Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Winter harvest - carrots!

Many pounds of carrots (and parsnips) awaiting their fate...

We planted 4 types of carrots and one type of parsnip (and beets) all in the same 12 inch high box in our garden last year. They grew like crazy! We've been harvesting them as we've needed them for stews or recipes since August, but we've never bothered to dig up the whole box.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to pull out a few and I found that I had to really hack at the ground because the top two inches or so were frozen. I decided then that the next time we had a string of warmer days in a row, I'd harvest the remainder of the carrots. We had that string of days last week - 4 or so of 50+ weather in a row...plenty to soften the box soil.

So on Sunday, I grabbed my old milk crate and set out to harvest the remainder. Uh, yeah. That was a bit ambitious. I had no idea how many carrots we had!! The crate above is only two varieties of carrots and the parsnips. I still have two more varieties of carrots and one of the ones I didn't dig up actually occupies a double space. The above crate was easily 20 lbs in weight and I have no doubt that there is the same amount or more still to be harvested. That's greater than 40 lbs of carrots in a 2' x 4' box! Talk about space utilization!

My plan was to can...but I just couldn't bring myself to pull out the pressure canner and all that goes with it. I'll save that for the next harvest (next weekend?). For the carrots above, I cooked a few pounds to have with meals, I mashed some of them and made a yummy carrot-orange snack cake. I peeled a bunch and put them in the fridge for snacking. I'm going to make some carrot muffins or cake later this week. And lastly, there will be roasting. Lots of roasting. Nothing is yummier than roasted root veggies with garlic and rosemary (both also from our garden). The yellow carrots in the above bin are ok raw, but they are buttery and sweet when cooked - even without butter or sweetener! YUM! Lastly, I've wrapped them up and I'm storing them on the deck railing for now. We have no room in the fridge!

Anyone have any carrot recipes they want to share?

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