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Sep 26, 201211:32 AMHomes & Gardens

All things home and garden

Harvesting Our Garden's Carrots

Sep 26, 2012 - 11:32 AM
Harvesting Our Garden's Carrots

Photos by Drew B. Frank

Autumn arrived Saturday.

Sure seems like the summer went by faster than it normally does. My father warned me that would be the case as I got older. He was correct in that fact, as he was in so many things.

Sunday was a beautiful Fall day, so I took the opportunity to harvest some of the few remaining vegetables still growing in the garden.

The late planting of carrots had matured enough that they were ready for the freezer, but many of the other items such as beets, tomatoes, peppers and cabbage are still growing.

Much of the garden is looking pretty sad. I unfortunately, had neglected the chore of weeding a bit this year and it showed.

Carrots and beets are hardy plants. They can be planted early in the spring and will grow well into the fall.

The remaining crop of vegetables which had been planted at the end of June, reaching harvest stage in less than ninety days.

But Sunday, carrots were the focal point of my attention.

I began by using a spade to gently loosen the soil around them, taking care not to cut them with the blade. Once loosened, I gently tugged them free.

Using a hose, I removed the dirt and debris before moving on to the next phase of my project.

After peeling the harvest,  the tops and ends were cut off. But even these scraps were put to good use as I gathered the tops, ends and peelings and into the compost bin they went; ultimately helping to nourish next year's crop.

As a habit, I only freeze small portions...

I took the carrots inside and gave them a final wash. While tending to that task, I put a pot of water on to boil.

Once the water reached a rapid boil, the cleaned carrots were dumped in. They were blanched for five minutes and then drained.

The blanching was followed by an ice water bath for an additional five minutes. Doing so stops the cooking process and readies the vegetables for the freezer, and is an important step in the process.

Normally, when freezing vegetables, I like to use a vacuum type bag (readily available at the big chain stores), but to my dismay, I found that we were out of this variety. No Problem.

Instead, I bagged the carrots in standard freezer bags and marked the date on the bags for later reference.

As a habit, I only freeze small portions, since the only ones who will be eating them are my wife and I. The children abhor carrots, as children are wont to do.

When we are craving carrots, all we do is dump a pack of them (still frozen) into a microwave safe bowl, add a bit of water, and heat them up in the microwave.

Happily, not only do they taste almost as good as fresh, but we'll enjoy that fresh carrot flavor all through the winter!

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