Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Too Many Carrots? What To Do...

Tendersweet carrots in a wide row.
       Last year something in the soil kept my carrots from germinating.  Those few that managed to sprout disappeared mysteriously within days.  Finally, after spreading coffee grounds to kill slugs and spraying for insects in general, my third planting was successful.  My crop was sufficient but the experience made me paranoid, so this year I sort of went overboard.  I planted fifteen feet long, foot wide rows of Danvers Half Long and Scarlett Nantes, and a thirty feet long, foot wide row of Tendersweet.  I broadcast the seeds thinly to more or less eliminate the need to thin.  I weeded the rows only once before the carrots provided their own living mulch. I kept them watered through our very dry summer, now and then pulling a few lambs quarter or pig weed. 
Tendersweets fresh from the garden.
       I've already processed over twenty-five pounds of carrots.  That looks like about a third (or less) of what I'm going to harvest.  While I like carrots, this could be excessive.  But I planted them; they grew.  Now it's my responsibility to figure out what to do with them.  It isn't in me to see them wasted.
Golden coins ready to freeze or can.
        First choice is freezing small pieces for use in stews, pasties and other dishes, and somewhat larger coins to serve as a side dish.  So far there are fourteen quart bags in the freezer.  I've never canned carrots, but I'm planning on seeing how that goes during the next couple of weeks.  I expect most of the cans will find their way into my daughter's household, since the grand kids love this vegetable.
       Raw carrots used to be my favorite, but that preference changed last year when I first made sweet carrot soup.  This makes such a great side dish to a winter meal. Twelve pounds of carrots have gone into soup this year.  Ir you want to try a batch of this, peel and dice two pounds of carrots, simmer in three cups of vegetable stock until very tender, puree, reheat and add one and a half cups of orange juice and two tablespoons of honey.  Serve warm with fresh parsley garnish, or freeze.      
Sweet carrot soup ready to freeze.
      Last fall I stored several pounds of carrots packed in damp sand in the basement.  As an experiment it worked fine, but I've used only a handful of those.  It wasn't that they didn't keep well; more a case of what was in the freezer was already half way to being table ready.
       I'm looking for other ways to use this year's bounty.  The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving has a Carrot Cake Jam recipe that looks interesting, but I know I can't use all the carrots out there.  Whatever doesn't get processed in my kitchen will go to a community food bank.

Note:  See September 8 post Too Many Carrots - Second Edition

1 comment:

  1. Wish I was nearer to help you work through these!

    Have you tried pickled carrots? Carrot juice can also be quite tasty, and it's one of the best ways to eat carrots to absorb their nutrients.