Common Name: Carrots (Daucus carota)
Seed Saving Level: Advanced, will cross-pollinate.
Planting: Carrots enjoy full sun to partial shade. They do not transplant well, so it's better to plant seed. Sow seed 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep. Use a shade cloth to cool the soil for germination. Be patient! Carrots can take up to 3 weeks to germinate and the soil must stay evenly moist.
Harvesting: 60-75 days to maturity, but may take longer in winter. Carrots are mature at 1/2 inch diameter. Young carrots are sweetest. Pull the leafy top as near to the root as possible and pull directly up. If it’s cool, carrots can stay in the ground a month after maturity.
Seed Saving: Carrots require exposure to a cold period to induce flowering. When the flower umbels have turned brown and dry, cut them off and put into a paper bag hanging upside down for 1-3 weeks. Rub the umbels between your hands to separate the seeds. Seeds are very small and light. Winnow or screen to remove chafe.
Sources: Southwest Fruit & Vegetable Gardening (2014) by Jacqueline A. Soule, Seedswap (2013) by Josie Jeffer.
Books and ebooks:
- Carrots, SNAP-Ed Connection, U.S, Department of Agriculture, opens a new window
- Carrots, University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, opens a new window
Recipe: Buttered Carrot “Coins” with Lentils
- 1 pound dried lentils
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 yellow onion, minced
- 2 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 1 tsp minced flat leaf parsley
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Rinse the lentils and soak them in water overnight. Drain. In a large, heavy stockpot, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Sauté the onion and carrot until the onion is translucent. Add the cloves, parsley, drained lentils and pepper, with enough water to cover. Cook over low heat until the lentils are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Just before serving, stir in the remaining butter.
Source: Death Warmed Over: Funeral Food, Rituals, and Customs from Around the World (2004) by Lisa Rogak.