A Tale of Carrots and A Journey Not Taken

Just a girl in her pajamas digging carrots up for storage so her chickens can take over the garden.

So I could have done a couple of things with these carrots:

-I could have left them in the ground. But then I couldn’t have let my chickens in. Not only would they have decimated the tops, they would have pooped near them. Fresh poop contains pathogens transferable to humans and is not a good thing for vegetables you are going to eat. When the carrots are gone, the chickens can poop away in there until February. Then I close the gates and leave everything to break down till late April.

-I could have left them in the ground and covered them with plywood. Then I could have lifted the plywood up to harvest the carrots (even when it snows)without any issues. But have you seen the cost of wood ??

-I could have canned or frozen them all. But I believe in multiple storage sources. I hedge my bets always. Cold storage gets eaten first, then the frozen carrots , then the canned carrots. there’s the odd quick time I just grab a jar to cook up in a pinch or I grab frozen for a soup if I’m pressed for time but mostly that’s how I triage our food storage systems. I will pressure can up the carrots (they are low acid so unless I’m a pickle they need to be pressure canned ) that got hit by a pitchfork or had small pest damage I can cut off.

-I could have fermented them. Ferments are easy and they are excellent for gut health. I will do some like this, but we have a small house. Ferments aren’t always the easiest for us to store without them accidentally freezing or taking up too much space.

-I could put them in cold storage. This is what I choose. I have a Rubbermaid container, I layer in clean sawdust or shavings, whatever I have plenty of, and I sprinkle with a bit of cold water, like half a cup. Then I lay carrots, not washed or touching each other, in the shavings in one layer. Then more shavings, more water , more carrots and keep repeating till full . I cover loosely but not tight. And I check often to see whose getting soft and I use those first. I’ve used wooden crates and straw too and this works as well. I use whatever I’ve got.

Right now for cold food storage we have a lot done.

Potatoes picked and stored in wooden crates in between layers of straw

Onions are dried, cured and in bags.

Beans are drying on racks and upside down.

Squash are curing, then will be brought in the house for the winter.

Carrots are done.

Turnip will be brought in shortly cured then stored much like potatoes.

Beets will all be pickled. Our favorite way to eat them.

Cabbage will be stored in a cooler in the unheated barn with a stick propping open the top.

I don’t have a proper root cellar but I have never let what I don’t have hold me back from storing food. Do whatever you can to keep eating fresh as long as you can. We never regret it.

Love, Jenn xx

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