The carrots that I buy come in a sealed plastic bag. In the store they are not refrigerated. I've tried keeping them in the bag in the place where I keep things like onions, garlic, and potatoes (a cabinet with metal racks, and an air opening in the back - I keep the carrots on their own rack). I've tried keeping them in the bag, but I've found that one often rots, from moisture or something similar, and causes all the rest of the carrots to go bad. I've tried taking them out of the bag, but they all quickly shriveled up and went bad. The only thing I can think of still trying is to keep them in the fridge... What is the preferred way of storing carrots? How can I keep my carrots in good condition and prevent them from rotting?
Store your carrots in the fridge, either in one of those special veggies containers that Bob described or in the veggies fridge compartment (usually a bottom drawer with undulated bottom to trap liquids) if you have one. (Notice the little slider that you slide to control moisture and air flow if you put veggies in there.) Only buy whole unpeeled carrots if you want them to last one or two months in the fridge being protected by their skin.
I personally keep whole, unpeeled carrots in their bag (to avoid loss of moisture), in the fridge. I never had spoilage issues, even after 6 weeks. They might look a little shriveled but will regain their moisture if cooked in liquid (making soups or using a slow cooker).
When you're saying that your carrots are not refrigerated in the store: veggies do not need doors (like frozen food) to keep them at fridge temperature. My store has a funny "storm sound" alarm (like rain is coming) just before spraying the veggies with icy water, regularly, to keep them cold. So you get your hand away for a few seconds otherwise you would get icy water on your arm (and clothes if you wear long sleeves), then (after the "storm" has passed) you can grab your carrots.
The idea of storing fruits/veggies at “room temperature” dates back to when people had basements with a constant low temperature under 60F (59F = 15C). My mother-in-law grew her own veggies and had an apple orchard; and also a huge cold basement with a lot of different rooms to store all of her fruits/veggies (separately) for months. But once you heat your house in the winter (or if you live in a hot region in the summer and have to use an AC) the “room temperature” will probably get too hot.
The best way I've found is a specialty tupperware container designed to keep produce fresh. They have little raised trays in the bottom, and a system of vents in the lid. The combination allows air to circulate and ripening gases to escape, retains moisture, but allows water to drip below the produce to prevent spoilage from sitting in a puddle.
Note that produce should be rinsed before putting in the container, to keep it moist, and should be rinsed every week or two to prevent drying out.
In one of the special containers, in the fridge, my carrots lasted at least a month, probably closer to a couple months. They were still fine when I tossed them, but it just didn't sit right to keep produce I didn't remember buying.
Manufacturers of special produce preserving containers:
Progressive International and Ruppermaid both make storage containers with these properties. I have the 4-container Rubbermaid set, and they seem slightly better designed (the tray is inside the container), but the sizes are very much not convenient. The largest size looks like it should hold a heat of lettuce... but just barely doesn't. It's excessively large for other stuff, although it WILL hold a lot of carrots. The smallest size is pretty much only useful for a piece of ginger or half an onion.
It likely depends on what shape you want to store them in. I have good luck just putting the bag in the crisper in my fridge, assuming I use them within a few weeks. Of course, it helps to shop at a grocery store that has a good turnover, and they haven't already been sitting there for 2-3 weeks (or spent a week being shipped cross-country)
If you find that the carrots have gotten a little dehydrated from long storage, you can actually wrap 'em in a damp paper towel and leave them for a day or so, and they'll come back. You could likely also soak them in water ... my mom used to cut up carrots, and had a tupperware?rubbermaid? container with an insert in it so you could fill it with water, then lift things up out of the water ... and they'd stay good in there for a week or more (she kept 'em so as kids we'd have healthy things easy to snack on)
You've noticed that one always goes off, so you found the reason that they sell more carrots if they are supplied pre-washed and cleaned in plastic bags!
The washing and rumbling (the peeling process) takes away the natural protection against moulds, so there is only one answer - you have to prepare all the carrots, blanch them, and freeze the ones you are not going to use immediately.
LOL it is a scam, but people do prefer to buy pre-washed and scraped carrots.