Keep your carrots crisp
Bunch of fresh, raw carrots
Credit: Photo by Harshal S. Hirve via Unsplash

Carrots are known for their crisp, crunchy texture when eaten raw, but these root vegetables can get soggy and limp and even wilt you don't store them correctly. The good news is that carrots are hardy, and learning how to keep carrots fresh for a long time isn't that complicated. In fact, according to Sweetwater Organic Farm in Tampa, FL, you can store carrots for up to a month in the fridge—if you follow a few simple guidelines.

Wilting occurs when carrots aren't kept properly hydrated, so the first step to keeping carrots fresh for as long as possible is to remove the green, leafy carrot tops. (Note that if you're buying carrots in a bag at a grocery store, chances are good that the producer has already done this for you.) Keeping the greens, "will cause the carrots to wilt prematurely as they pull moisture from the roots," explain the experts at Sweetwater Organic Farm. These carrot tops don't have to go to waste, though; they're non-toxic and can be used in a variety of recipes, even carrot top tea.

Once you've gotten rid of the carrot tops, it's time to deal with the actual roots. Again, if you want to keep your carrots from getting limp, you want to keep them hydrated. That's why Kitchn recommends storing fresh, unpeeled carrots in a shallow, uncovered container of water in the fridge. If you don't want to run the risk of splashing water in your fridge, Cook's Illustrated recommends storing raw carrots without the tops in an open plastic bag, "a setup that trapped most of their moisture but allowed some to escape."

Just be sure to keep carrots away from high-ethylene producing fruits and vegetables like apples and pears, note the folks at Sweetwater Organic Farm, because that'll speed up the ripening—and wilting—process.

If you keep carrots moist and in the fridge without the greens, you should be able to enjoy crisp, fresh carrots for up to a month. But, much like potatoes or even apples, fresh carrots can also be stored for several months at a time, to be enjoyed throughout the winter. The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (which knows a thing or two about long, cold winters) has guidelines for keeping carrots in a root cellar. Don't wash the vegetables before putting them into storage, but do take off the stem and leaves. Then "pack in leaves or sawdust or in a bucket of moist sand with a loose lid," they recommend. With that, you'll be able to keep your carrots fresh for months.

Sometimes though, despite your best efforts, you carrots will wilt. If that happens, don't worry. You can always use them in a batch of carrot cake pancakes or any other number of baked goods.

By Maxine Builder and Maxine Builder