How to Keep Carrots, Potatoes and Beets Fresh All Winter

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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?

~Mavis

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!

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Comments

  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. 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. 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. Thank you for all the tips, learning new things every day:)

  8. Love this site and all the great advice!

  9. 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.

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