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Disappointed in the flavor of my carrots

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Disappointed in the flavor of my carrots

Post  SFG in Chicago on 8/5/2010, 5:03 pm

Ok so being a first time veggie gardener I've been pretty pleased with my success so far. Everything harvested up to now of course has been way better than the produce available at the grocery store. I finally have some carrots of decent size so I pulled a few today. I must say I am quite disappointed in how they taste. Store bought carrots are much sweeter, mine have an almost grassy taste. Maybe it's the variety I chose? These are called Red Cored Chantenay. Do weather conditions/temperature affect carrot flavor? Could it be something about my Mel's mix? I could only find mushroom compost here so I supplemented with a slow release fertilizer and I also feed a little fish emulsion every now and then. Everything has been growing well all season. So what say you, experienced carrot growers? Have any suggestions for a different variety to try next year?
Thanks!
Virginia

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Re: Disappointed in the flavor of my carrots

Post  Megan on 8/5/2010, 7:05 pm

I am curious, too. I have only harvested two of my carrots so far. They were not super sweet though I thought they were tasty after I steamed them. They are an heirloom variety so I guess I wasn't expecting super-sweetness?

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Re: Disappointed in the flavor of my carrots

Post  boffer on 8/5/2010, 8:00 pm

Carrots don't get a lot of attention on the forum so it will be interesting to see if there is a carrotmeister in our midst. I'm not one, but here's my story.

I planted 22 squares this year. 5 different plantings. Imperator (long), Danver 1/2 long (Ok in a 6 inch box) , Little Finger (can plant anywhere and seem to mature faster), and Mokum Hybrid (first time this year). Nothing special about them-it just takes a while to go through a seed package.

Every year I start planting them in late Feb. They stay in the ground till I'm ready to eat them. They will last us till next March when they start growing again, and the flavor deteriorates drastically.

At different times throughout the season, I will be disappointed with the flavor. My unsubstantiated opinion is that the flavor is strongly influenced by the weather (which helps determine the maturation rate). There's no way I can isolate soil nutrient content and watering practices as major influences on flavor-but I suppose they could be.

One thing I always look forward to is the first good frost or two that will turn my carrots sweet overnight, as they convert starch to sugar to try to prevent freezing. And if you've never done it before, it's fun to let a few carrots over-winter to start growing again in the spring. They are a bi-annual, and the second year they grow to produce flowers with seed.

fun veggie


Last edited by boffer on 8/5/2010, 10:50 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : change bi-annual to biennial, duh!)

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Re: Disappointed in the flavor of my carrots

Post  SFG in Chicago on 8/5/2010, 10:46 pm

Interesting Boffer. So I guess I should leave the rest in the ground until the 1st frost & see if they're better then. I only planted 3 squares of carrots, the Red Cored Chantenay I mentioned above and a color mix. I knew that about them being biennial but a weird thing happened last week. In the square with the mixed colors a white one went to seed already in the first year! Darn thing was skinnier than a pencil. Googling around I read about some other people having the same issue, also with white carrots. Weird.

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Re: Disappointed in the flavor of my carrots

Post  Megan on 8/5/2010, 10:48 pm

Last year, someone brought me some carrot thinnings in an experiment to see if they could be made to grow successfully. I'll have to find the picture, it's pretty hilarious.

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Re: Disappointed in the flavor of my carrots

Post  boffer on 8/5/2010, 10:56 pm

One year I planted a few squares late in summer. The carrots were barely the size of my pinkie when winter arrived. The following spring when they started growing again, only the tops grew (to 4 feet tall). The carrots didn't grow at all.

I have heard of carrots going to seed their first year. I'll have to pay more attention to the color.

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Re: Disappointed in the flavor of my carrots

Post  El on 8/5/2010, 11:27 pm

So, boffer, should I put my pot of indoor Little Finger carrots in the fridge overnight when they get a little bigger, or should I hope for an early October frost and set them on the fire escape?


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Re: Disappointed in the flavor of my carrots

Post  boffer on 8/5/2010, 11:42 pm

To quote Ha-v-v: "lolololololol" Wink

Clever idea! But there's only one rational answer to your question: split the pot in half and do both, to compare-you might be on to something! happy dance

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Re: Disappointed in the flavor of my carrots

Post  Megan on 8/5/2010, 11:44 pm

Done with shelf brackets, El... now it's time for a gardening freezer!!
lol!

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Re: Disappointed in the flavor of my carrots

Post  quiltbea on 8/5/2010, 11:48 pm

I picked some Mokum and Napoli some weeks ago and thought they were very flavorful.

I had been waiting for these for so long, I had to pull them up.
They were all tasty. I have more in another square which I'm saving for later in the season. I, too, read that they improve in flavor after a frost or two.

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Re: Disappointed in the flavor of my carrots

Post  Josh on 8/6/2010, 7:19 pm

My mom made carrot cake from my big carrots. and it smelled and tasted sooo good! I've had carrot cake before,and it didn't taste near as good as the cake make with my carrots!

Josh

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Re: Disappointed in the flavor of my carrots

Post  Ha-v-v on 8/6/2010, 7:41 pm

To quote Ha-v-v: "lolololololol" Wink

I was minding my own business and thought I would look at the carrot thread. My carrots were sweet in flavor, although they were miniscule Smile Think tiny mouse holding it in its tiny teeth Smile I had the carrots in a veggie soil mix I bought from an organic place. It was 35 manure (horse) and 70 good top soil they have. They had planted carrots in it and they were quite sweet when we had them there. I will try try again to have carrots. Next season.
Ha-v-v

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Re: Disappointed in the flavor of my carrots

Post  Shoda on 8/7/2010, 1:13 am

I have yet to harvest a sweet carrot. Here is some great information that might help you.

Carrots can taste
soapy or bitter
- Two ingredients determine a carrot's flavour: sugars and
terpenoids (volatile compounds that impart the carrot flavour). Some varieties
are naturally high in terpenoids, which make the carrots taste bitter or soapy.
Because terpenoids develop earlier than sugars, a carrot that is harvested too
young might taste bitter.

The taste in carrots is based on the right balance of sugars and terpenoids.
Terpenoids produce a soapy turpentine-like taste that will mask sweetness.
Differences in flavour components have been found to be attributable more to
genetics than to climatic conditions; however, the controversy continues.
Volatiles can also increase during cold storage (around -1C) which is a common
practice (even for organics!)

Many different terpenes in carrot can cause a turpentine-like taste. Usually
terpenes give a desirable taste to carrots, but in high concentrations can give
undesirable taste. Factors influencing undesirable taste include genetics,
growing conditions, diseases and insects, post-harvest handling and storage
atmosphere.


And later on the same webpage...

the flavour is best if they mature when days are warm and sunny and
nights are cool and still. The plant is photosynthesizing like crazy in the
daytime and putting a lot of sugars down into the root, then a cool night comes
and the carrot 'rests' instead of burning up that sugar. Where the night time
temps stay in the 60s or warmer, the plants respire more at night and use up the
accumulated sugars. So for the sweetest roots, time your carrot crop to mature
at a time of year with warm days and chilly nights. and no matter what the
conditions, harvest late in the day rather than in the early morning.
One old wives tale I have heard, but not proven - take 2
pounds of carrots and boil them with three whole cloves and a bit of salt, is
supposed to make them sweeter. (if you try this do tell me what you observe).

To read the full article on carrots go to:

http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/cultivation.html

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Re: Disappointed in the flavor of my carrots

Post  Dunkinjean on 8/11/2010, 4:37 pm

I planted my miniature carrots back in May 2010 and they have not grown much. I keep checking them, but nothing much going underground. I know we have been having a drought (lots of hot weather). I wonder if I might as well leave them or should I replant for the fall? Any advice?

Thanks.

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Re: Disappointed in the flavor of my carrots

Post  ribsyhuggins on 8/25/2010, 5:01 pm

variety and watering seem to be biggest factor i have noticed when it comes to carrot taste.

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Re: Disappointed in the flavor of my carrots

Post  Shoda on 9/10/2010, 2:21 am

We just harvested our carrots. By far the nicest looking ones were the Royal Chantenay carrots. They were fat and beefy and only about 4 - 5" long. Perfect for those with 6" deep beds. They are also only supposed to take 72 days or so to harvest.

However, they were nasty tasting (like all the carrots I planted). They were not quite as bitter as some of the other varieties and I don't blame the carrot but the growing conditions.

If you have carrots like these, don't throw them out and don't compost them. I tossed ours into a slow cooked beef stew and they were delicious once they had been slow cooked! Will definitely try these again.

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Re: Disappointed in the flavor of my carrots

Post  miinva on 9/10/2010, 8:37 am

Have you had a frost yet? From what I've read, a frost improves the flavor of carrots. I'm going to leave ours until they get a frost or two Smile

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Re: Disappointed in the flavor of my carrots

Post  Shoda on 9/10/2010, 11:52 am

Where I live in California, we have very few frosts. Our winters are mild by most standards. We can get night time frosts starting in late October but it usually melts by 8-9 AM. I needed the space so I pulled them. I will plant another batch for a late winter harvest.

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Re: Disappointed in the flavor of my carrots

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