When I started my garden, I was very nervous about my carrots. I knew I was planting them much closer together than even raised bed recommendations (which are already much closer together than traditional beds). I also knew that the soil in my raised bed was very rocky, which could cause the carrots to split and grow improperly. It was not an ideal planting situation.
With that said, I could not be happier with my carrot harvest! Yes, I did have some splits and some oddly shaped carrots that grew around rocks. Overall, my carrots were a bit smaller than I hoped, which is probably due to them being a bit crowded. But I am very happy with the amount of carrots I ended up with, and the taste. . . oh my. They are mouthwateringly sweet and tender.
I’ve pulled small amounts (enough for a side dish) a handful of times over the past few weeks. This week, I pulled the rest. The weather has been unseasonably warm, but with deep freezes coming, I wanted to go ahead and pull them. You can continue growing them in winter under cover, so I may try to extend our season a bit more next year.
My carrots were a bit of an experiment. I planted them in two separate beds. The first, I started right away. I meticulously weeded and watered it. The second, I started two weeks later. I threw in leftover seeds, covered them with a bit of dirt, and walked away. I did water the bed when I watered the other, but I never weeded it. At all.
Guess which carrots were bigger?
Yep. The neglected carrots that were left to compete against the weeds were bigger and more developed than the cared for carrots, despite having two weeks fewer to grow. I’m sure there is a moral in here somewhere, but I still plan on weeding next year’s beds, ha!
So what am I going to do with all of these carrots??
I put about half of them in my experimental “mini root cellar.” If it’s a success, I’ll write more about that later! The other half went into the fridge, and we’ve already eaten about half of those. They are yummy enough to eat whole and raw, even though none of us thought of ourselves as big carrot eaters. I’ve never been the type to buy the bags of baby carrots at the store for snacking, but I’ll happily munch on one of these!
Our favorite way to eat them is roasted, with honey. It is so simple and delicious.
Honey Roasted Carrots
1 bundle of carrots
1 tbsp EVOO
1 tbsp honey
sprinkle of salt
1/2 tbsp freshly chopped rosemary
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Give your carrots a good scrub. I rarely peel them (benefits of organic gardening!), but I chop off the tops and ends. I usually slice the largest ones lengthwise, so the carrots are all similar sizes and will cook more evenly. If your carrots are all the same size you can leave them all whole, they will roast beautifully.
Place them in a glass pan and drizzle with EVOO and honey. Sprinkle them with salt and freshly chopped rosemary. Stir them until all the carrots are nicely coated. Put them in the oven to roast.
Now, the roast time really does depend on the size of your carrots, but 45 minutes is a good guide. I usually start checking them around the 35 minute mark, and they are usually finished by 45. However, I’ve had larger carrots need up to an hour. Stir them occasionally while they roast to help them cook evenly.
So good! Next year I plan on growing rainbow carrots, which make for a beautiful presentation when roasted. Give them a try!