The Absolute Best Ways To Keep Carrots Fresh

Carrots are one of the most versatile produce items around — in fact, you probably have some fresh carrots in your fridge right now. That being said, it's possible that you aren't maximizing the root vegetable's lifespan, allowing them to go soggy and limp sooner than necessary. Luckily, there are a few simple storage tricks that can help you maximize your carrots' longevity — and minimize potential food waste.

The key to properly storing carrots is finding and maintaining the root vegetable's ideal hydration level: On the one hand, as noted by The Spruce, carrots require moisture in order to remain not only fresh but crisp. If not, carrots can suffer from moisture loss, causing them to soften, per MasterClass. At the same time, too much moisture can cause premature decay. As Allrecipes explains, the spoiling process is sped up when an excess of water is present.

Stored in the refrigerator correctly, though, raw carrots can have a lifespan for up to four weeks, per the outlet.

Before storing, separate the greens from the root

The first step anyone should take upon unpacking a bunch of carrots is — if applicable — separating the leafy, green carrot tops from the roots themselves. According to The Kitchn, trimming the greens is essential because, if left intact, the greens (also called fronds) will be in direct competition with the carrot root for moisture, and in fact, the greens will usually win. Additionally, per Food52, storing carrots with the tops still attached can cause unwanted condensation inside the storage container. This type of excess moisture can (as explained above, per Allrecipes) potentially lead to mold growth.

However, that doesn't mean you should toss your carrot tops in the garbage — the greens can be used as an ingredient in and of themselves. Per The Spruce Eats, carrot tops can be used as an herb, perfect for marinades and sauces. What do carrot greens taste like? The outlet likens them to tarragon or especially parsley, meaning you can use carrot tops if you find yourself without either while cooking.

Keeping dry carrots fresh in the fridge

According to Food52, if you are not going to use carrots within a few days, the best way to keep them fresh is by storing them in the fridge and inside an airtight bag like a zip-top bag. This method works by counteracting the refrigerator's naturally dry air, which can dehydrate the carrots. Because the bag is sealed, the environment remains more moist and humid, ultimately keeping the carrots crisper.

If following this method, it's also advised that you avoid washing your carrots until right before you use them. As Brooklyn Farm Girl explains, washing carrots before storing them can result in excess moisture, which, again, can potentially lead to the accelerated growth of mold.

Additionally, Food52 warns against storing fresh carrots with any produce that emits ethylene gas — a hormone that expedites the ripening process. Such foods mainly include fruits like apples, pears, bananas, mangoes, and peaches. Exposure to ethylene will cause carrots to more rapidly deteriorate.

Keeping carrots fresh in a water bath

Some experts tout another trick for keeping carrots crisp and fresh beyond a few days — and it's pretty much the opposite of the method described above. According to Southern Living, the best way to keep carrots fresh in the fridge is to completely submerge them in water. Specifically, the outlet recommends the carrots and water be sealed in an airtight container. Also, as with the dry storage method, fresh carrots will last even longer if you hold off peeling them until just before using them.

MasterClass, meanwhile, suggests storing submerged carrots vertically, in a container like a pitcher, in order to efficiently use your fridge's precious shelf-space. Per The Kitchn, you should swap out the carrots' water whenever it starts to look more cloudy than clear — or in other words, daily, according to Food52.

Allrecipes also recommends the water method, but for peeled carrots, and says the water should be switched out every four or five days to stave off bacteria. This said, if your carrots are peeled already, Allrecipes explains the importance of washing them well before use in order to remove any potential bacterial growth.

As for how long carrots will last when stored in the fridge submerged in water, the experts somewhat disagree. While Food52 (which does not recommend this method) says carrots will begin to rot after one week, others (that is, MasterClass and Allrecipes) say they should last for up to three weeks. Oak Hill Homestead, meanwhile, says unpeeled carrots stored in water can keep for up to one month.