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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Carrots Anyone?

What great prices we are enjoying on local produce this fall. Over the last 2 weeks we have picked up 45 pounds of carrots (2nds) for 20 cents a pound. That's only $9.00 for months worth of veggies! It would have been even cheaper if our own carrots had germinated. But, unfortunately, 2009 was the summer that wasn't in Nova Scotia. I hope others of you had better luck in your gardens this year.

So, these carrots we purchased should last us the whole winter ... if we store them right.

This is what you do not want to have
happen to your stored produce....

Hmmm...
With your indulgence, I'm going to go ahead and share how we tried to be as cheap frugal as possible this year in our winter storage starting with carrots.

You can use Rubbermaid containers to store carrots in, but as I said, we are cheap frugal. So, my husband, Renoman (Ren-o-man), and I went at the end of the season this fall to a local farmer's market that also happens to have an ice-cream counter and asked for what ever they had left for empty 5 gallon ice-cream buckets. They gave us about 16 ... only 5 with covers, but that didn't matter. We weren't going to use the covers anyway.

Next, Renoman went to a local saw mill and bagged 2 feed bags full of free sawdust. It was wet...did I mention we just had the summer that wasn't? Everything is wet this year - even our firewood which has been sitting in the yard since spring.

We tried drying the sawdust outside for a few days...that didn't work, so we brought it into the living room to dry out by the fire.

The last time we stored carrots I had a brain freeze and decided to add a little water to the sawdust to keep the carrots moist thinking, "This is a great idea". Not so! They got soft and limp pretty quickly. Ever tried peeling a limp carrot? It ain't pretty.

So, since that episode I've talked to a few people and learned that carrots have to be kept DRY. You can bury them in sand or peat moss, instead of sawdust if you like, and then work those goodies into your garden in the spring when the carrots have all been used. Or, like us, use FREE sawdust and sprinkle it around the blueberry bushes in the spring. (We don't have blueberry bushes, but my SIL does.) OR, like one of our neighbours, leave the carrots right in the ground under lots and lots of straw for the winter.

The next important step is to remove every possible chance of these little guys trying to fulfill the measure of their creation by sprouting while in storage 'cause that will also make them soft and useless as a human food item.


Some folks chop off the tops - some folks chop off the tips.
We did both.

Next - adding the sawdust and carrots alternately
in layers in the ice-cream buckets.

The idea is to make sure they are totally
covered so no light gets to them.
no moisture + no light = crispy carrots (we hope)
Oh! I almost forgot. They need to be stored in a cool place.
.........
no moisture + no light + no heat = crispy carrots


Going...


Going...


Gone!


There are loads of things you can make with carrots.
"Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake,
zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie." Garfield

I'm sure you can think of a few favourites.

Just use your imagination and a good cook book.


Until next time....