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food waste

Food Waste Tips

How To Store Carrots To Keep Them Fresher For Longer

Learn the best ways to store carrots, to keep them fresher for longer. From storing them in the fridge to the freezer, and tips for long-term storage without electricity, there’s a way to store fresh carrots for up to a year!

Carrots are tricky customers. While they can be very hardy, and store for a long time, get it wrong and they either rot or shrivel up in record time.

Thankfully, when it comes to carrots, it’s really easy to reduce your food waste with some clever tips. These make sense both economically and environmentally. So let me share with you my top tried and tested tips so you can store your carrots for up to a whole year with no compromise on taste or quality.

How To Store Carrots

A bunch of carrots on a white background with a blue text box that says how to store carrots to keep them fresher for longer

Here’s how to store carrots to make them last for as long as possible. In all cases, keep your carrots away from fruits and vegetables, such as pears, apples, or ripe bananas. These are big producers of ethylene gas. This gas speeds up the ripening and decomposition process of other fruit and vegetables, so they do not make for good fridge bedfellows!

Also note that in all cases, it is important to cut off the leafy green fronds of your carrots before storing them. This is because the thirsty fronds suck water out of the carrot until the fronds are removed. Keep reading though, because I have some top tips for using up these leafy greens!

In A Damp Tea Towel

Shop bought carrots that come in a plastic bag do not store well in the fridge. I’ve found that even with piercing the bag to aid airflow, condensation builds up in the bag and causes them to rot quickly.

Then, when you buy loose carrots, the plastic-free way, and store them in the vegetable drawer, this brings a different problem. Here I’ve found that the carrots always dehydrate faster than I can blink. Rather than rot, they go all soft and shrivel up. What’s a carrot lover to do?

The good news is that there are ways to store shop-bought carrots so that they last for longer. The answer? Simply store your carrots in a damp tea towel. It certainly sounds unusual, but I’ve tried this method and can confirm that carrots can last well over a month when stored in this manner.

There is a bit of a technique to this – you can’t just bundle your carrots in a tea towel – so it does take a little bit of effort. This effort is well worth it though.

For optimum storage, you are going to want to roll up your carrots in a damp (not soaking wet) tea towel. Roll your carrots as if you are rolling up a Swiss roll – just try not to let the carrots touch each other. If you notice the tea towel drying out, wet it again.

Nancy Birtwhistle, of Great British Bake Off fame, has some great videos on Instagram of storing her carrots in this manner if you need a visual!

In A Cup Of Water

Whilst the tea towel method works great for storing whole carrots, chopped carrots are a whole other ballgame.

Depending on how our weekend goes, we like to prepare batches of vegetables for the week ahead. For us, this act of preparing our vegetables in advance can be the difference between being able to cook a meal from scratch, or opting for something pre-packaged.

I’m also mindful that some people need to buy pre-prepared vegetables because they are unable to chop vegetables. However, these come in a plastic bag. Kept in their bag, they don’t store well beyond a couple of days.

Thankfully, there is a way to store chopped carrots to keep them fresh for around a week.

Simply store your chopped carrots in a bowl, jar, or Tupperware container of water in the fridge. The water should be changed as soon as it starts to look a bit cloudy – perhaps around the day four mark – but your chopped carrots should last for up to a week. Beyond a week, they do tend to rot quite quickly, so this is more of a shorter-term storage solution. However, if you are planning to use your carrots within a week then this is a great kitchen hack to keep up your sleeve.

How To Store Carrots In The Freezer

Whilst we’ve focused on using your fridge to properly store carrots, did you know that carrots can also be frozen? Although before you start sticking whole carrots in the freezer, do be aware that there is a bit of prep work.

Yup. Carrots have to be chopped and blanched in boiling water before freezing them. This is important because blanching reduces the enzyme reactions that occur inside the carrot – even when frozen. Doing this extra step ensures that your carrots retain their flavour, colour, and nutritional benefits, even when frozen for a long time.

How To Blanche Carrots For Freezing

Here’s the full how-to when it comes to balancing carrots:

  1. Wash your carrots, and then chop them into slices, rounds, or cubes. It doesn’t make any difference how you chop them, just take care to make sure the sizes are roughly consistent.
  2. Next, bring a pan of water to a boil. Whilst waiting for the water to boil, prepare a bowl of iced water, as well as a tray lined with either a clean dry tea towel or kitchen roll.
  3. Once the water has boiled, pop the carrots in for around 3 to 5 minutes. For more thinly chopped carrots, aim for 3 minutes, while for more thickly chopped ones, aim for 5 minutes.
  4. Once the time is up, quickly remove the carrots from the water with a slotted spoon, and pop them into the bowl of iced water. Leave the carrots in the water for the same time that they were in boiling water. Then drain and arrange the carrots on your tray before patting them dry.
  5. Once dry, lay your carrots in a single layer on a tray – and freeze them until frozen solid. Once frozen, transfer them into labelled resealable freezer bags, making sure you remove any excess air before sealing. These will store for a year in your freezer.

In Sand

bunch of carrots with fronds

If you are a keen gardener or allotment holder and have had a bumper crop of carrots, then a more practical way of storing them through the winter may be in a garage, shed or basement.

This method is a great way to store carrots without refrigeration. Simply take a planter, and fill it with a freshly opened bag of kid’s play sand. This step is important as sand gathered from a beach or your garden could be contaminated with bacteria, often due to animal excrement. You want to avoid that when dealing with fresh produce that you intend to eat.

Next, chop the green fronds off your carrots, and then push the carrots vertically into the sand – leaving a little space between each carrot to allow air to circulate. Then cover with a layer of sand. It’s important to remember not to wash the carrots before placing them in the tub. This is because water can speed up the rotting process. Keep the tub in a cool place, although not in a spot where it may freeze. Stored like this, carrots can last up to six months.

What About The Carrot Tops?

Did you know that the green carrot tops are in fact edible? It’s true! They are densely packed full of nutrients, so it’s not something you want to compost in a hurry.

The fronds can be used to make carrot top pesto, or added to soup. They also work well raw in salads.

If you can’t use them straight away, don’t worry. When you chop them off your carrots, simply wrap the fronds in a damp tea towel and store them in the fridge. The carrot fronds will store for about a week in this manner. That should give you enough time to decide how to use them!

Have I missed any clever carrot storing techniques? Do share in the comments below if you have any useful carrot-based tips we need to know!

Do also check out my guide to storing spring onions. These vegetables also love water but need to be stored in differently than carrots to keep them fresh.

Food & Drink, Food Waste Tips

How to Test If Eggs Are Fresh – A Simple, Failsafe Technique

how to test if eggs are fresh

Want to know how to test if eggs are fresh?  Right this way for a really simple technique so that you never unnecessarily waste an egg again.

Reducing our food waste is a really easy way to take action on climate, which almost anyone can do, regardless of income. It’s also incredibly impactful. It has quite scarily been estimated that if food waste was a country, it would be the third-highest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China.

This is because globally one-third of greenhouse emissions come from growing our food. However, across the globe, a staggering 30% of food produced is wasted. This works out at a colossal 1.8 billion tonnes of food waste each year. If we avoided this waste, 8% of our total greenhouse gas emissions would be slashed. It’s a no-brainer.

The Scale of the Egg Waste Problem

When it comes to eggs, in the UK alone we bin 720 million eggs a year. A large proportion of this waste is, according to Wrap, the government’s waste advisory body, due to confusion around the best before dates printed on eggs. Their research showed that 29% of Britons throw away eggs because they are past their best before date. However, eggs are often still perfectly safe to eat long after the date on the packaging has passed. 

egg fresh test

How To Test If Eggs Are Fresh

The good news is that it is really easy and safe to test if your eggs are fresh.  It’s a really handy tip to keep up your sleeve so that you can avoid binning perfectly edible eggs.

I’ll admit, I was one of the 29% who used to throw their eggs away when the date on the box was up. However, when my other half and I first moved in together he showed me a great tip to test if your eggs are fresh or not. It hasn’t failed us in over 16 years, so I thought I’d share it with you today.

To test if eggs are fresh simply take your egg and gently place it in a large glass of cold water. You’ll want to observe whether the egg sinks to the bottom or floats to the top.

egg glass water test
It sank so it’s safe to eat!

You can tell if your egg is good to eat quite easily. Eggs suitable for eating will sink to the bottom of the glass.

Meanwhile, eggs that float to the surface have gone off and must not be eaten.  Off eggs float because pockets of air form in them as the egg goes off, making them float in water.

What Else To Look For When Testing Eggs

The beauty of this test is that it’s really easy to tell if your eggs are fresh, and therefore safe to eat. However, if you are in any doubt about the freshness of your eggs and the results of this test, then there are a few further tests that you can make to make sure your eggs are fresh:

Sniff Eggs To Tell If They Are Fresh

If you are in doubt about the float test, then you can sniff your eggs to see if they are fresh. The smell of the egg, once you’ve cracked it open, will let you know if the egg is suitable for consumption. If you’re not sure what rotten egg smells like, then it’s quite a sulfurous smell, not too dissimilar to a really bad fart! You really can’t miss the smell when an egg is off. If you do detect a bad odour, then don’t eat the egg.

The Visual Inspection

If you are still in any doubt after both the float and sniff test, then take a look at the eggs once you’ve cracked them open to help you tell how fresh they are. Visually, if the egg is off then the yellow yolk will also be lying flat, rather than slightly raised. In an off egg, the albumen – the clear part of the egg – will also be very runny, almost like water. If your egg has any of these properties then it’s not safe for consumption.

With any egg past its best before date, do ensure it’s cooked thoroughly before eating, due to the risk of salmonella.

But Are The Eggs Really Ok To Eat?

testing an egg to see if it is fresh

I took these photos on the 28th of July. So even though my egg says best before 11th July this egg test suggests the egg is fresh and it’s still safe to eat.  

I admit I did feel sceptical the first time I tried this test out. Thankfully, I’m pleased to report that I didn’t get ill. And, actually, I have never been ill from an egg since we moved in together thirteen years ago. So my how-to test if eggs are fresh method is tried and trusted, let me assure you of that!  And even the NHS says you can eat eggs after their best before date.  Again, just cook it thoroughly.

Would you eat an egg past its expiration date?  Or do you have any other food tips?  Do share in the comments below!  And do check out my failsafe tip on how to tell if milk is bad, and the difference between best before and use-by dates.