Carrots are planted when the ground begins to soften in early spring (for a late-spring harvest), and planted again in late summer (for fall harvest).
Fall carrots are often cellar-ed for long term winter storage or even left in the ground. Cover carrots with a heavy layer of mulch, and pull them as need throughout the winter.
Orange carrots may be the norm now, but before Orange varieties took over the market place, carrots were available in all sorts of shades, from vibrant purple and deep red to pale yellow and even white. Depending on the variety, some are more sweet while others have earthy notes.
Mark Psilos, the Associate Director of Green City Market in Chicago, points out one crowd favorite called Purple Haze. He said “It has a really dark purple exterior with a deep orange interior. It definitely has an earthier flavor but I find the big difference to be texture. It is generally a bit more robust and crunchy and is particularly great in soups.”
Baby carrots the supermarket lie. Baby carrots found in bags at the supermarket are actually adult carrots that have been cut and trimmed down to snacking size.
Real baby carrots are carrots that have been harvested early and haven’t grown out to normal mature size. You’ll recognize them because, unlike the stubby, rounded baby carrots in stores, true baby carrots actually look like real carrots (only smaller).
Fresh Spring planted carrots are now being pulled-from-the-ground. Carrots that are hitting farmers markets now are more delicate than the big carrots you’ll find in the Fall planted carrot crops.
Hint To make sure new spring and fall carrots stay sweet and crunchy, cut off the greens and submerge them in water in a sealed container. Keep the container in the refrigerator and change the water every 4-5 days. If stored this way, they’ll keep for about a month. Another option wrap them in a paper towel and store them in the vegetable crisper.”
Winter carrots don’t need as much TLC. “They tend to be a little bigger and more hearty.”
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