Here’s all you need to know about storing carrots. Learn how to keep carrots fresh, where you should store them, and how to go about baby carrots.
Bought a large bag of carrots and not sure where to put them? How to store carrots?
The best place to store carrots is the fridge, where they can last for 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the storage method you go with. Alternatively, you can leave them in the pantry or at room temperature, where they’ll keep quality for 3 to 5 days.
That’s the gist of it. Interested in learning more?
Here’s what we cover below:
- storage methods and how they affect the shelf life
- storing cut, peeled, and cooked carrots
- handling baby carrots
Let’s jump right in.
How to Store Carrots
Whole fresh carrots last 2 to 4 weeks in the fridge without much quality loss, depending on your preferred storage method. If your refrigerator is full, you can store carrots on the counter or in the pantry for 3 to 5 days.
Now, no matter where you decide to store your carrots, there are a couple of practices to follow to keep your carrots fresh for as long as possible.
First, if need be, brush off the veggies, but preferably don’t wash them.
Washing fruits and veggies before storage isn’t recommended because it’s easy to leave a couple of water drops on the surface, and that water might lead to mold growth. Obviously, it’s not a given that mold will show up or how long will that take.
But if you tend to wash your veggies before storing them, or have already washed your carrots, make sure they dry thoroughly before returning them to storage. 15 to 30 minutes on a drying rack and a quick brush with a paper towel should be more than enough.
Another thing to keep in mind is that carrots are sensitive to ethylene. That means you should store them away from any fruits and veggies that produce this gas as they mature. Some common examples include apples, pears, and tomatoes.
Next, let’s talk about what to do with carrot greens.
If your carrots came with the greens still attached, cut them off. You do that because greens pull moisture from the root, which results in shriveling. And that definitely doesn’t help carrots last longer.
If you want to store the greens, refrigerate them separately wrapped with a moist paper towel and in a freezer bag. They should retain quality for 2 to 3 days before they turn slimy.
After removing the greens, your carrots are ready for storage. Let’s cover two storage methods and their differences.
Carrots last only a couple of days without refrigeration. If you leave them in a cabinet in a warm kitchen, they’ll start rapidly losing quality after only 2 to 3 days of storage. A cold pantry or a cellar are slightly better options, and your carrots should last for 4 to even 10 days in those, depending on the exact conditions.
If you can’t or don’t want to refrigerate your carrots, find a place that’s as cold as possible, dry, and away from light and heat sources.
(You can also bury carrots in the sand, but it’s way too much hassle for most of us.)
In short, storing carrots without refrigeration only makes sense when you know you’re going to use them within a few days tops.
In the Fridge
If you refrigerate your carrots, there are a couple of storage options.
The easiest is to throw them in the veggie drawer. If you decide to leave them in a bag, leave the top open for some ventilation. That should prevent water drops from forming on the surface. This method allows you to store carrots for about two weeks, maybe a couple of days past that.
Next, since carrots like very humid environments, you can wrap yours with a moist paper towel. That should prolong the storage time for another couple of days, making it three weeks total.
(Similarly, wrapping the spears with moist paper towels helps extend the shelf life of asparagus.)
The ultimate storage option for carrots is to store them submerged in water. Grab a container with a lid, place the carrots in it, add enough water to cover the veggies, and seal it. And remember to change the water every 4 to 5 days or sooner if the water is cloudy.
If you store them this way, carrots can last up to a month. But there are some downsides:
- setup that takes about a minute
- upkeep that requires another minute or so every couple of days
While that doesn’t seem like much, it’s yet another thing on your (probably) already packed to-do list.
These days, I go with the bare minimum method of removing the greens (if there are still attached) and chucking the carrots in the crisper drawer. It works well, and we use all the carrots way before they lose quality.
Do Carrots Need to Be Refrigerated?
No, but unrefrigerated carrots last only a couple of days. If you store your carrots in the fridge, however, they last at least two weeks. And if you need even more time, you can wrap them in a moist paper towel or submerge them in water. Those methods prolong the shelf life of carrots to three and four weeks, respectively.
In other words, if you’re not planning to use those carrots in a day or two, throw them in the fridge.
Cut or Peeled Carrots
Refrigerate peeled or sliced carrots sealed tight in an airtight container or a freezer bag. This way, they can last even up to two weeks.
Unlike most veggies that last only a couple of days after cutting, carrots can last much longer. This makes them a perfect veggie to prepare in advance for the whole week ahead.
I recommend freezer bags for whole peeled carrots that you cut lengthwise, as they don’t take that much space in the fridge. Just make sure you squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing the bag, and you’re good to go.
For smaller pieces or shredded carrots, resealable containers are probably better because you can easily fill the whole container without leaving too much space. Plus, you can wash these in the dishwasher.
Speaking of shredded carrots, these will only last 3 to 4 days, similarly to any carrot salad.
How to Store Cooked Carrots
Cooked carrots and any cooked carrots dish require refrigeration after cooling to about room temperature. Once cooled, transfer the leftovers to an airtight container and put them in the fridge. The leftovers should last 3 to 4 days this way.
If you need more time, you can freeze cooked carrots. Carrots themselves freeze reasonably well, and many dishes that include these veggies freeze well too.
(For instance, cooked or roasted carrots are a staple in the meal-prep world.)
Now, let’s discuss freezing carrots in more detail.
Can You Freeze Carrots?
Carrots freeze fairly well, and freezing them is a great option if throwing them out is the alternative.
First off, you shouldn’t freeze raw carrots.
The texture and color will change, and it won’t resemble the fresh thing after thawing. So if you’d like to freeze carrots to grate them for a salad at a later term, that won’t work.
To get decent results, you need to either cook the carrots or blanch them. Because of that, I recommend freezing carrots in a dish.
(I suggest doing the same with broccoli, which I talk about in How Long Does Broccoli Last?)
This way, they’re ready to eat once thawed and warmed up. And the whole process doesn’t take any extra time because you have to cook that dish either way.
Another option is to freeze the carrots after blanching them. The whole process takes some time, but it’s pretty straightforward. Here’s how it goes:
- Prep. Peel the veggies and cut them into pieces that will work in the dish you will use them in. If you don’t have a plan for using them, cut them in half lengthwise.
- Blanching. Submerge the carrots in boiling water for 1 to 3 minutes, depending on size. Then transfer to a bowl of cold water (possibly with some ice cubes). Once the veggies are cooled, pat them dry with paper towels.
- Pre-freezing. If you’d like to pick a single piece from the freezer easily, you should pre-freeze them now. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or baking paper, place the carrots in a way they don’t touch one another and put the tray in the freezer for 3 to 4 hours or until the pieces freeze.
- Portion and freeze. Portion the carrots into freezer bags and chuck them in the freezer. Add a label with a name and date to each bag if you like.
How to Store Baby Carrots
Store baby carrots in the crisper drawer in your fridge, where they’ll last for 1 to 2 weeks. If they come in a resealable bag, feel free to use that bag. Otherwise, use a lidded container or freezer bags to store baby carrots.
Baby carrots are similar to regular carrots in terms of storage, except they tend to lose moisture more quickly and therefore don’t last as long. Because of that, stick to refrigeration, even if you’ll use the whole bag in a couple of days.
If you want to prolong storage time, feel free to go with the two methods of storing carrots I described earlier: wrapping them in a moist paper towel or submerging them in water. Both should help your baby carrots keep quality for a few extra days.