Here we are in the third installment of “Vegetables Can Freeze.” Today’s topic: radishes and carrots. Will they survive a brutal freeze? Can they take the extreme cold of our Minnesota winters? Will they emerge stronger from their experience?
Well, yes. That’s why we’re writing about them. Both of these root crops have the virtue of a short season and improved flavor when grown in the cold.
When you think about the perfect carrot, usually it’s pretty far from the versions you find at your local grocery store, no?
Tough, woody, and soapy tasting–these carrots are gross and very common. But where can you find a tender, sweet, crunchy carrot that is actually a bright orange?
Why, in an unheated high tunnel, of course! Each time a carrot root freezes, some of the starch that is a part of its makeup is converted to natural sugar. This is why parsnips should be left in the ground until after a freeze and why potatoes shouldn’t be stored in the shed over the winter.
The same goes for radishes. Cold weather makes them crisp and sweet, which is especially great along with their spiciness.
So now I think that we’ve covered about enough on the vegetable thing, so the next “Vegetables Can Freeze” post will be about selecting seed for winter production.