This article is in response to a question from reader Clarabella, who wanted to know why her carrots seemed to go rotten so quickly
A good rule of thumb is that all vegetables that grow below the ground should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place with plenty of air circulation. The temperature and humidity of the fridge will just encourage them to soften and rot quicker. The fridge is ok for short term storage (a few days) but not for anything longer. baring in mind here, our ancestors would store fruit & veg for months on end after harvesting them
I store all mine in a plastic tray lined with newspaper (with holes poked in it). I sourced these from the local discount store, they were originally intended as a stationary tray. You know the ones, they stack up to put your paperwork in, these allows good air circulation too, also an important factor.
If high humidity is a factor, lightly covering with some newspaper can help and changing it every few days as it absorbs the moisture in the air
When stored this way, my carrots (and other root vegetables and tubers) last for weeks and weeks. If and when they start to detiorate, I usually do one of the following
peel and put them into cold, salted water, bring to a boil and simmer gently for 2-3 minutes. Then drain them and cool quickly in cold water. They can then be frozen or left in the fridge for up to a week and used as required
grate them and make a carrot cake
grate them and produce a pot of soup - mixed vegetable (great for freezing down for later use)
grate them and produce a pot of soup - carrot, orange and ginger (great for freezing down for later use)
juice & freeze for later use (in soups or as a juice)
cook & puree, and freeze for later use
The vegetable tray in a fridge is more designed for short term storage and for more delicate vegetables (those that grow above the ground). But be careful that your fridge isn't set too cold, or you run the risk of freezing them or force them to absorb moisture. Taking them out of the plastic bag also helps prevent excess sweating.
If however, vegetables, especially lettuce go limp here's a handy hint - pick the leaves off and place into iced, salted water for a wee while and they will crispen back up.