinse carrots thoroughly before storing them in the refrigerator. You can even peel root vegetables. Then the carrots should be dried for 3 hours in a dark, well-ventilated place. After the roots, you can wrap them in plastic or a damp towel. Store carrots in the refrigerator on the bottom shelf in the fruit and vegetable compartment.
Carrots can be washed, dried, and then placed in pre-sterilized jars. In this form, carrots will be stored in the refrigerator for a long time, but this method is not ergonomic, since the jars in the refrigerator take up too much space.
If you do not want to wash and dry the carrots before storing, then pack several root vegetables in one bag so that excess air or moisture does not get into it. However, it is very important to cool the vegetables well before doing this so that condensation does not form in the bag. Otherwise, the carrots will quickly rot or begin to sprout.
Chopped carrots can be stored in the refrigerator freezer. To do this, peel it, grate or finely chop it, and then put it in plastic bags or pack in containers. Then place the containers or bags in the freezer. Remove chopped carrots as needed and use as directed. Although defrosted carrots are no longer suitable for salads.