How to Keep Carrots, Potatoes and Beets Fresh All Winter

How to Keep Carrots, Potatoes and Beets Fresh All WinterMichelle writes:

How do you cure root crops like potatoes and carrots to last longer than a couple weeks? I’ll be tipping over 2 of my three potato towers to see how that turned out but now wondering how on earth I preserve potatoes for an extended time. I’d like to try to grow 100+ pounds next year but gotta learn how to preserve my bounty. Lots of lessons learned this year of how to do gardening so hopefully next year is MUCH better!

How to Harvest and Store Potatoes for Winter

Good question, Michelle.  First things first, before you plant anything, remember that some varieties store much better than others.  This is particularly true of potatoes with russet, Yukon gold, and Kennebec all being top choices for storing longer.

To cure potatoes, lay then out on newspaper in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated place.  Let them sit there for about 2 weeks, that will give their skin a chance to toughen up for storage.  Don’t wash the potatoes until you are ready to use them.  To find out how to properly store them, go HERE.  Make sure to check them regularly throughout the winter–even the best practices still yields rotting potatoes, if you catch them and throw them out, they won’t spoil the whole lot.

heirloom carrots

For carrots and beets, remove the tops {the green parts} because they will pull moisture from the actual carrot, making them dry and cracked.  For smaller amounts, place unwashed carrots/beets in ziploc bags, seal tightly to ensure no air is coming in, and store them in the coldest part of your fridge.

carrotsphoto credit

For larger crops, take unwashed carrots/beets {make sure none of them are damaged in anyway–those ones will spoil quickly} and cut off the leaves as close to the base of the edible part as you possible can without damaging it.  Brush off any loose dirt and then place the carrots/beets in boxes full of SLIGHTLY damp sand, alternating rows of carrots/beets with rows of sand.

heirloom beets

For larger crops, take unwashed carrots/beets {make sure none of them are damaged in anyway–those ones will spoil quickly} and cut off the leaves as close to the base of the edible part as you possible can without damaging it.  Brush off any loose dirt and then place the carrots/beets in boxes full of SLIGHTLY damp sand, alternating rows of carrots/beets with rows of sand.

Place the box in a cool place {shed or garage} and use them as needed.  If the carrots/beets are too wet, they will rot.  If they are too dry, they will split, harden and be mostly disgusting.  It’s a delicate balance that may take some trial and error.  Again, check them regularly for spoilage.

I hope that helps a little.  As always, I am sure you can learn a lot more from my readers than me, though, so how do you prepare your root crops for storage?  How do you store them?


The Backyard Homestead

Looking for a cool garden book to read this winter? Check out The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre!

Related posts:

  • Like on FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Want to get more of this awesome goodness? Sign up here for the newsletter!


  1. mildred lane says

    Mavis, there is a picture that I would like for u to see on the home stead survival site. It is a brooder box made from an old dresser. thanks

  2. Lori B. says

    I store my carrots in the garden! I do harvest some to use through winter and bury the rest. I pile mulch on top to keep the tops protected, and in spring when I’m out of carrots, I dig some up for use. They are the Sweetest carrots ever by spring. (I mostly plant Nantes carrots). Spring carrots from my garden are my favorite.

  3. Gail Nowakowsky says

    I have success storing carrots in the fridge from October until the following May by doing the following: cut tops and tails off the carrots and wash and dry them. I usually wash a bunch and let the “drip dry” in the sink, on a rack, for several hours. Some of the bottom ones may need to be wiped with a cloth or paper towel. Pack into the perforated ziplock bags that are designated for vegetable storage. Store in fridge. It is better to use the bags with the perforations than the ordinary bags because moisture will build up in the plain bags and cause spoilage. The vegetable bags work better than making holes in regular bags, which I also tried. I think the holes are small enough to let some moisture to escape but not big enough to allow them to dehydrate. One year I had fourteen bags of carrots stored in an extra fridge and they lasted almost until the next crop was ready to use. There was very little spoilage.

    Now, please tell me, how do you grow such beautiful radishes? What varieties do you use? I live in British Columbia about five miles from the Washington border so not that much further north than you are.

  4. Carolyne Thrasher says

    I don’t bother storing carrots. I leave them in the ground all winter. I’m zone 8 in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. I believe that down to zone 5 you can do this. Carrots sweeten after the first frosts and taste better. This only works with the big long varieties and I only do this in raised beds that get plenty of drainage. Potatoes though I do have to store but I have yet to grow enough to be able to. Hopefully next year. Thanks for the tips Mavis. Love your blog.

  5. Michele says

    Thanks Mavis! Will keep this in my gardening notes. I am hoping to hace lots of potatoes by May. Here in Texas it seems “warm” enough to grow some veggies. Starting my spring crop in late Dec with grow lights. So excited.

  6. Rusty Shackleford says

    I thought I asked this once , but I don’t see it so.. Seems like a great way to store your root veggies but, as you’ve said before, you need to check them once in a while and get rid any that are going bad so they don’t make the whole lot go rotten. I’m assuming that means emptying out the whole thing, sorting through them, then repack all the good ones ? Mine are still in the ground.They’ve had a couple frosts. I cooked some beets yesterday, just steamed wiith butter n a lil salt.. WOW are they ever getting good ! Love your blog.. always learning a lotta little tid bits (y)

  7. Jane Campeau says

    Thank you for the storage tips for carrots! I planted two crops this year and have a lot still in the ground. I live in a zone 4a to 4b at a high elevation so the growing season here is quite short. It’s great to know how I can continue to eat fresh veggies for a longer period of time.

  8. PattyB says

    Hummm. I am making my own self-watering planters this Spring out of storage bins. They need holes drilled and then there is an area in the bottom for a water reservoir so it has a false bottom that is elevated a bit. I think I can reuse these bins to store the carrots and beets in sand in Winter. No need to figure where I’m going to store the bulky bins over the winter! And, I won’t have to worry about the moisture level because I can keep a bit of water in the reservoir beneath the stored root veggies. Has anyone else tried this? Has it worked well?

  9. says

    I have a question about city water and the garden. If I were to fill a large container with city water and leave the lid off would
    the chlorine get out? Does chlorine hurt the garden?
    I really enjoy the blog so keep it up.

    • Mavis says

      I’ve always just watered straight from the hose with no issues at all. Some people are of the let-it-sit-out-so-chlorine-can-evaporate camp. I’ve never done that and my garden seems to thrive!

  10. Billy says

    We used to store our potatoes in the ground. We would dig several bushels, let them dry in the sun a little, then put them in a big hole lined with a very thick layer of leaves or hay. We put this hole in a place that was well drained. Then we covered the top with another thick layer of leaves or hay. Lastly, we covered all with a layer of loose soil at least two feet thick. This left a good sized mound which drained the water away. We would access the potatoes throughout the winter as needed. They would last until the Spring growing time started, and then if you left them too long, they would sprout.

  11. Ashley says

    For the question about city water. My hubby and I live in the country but do have city water (we are close to the treatment plant). I started seeds this year for my garden and I was watering them with regular tap water. However, I saw a post about rain water and how plants love it. So I set a 5 gallon bucket under one of my down spouts and my plants thrived because of it! Plus it’s free if your water bills are high in your area. I’ve seen people use trash bins if they need more than 5 gallons. It looks silly to the eye but really helps the plants. In the end I would rather look silly and have a beautiful garden! You could always build a surround for it to hid it. Hope this helps!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *