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Fall is peak carrot season — here's how to choose, store and cook them perfectly

That big bag of carrots lurking in your fridge is destined for great things.
Orange is the most common color, but carrots come in a rainbow of hues.
Orange is the most common color, but carrots come in a rainbow of hues.Alanna Taylor-Tobin / Getty Images

Raw carrots make for quick and easy snacking, but this versatile root vegetable can also be roasted, braised, steamed or sauteed — as well as baked into muffins, quick breads and cakes. While they’re a year-round supermarket staple, carrots actually have a season, or two seasons to be precise. There’s a late spring crop as well as a fall crop and some of the fall harvest goes into cold storage for winter, which means you can enjoy carrots now and for months to come. Read on for tips on shopping for, storing and prepping carrots.

How to shop for carrots

  • Orange is the most common color, but carrots come in a rainbow of hues. Check your farmers market for purple, white, yellow and red carrots and pick ones with deep, rich color.
  • Look for plump, firm carrots without any soft spots. The skin should be smooth and free of cracks or splitting.
  • If you see carrots sold in bunches, with their leafy tops still attached, make sure the greens are bright and not at all wilted. Carrot tops are a little bitter but can be used in pesto, soups and salads.
Judy Kim

How to store carrots

  • Carrots lose moisture through their leafy tops, so cut those off before storing. Wrap the greens in a damp paper towel and use them within a day or two; they’re delicate and wilt quickly.
  • Store carrots in an unsealed plastic bag in the refrigerator.

How long do carrots last in the fridge?

  • If properly stored, carrots are hardy and should keep for a couple weeks.

How to freeze carrots

  • Select young, tender, coreless, medium length carrots, according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Remove the green tops, wash the carrots and peel them. Leave small carrots whole and cut others into thin slices, 1/4-inch cubes or lengthwise strips. Blanch, cool, seal in a package and freeze.

How to prepare carrots

  • Most people peel carrots, but a good scrub will also suffice, especially if you’re working with baby carrots. Older carrots tend to have bitter skin and should be peeled.

Pick one of these delicious carrot recipes

These roasted carrots are sweet and sour — and anything but ordinary.

Roasted Tri-Color Carrots

The brilliant colors of these sweetly spiced and roasted carrots make this a delicious standout side dish.

Can't get to your favorite sushi joint? Whip up an easy ginger carrot dressing in minutes right at home!

This twist on slaw is the perfect lunch or dinner to make ahead of time and pack. It's delicious and hearty while still being healthy and giving you a good dose of protein, grains and veggies!

Roasting carrots brings out their natural sweetness, harissa adds a spicy kick and the cool creaminess of the yogurt brings it all together.

Carrot-Beet Borscht

This soup is refreshing and delicious! Chilled soups are chic and perfect for starting a heavy holiday meal — and can even stand in for a salad.

Carrot-Ginger Soup

This healthy carrot soup recipe is packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.

Carrot and Zucchini Cupcakes

Carrot and zucchini — yes, vegetables (!) — create complex-tasting but easy-to-make cupcakes.

Baked Carrot Fries with Rosemary

A little bit of rosemary goes a long way and gives sweet roasted carrots a fragrant twist.

These soft and cakey cookie sandwiches are packed with all the same flavors as a slice of cream cheese-frosted carrot cake in an easy handheld package that's perfect for parties, lunch boxes and afternoon snacks.