In the early autumn, in a fit of enthusiasm and optimism and inspired by the fact that it was still very warm, I decided to have a go at growing some chantenay carrots from seed on my balcony. I wasn’t sure if it would work given how late it was in the year and that I only had a small pot, but since the packet of seeds cost €1.20 I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try.
As experiments go I would say that this one was pretty successful. After planting the seeds and then pretty much ignoring the pot for a few months I actually manage to grow some carrots! As the instructions on the packet were for growing the carrots in much warmer weather I wasn’t sure how long to leave them. I waited until I could see enough carrots tops to be sure I probably had 5 or 6 edible ones! I suspect that in the end I may have left it a little too long – getting them out of the pot proved to be a challenge as everything had frozen solid.
After defrosting the pot in inside the flat for a day I was finally able to release all my carrots. Due to my rather haphazard planting method (sprinkle the seeds around, cover with soil) and the fact that I didn’t bother to thin out the shoots that grew to close together some were absolutely tiny, however many were a pretty good usable size. In the end, despite the small pot, I had enough to make a small meal for one!
Since my carrots were pretty small and very young I wanted to find a dish where I could use them in large pieces without having the peel them. What I decided to make was a lovely carrot, tarragon and mushroom tart.
Getting frozen didn’t seem to have hurt carrots, they were delicious – but then I’m partial so I would say that (I like to think that the frost preserved them for me when they were just ready and stopped them going over ;-)). But seriously, they were very sweet and had a good strong carrot flavour which meant they weren’t overpowered by the mushrooms and the tarragon.
Given that these carrots seemed to thrive on my complete lack of effort (or at least grow fairly!) I think I will be giving carrots another go this year once the weather warms up again and I can start planting. I might even try to plant them in rows, at the right time of year, and see if I can improve my yield J