September is one of my favorite months here in Maine. Although it does start to get a bit brisk by the end of the month, it is the season of harvest when the fruits of the garden start to arrive in force.
We have brought in potatoes, Yukon Gold and Katahdin, and our store of carrots. Potatoes are easy keepers for the winter, you just need a cool, dry place with plenty of air circulation.
Carrots are a little bit more tricky to store. There are several options behind storing carrots – you can even leave them in the ground but they are difficult to get in the winter and they are likely to crack. Carrots can also be pickled or canned, but I could not imagine my family eating pickled carrots so I decided to store ours in the traditional fashion.
To store carrots traditionally, first clean them and clip the greens. Greens should be clipped close at the top of the carrot, but do not cut into the carrot itself. Only store healthy looking carrots, as a bad carrot won’t keep and will speed the deterioration of the rest of your crop. Carrots need to be kept in a cool, dark place. You can store them in newspaper or shavings or even dirt, you just want to make sure that it is damp. However you do not want them overly damp because this will lead them to rot. I have mine in damp newspaper in an old cooler, which will keep them dark and cool, and avoid further moisture from coming in.
It is such a bountiful time of year. And it is really good to know that so many of these harvests will continue to feed us for weeks and months to come. Next week I will be canning some tomatoes, and making some tomato paste out of other varieties.