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Carrots are an incredibly adaptable vegetable. They're a key element in soups, pot roasts, salads, and desserts, and you can eat them raw as a snack. But if you aren't storing your carrots correctly, then you're wasting a lot of their potential. Read on to learn the best way to store whole carrots, peeled carrots, and cut carrots, how to tell when carrots are bad, and how to prep carrots for the freezer.

How to Store Carrots

All carrots should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge, no matter if they're whole, peeled, unpeeled, or cut:

How to Store Whole Carrots

Whole, unpeeled carrots are less susceptible to moisture loss than peeled or baby carrots. In fact, even rinsing off whole, unpeeled carrots beforehand could cause them to spoil early.

  • Don't wash the carrots until you plan to use them. That excess water can speed up the spoiling process.
  • Twist or trim off the carrot greens and discard or store in a separate container if you plan to use them. Whether you use them or not, carrot greens suck moisture from the roots (the part we eat) and cause wilting.
  • Wrap the carrots in a paper towel and store in an airtight container. Keep carrots in the coolest part of your fridge, and away from fruits that product ethylene gas, such as apples, to prevent spoiling.

How to Store Peeled Carrots

Hand-peeled carrots and baby carrots have a higher risk of drying out once their protective outer layer is removed. When storing peeled carrots, you'll need to provide moisture to prevent them from cracking, turning white, and drying out. Using this method, peeled carrots will last up to 3 weeks.

  • Wash carrots with cool water.
  • Add cool water to a dish or airtight container. Add the carrots to the container, making sure they are completely covered with water.
  • If you don't plan to eat the carrots within a few days, you will need to periodically change out the water to inhibit bacterial growth. Rinse the carrots and replace the water every 4–5 days.
  • Just before eating, rinse the carrots again to remove any potential bacterial growth.

How to Store Cut Carrots

  • Run a paper towel in cool water and wrap it around the carrots.
  • Place wrapped carrots in an airtight container and place in a colder section of your fridge, such as a crisper drawer or near the freezer.
  • Use within 3 weeks.

How Long Do Carrots Last?

A carrot's lifespan depends on how it's stored and what form it's in. When properly stored, raw, unpeeled carrots will last between 3 and 4 weeks in the refrigerator, while peeled or sliced carrots will last between 2 and 3 weeks. Cooked carrots will last between 3 and 5 days properly stored in the refrigerator.

How to Tell if Carrots Are Bad

Carrots that have spoiled or gone bad will usually have an odor, a slimy texture, or dark discoloration. They may also be wilted or soft. If you see mold growing on carrots, throw them out. The white blush that forms on carrots signals that your carrots are drying out. Carrots with white blush can still be eaten; rinse them first to bring some of that moisture back.

How to Freeze Carrots

If you truly have an excess of carrots but don't want it to go to waste, freezing carrots may be your best option. First, you'll need to blanch your carrots in order to preserve their nutrients and taste.

How to Blanch Carrots

  • Cut the tops off of your carrots. Wash and peel carrots in lukewarm water.
  • Chop or cut carrots however you plan to eat them.
  • Boil water in a pot. While you're waiting for the water to boil, fill a bowl with ice water and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Add carrots to the boiling water and blanch for 3–5 minutes. Carrot slices will only take a few minutes, while whole carrots will require about 5 minutes.
  • With a slotted spoon, remove carrots from the pot and place in the ice water. Chill for the exact same time that you blanched them. Drain the bowl and place the carrots on the parchment-lined tray.
  • Pat the carrots dry. Transfer the tray to the freezer until the carrots have frozen solid.
  • Remove the tray from the freezer and transfer carrots to a zip-top bag. Squeeze the air out, label the bag, and stash in the freezer. Store for up to a year.

How to Thaw Carrots

Just like with other frozen vegetables, you don't need to thaw frozen carrots, and it's actually easier if you cook them from frozen. If you really want to thaw them, though, there are a few methods:

  • In the fridge — Remove carrots from the freezer and relocate to the refrigerator. They will thaw overnight.
  • In cold water — For a faster thaw, submerge the bag of frozen carrots in a bowl of cold water. Change out the water every 30 minutes until thawed. Don't leave cooked carrots at temperatures above 40 degrees F for more than two hours; this will increase the likelihood of your carrots turning into a bacterial breeding ground. If you're not ready to use them yet, put them in the fridge.

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