Cattails Carrots are famous… or at least we like to think so. Maybe it’s because they’re sweet and crunchy (and so surprisingly different from what you expect at the grocery store), or maybe it’s because you can get them locally almost every single month of the year. No matter the reason, carrots are one of our favorite things to grow.
We begin harvesting carrots from the hoophouse fresh with their greens as early as June, and keep harvesting beautiful bunched carrots (from the hoophouse and the field) until at least October (depending on the weather and the timing of that first hard frost). Carrots store exceptionally well, and actually get sweeter in storage, and we continue to sell them locally until we run out in the spring (around March).
The sweetest carrots you can get from us are the ones we sell September through March because frost and cold storage sweetens them up. The crunchiest carrots are the ones harvested fresh and bunched in the late spring and early summer.
Carrots are a staple in our CSA and on our market stand. CSA members can expect them 10-12 times during the main season and every week in our fall shares.
What we grow
We grow a lot of nantes type orange carrots: four different varieties in fact. These carrots are distinguishable because of their round tip (much rounder than grocery store carrots). We love these varieties because they are crunchy, flavorful and sweet. These varieties (along with our rich soils) are what give our carrots their special flavor.
We also grow a range of rainbow carrots in the late summer and fall. The purple ones are absolutely gorgeous. We tend to prefer them eaten raw or roasted because they turn stews and soups gray when cooked.
For a limited time each year (usually September through early December), we offer bunched “candy carrots”. We only grow them for a few months because they don’t store as well as some of the other carrots we grow, but this is a variety many of our customers love the most. Watch for them at market!
Carrots should be stored similarly to beets. Store carrot roots in a loose plastic bag in the produce drawer of your fridge for best long-term storage. They can last weeks to even months in there, getting softer the longer they’re stored.
When tops are included, tops should be removed immediately. Remove the greens with a knife and unband them right away. Store tops in a second plastic bag, and try to use them in a couple of days (3-4 days maximum) or feed them to a favorite greens loving pet.
Because we offer them almost year-round and they store so well in the fridge, carrots aren’t really something you have to preserve. However, If you have more space in your freezer than your fridge and want to preserve your carrots for the long-haul, they do store exceptionally well in the freezer.
To freeze, just cut them into chunks or coins and blanche for 1-3 minutes before soaking in a cold water bath, draining, and laying out on baking sheets to freeze. Once fully frozen, transfer to freezer bags or containers.
Many people also enjoy pickling and preserving carrots because of the way it transforms their flavor. If you’re cooking with carrots for most of the year, it makes sense that you might want to have fun getting a little creative. Here’s a couple of our favorite preserved carrot recipes.
Taqueria Style Pickled Jalapenos and Carrots
Recipe by For the Love of Cooking
Yields: 1 pint
Time: 15 minutes
1 tsp olive oil
½ small yellow onion sliced thinly
½ tsp whole black peppercorns
¼ tsp oregano
¼ tsp whole cumin
¼ tsp whole coriander seed
6 jalapenos sliced
2 carrots peeled & sliced
4 cloves of garlic halved lengthwise
¾ cup vinegar
¼ cup water
1 tbsp Kosher salt
1 bay leaf
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
- Add the onions, peppercorns, oregano, cumin, and coriander.
- Cook, stirring often, until fragrant and softened, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add the jalapeno, carrots, and garlic halves.
- Cook, stirring often, for 1 minute. Add the vinegar, water, salt, and bay leaf.
- Simmer for a few minutes, until the veggies start to soften and turn color.
- Remove from the heat.
- Spoon the pickled vegetables into a pint-sized glass jar.
- Pour the brine over the top of the veggies. Cool and enjoy.
Store in the refrigerator with an airtight lid. They will last for 1-2 months unless you eat them all first.
Recipe and instructions from Put ‘Em Up: A Comprehensive Home Preserving Guide for the Creative Cook from Drying and Freezing to Canning and Pickling
Yields: 2 pints
Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
1 pound carrots, trimmed and peeled
1/2 pound daikon radish (or other radish), trimmed and peeled
1 red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed
1/4 cup salt
2 cups distilled white vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shredded ginger
- Cut the carrots, radish, and bell pepper into julienne strips on a mandoline or shred in a food processor or with a box grater. Toss the shredded vegetables with the salt and put in a colander set over a bowl to drain for 2 hours.
- Rinse the vegetables thoroughly, and then squeeze by the handful to remove as much water as possible.
- Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and ginger in a large nonreactive pot and bring to a boil. Stir in the vegetables and return to a boil, stirring to make sure that all ingredients are heated evenly. Remove from the heat.
Ladle into bowls or jars. Cool, cover, and refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
Cooking with carrot tops
During most of the summer, we harvest carrots fresh and bunch them so that you also receive the greens. Carrot tops are a lovely item you can easily work into summer meals or preserve for winter. They taste rich and earthy while still being bright like a carrot. You can think of their flavor profile as a cross between parsley and carrots and they are a great substitute for parsley, cilantro or other herbs.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to use carrot greens:
- Add into salads, grain bowls, or panzanella like you would any other fresh herbs
- Make a chimichurri
- Add into soups like any other cooking green
- Use them in smoothies
- Add them into a homemade hummus
- Dry them and use as a dried herb like parsley all year long
- Make carrot top pesto (recipe below)
Carrot Top Pesto
Adapted from Simply Recipes
Good as a dip, on meat, or used as a pasta sauce. It also freezes well!
Yield: 1 cup
Time: 10 minutes
1 cup packed carrot top greens, tough stems removed (use the frilly leaves)
1 cup packed other greens or herbs (can include basil, parsley, spinach, chard, kale, mint or a mixture)
1 large clove garlic (or 2 garlic scapes)
1/2 cup roasted unsalted cashews, sunflower seeds, walnuts or pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (you can split this with water for a more “sauce” like pesto)
- Combine ingredients other than oil (and water, if using) in a food processor. Process until smooth.
- Add oil and/or water slowly until pesto is at the desired consistency.
Freeze in freezer bags, freezer-proof containers, or ice cube trays.
Cooking with carrots throughout the seasons
Recipes for bunched spring carrots
Butter Balsamic Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Chimichurri
Recipe by The Leek & The Carrot
Yield: 2 servings (or 1 as a meal) + 1 cup chimichurri
Time: 30 minutes
2 bunches very small (almost baby) carrots or 1 large bunch carrots (ideally with greens)
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Carrot Top Chimichurri:
1 cup finely chopped carrot tops*
3 garlic cloves, minced
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1-2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Remove carrot tops and set to the side for Carrot Top Chimichurri. If using very small carrots, you can leave them whole and halve the ones that are more “small” then “very small” lengthwise. If using a larger bunch, halve small carrots lengthwise and/or quarter the largest ones. The smaller the better. We want these beauties to get very tender.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Melt butter over medium heat in a large heavy skillet (cast-iron is preferable). Add carrots and season with salt. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until carrots are just beginning to char in places.
- Place in the oven and roast for another 10 minutes, until carrots are very tender and charred in more places.
- Add maple syrup and balsamic. Toss to combine, making sure any juices that are collecting at the bottom of the pan are coating the carrots as best they can. Roast for an additional two minutes until the sauce caramelizes.
- Serve carrots warm with chimichurri sauce.
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine. This will make a little over a cup. You will only need 1/4 cup for this recipe. Save the rest for another use. It will last in your fridge for at least a week.
*Note: If you have fresh herbs on hand (particularly parsley, mint or chives), feel free to substitute some in for the carrot greens.
Spiced Roasted Carrots with Avocado and Yogurt
Recipe by Smitten Kitchen
Yield: 4 servings
Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and cooled (ground also works)
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds, toasted and cooled (ground also works)
2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt, plus more to taste
Red chile flakes, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
3 pounds thin-to-medium carrots, scrubbed, not peeled; mixed colors are prettier here but not essential
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons orange juice (from about 1/4 orange)
2 tablespoons lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)
1 large or 2 medium firm-ripe avocados, cut in thin slices
Salt and pepper to taste
1 to 2 cups radish sprouts, other sprouts or light salad greens of your choice
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons roasted hulled pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, toasted sesame seeds or a mix thereof
- Heat your oven to 400 degrees F. Cover 1 large (half-sheet) or 2 smaller (quarter-sheet) roasting pans with foil for easy cleanup. Pour 1/4 cup water in bottom of pan (or divide between both).
- Make your spice paste by either pounding the cumin, coriander, thyme, salt and peppers in a mortar and pestle until roughly ground, using an electric spice grinder (i.e. a coffee grinder you don’t mind smelling like spices) or small food processor to do the same, or, if using ground spices, just combining them in the bottom of the large bowl you’re about to use. In the bottom of a very large bowl, combine prepared spices, salt and pepper, garlic, vinegar and 1/4 cup olive oil and whisk to blend. Add carrots and toss to coat.
- Spread carrots, drizzling with any extra marinade, in prepared pans and cover tightly with foil. Roast for 25 minutes covered then remove the foil and roast for 35 minutes more, until the carrots are lightly browned and tender but not falling apart.
- Meanwhile, combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, orange and lemon juices in a small dish with salt and pepper. When carrots are done, scatter with avocado and sprouts then drizzle with this citrus dressing all over. Dollop yogurt over the top and sprinkle with seeds. Dig in.
Recipes for fall carrots
Brown Butter Maple Glazed Carrots
Recipe by Kalefornia Kravings
Yield: 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes
1 pound carrots
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup maple syrup
1 garlic clove, minced
2 fresh thyme (or any other seasonal herb), for garnish
Salt & pepper, to taste
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Then wash and dry your carrots and cut them diagonally into ½ inch slices. Place your carrots in a bowl and set them aside.
- Next heat your butter in a pot over medium heat. Once it’s melted, start whisking the butter until it bubbles and changes color to golden brown (about 2-3 minutes). Then whisk in your maple syrup and garlic. Pour half your sauce over your carrots and toss to coat.
- Spread your carrots out on your prepare baking sheet and season them with salt and pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork. (I’ll usually start checking them around 10-13 minutes to make sure they’re not burning.)
- Once done, drizzle your remaining sauce over your carrots or serve the sauce on the side. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs and serve.
Beet & Carrot Slaw with Currants
Recipe by The Leek & The Carrot
Yield: 4-6 servings
Time: 45 minutes
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dried currants (or cranberries)
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
2 large (or 1 extra-large) beets, peeled
3-4 large carrots, peeled
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup olive oil
1-2 cups chopped and toasted almonds
- In a small bowl, combine garlic, currants and vinegar. Let currants plump and garlic mellow in there for at least 20 minutes. It will likely take that long to get your veggies cut up anyhow.
- Cut the beets, carrots and apples into matchsticks and place in a large bowl. Squeeze with lemon and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine then add the garlic and currant mixture. Drizzle with olive oil and toss several more times to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
- When ready to eat, serve with toasted almonds. If not eating all at once, keep toasted almonds to the side and add right before eating so they maintain their crunch.
Recipes for storage carrots
Recipe by All Recipes (and frequently made by a CSA family, The Janaks)
The regional recipe uses a lot of sugar and in this one it is halved. A great side dish or dessert!
Yield: 6 servings
Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
1 pound carrots, coarsely chopped
½ cup margarine or butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup white sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 2 quart casserole dish.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add carrots and cook until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and mash. Stir in margarine, vanilla extract and eggs; mix well. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar; stir into carrot mixture and blend until smooth. Transfer to a prepared casserole dish.
- Bake for 45 minutes.
Carrot Soup with Miso and Sesame
Recipe by Smitten Kitchen
Yields: 4 servings
Time: 50 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds carrots, peeled, thinly sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 regular or 6 small garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 tablespoon finely chopped or grated ginger, or more to taste (it could easily be doubled)
4 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup white miso paste, or more to taste
Drizzle of toasted sesame oil
2 scallions, very thinly sliced
Sesame seeds, optional
- Heat oil in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots, onion and garlic sauté until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add broth and ginger. Cover and simmer until carrots are tender when pierced, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
- Puree soup in batches in a blender, or all at once with an immersion blender. In a small bowl, whisk together the miso and a half-cup of the soup. Stir the mixture back into the pot of soup. Taste the soup and season with salt, pepper or additional miso to taste.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish each with a drizzle of sesame oil, a small mound of scallions, and sesame seeds (if using).
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