Jul 6, 2023
When we were kids, we were often given a plate of food with carrots on them with our mothers saying: eat your carrots; they make your eyes brighter and sharp. And with good reason! A half cup of carrots gives us 73% of our daily requirement of Vitamin A. The layer of flavor and texture they give on dishes are so distinct, they’re one of the culinary trinities for mirepoix, stews, and Bolognese. With so many benefits and versatility, it’s more than worth adding to your shelf-stable food supply. We’ll talk about how to freeze dry carrots so you’ll have a crunchy, sweet vegetable for healthy meals.
Carrots are affordable and easy to get all year round. But there are several reasons why freeze-drying them will benefit you, aside from making them last for 25 years.
As carrots ripen, whether on your counter or in the fridge. Enzymes and bacteria are in a continuous process of breaking down and degrading the rich nutrients of carrots. However, studies have shown that freeze-drying can preserve as much as 90% of nutrients in food for years.
You have to admit that carrots are heavy. Freeze-drying makes them lightweight and compact, making them easy to carry for outdoor adventures, traveling, and camping.
Many prefer to freeze dry food because it uses fewer resources and energy. It’s a great option for people who are heavily invested in the environmental impact of preserving food.
When you freeze dry carrots, you have full control over what goes in with your vegetables. You have power over where you get your carrots, and you have full awareness of the quality of the vegetable.
You can use your freeze-dried carrots for just about anything. They’re great as vegetable chips or stick snacks to keep you occupied and full. They can also go well for both sweet and savory dishes.
You can go for fresh produce or frozen. For fresh carrots, go for those free from cracks, bruises, or signs of spoilage or decay. Get as many veggies as possible from late spring to early fall because they’re sweeter and have intense flavor.
Organic is the way to go, whether you’re buying from a farmer’s market or a grocery store. If you go for bagged carrots, make sure they contain no chemicals or preservatives.
The first step is to wash the veggies well and peel them. Trim out the ends and then cut them to your desired shape and form. You can make thick dices, small minces, and juliennes or grate them. Cut them in the shape and size of how you wish to cook them in the future. This way, all you have to do is open the bag and cook without the tedious preparation.
What’s important is to keep the thickness to a maximum of 3/4 inch. Any thicker would pose problems with freeze drying.
Carrots are among the crispy vegetables, right? It’s what makes them so fun to eat. So if you happen to have fresh veggies with you, we highly advise that you blanch before freeze-drying. We find that blanched carrots stay crisp and sweet after freeze drying even when reconstituted.
You can freeze-dry the carrots as they are or sprinkle some Himalayan sea salt on them. Or you can season them with some cayenne pepper for spice or mix it with herbs for flavor. Shoould you go for olive oil? Maybe just a touch, but not too much. Remember that oil doesn’t freeze dry well, and a film of oil, no matter how thin, can affect the product.
Once you got your carrots prepared, it’s all smooth sailing from here with your Harvest Right Freeze dryer.
Freeze-drying carrots can take about 32-48 hours, depending on several conditions. There’s no specific time to it because even for us, our freeze-drying times vary per batch of carrots. However, we notice that the hotter and more humid the weather is, the longer it takes to freeze dry food.
You’ll know the veggies are done when they’re light, airy, and crunchy. Touch the food when the trays are warm and check for cold spots. If any carrots feel cold, soft, and moist at the center, put the trays back or 2-4 hours of extra dry time.
You can choose between Mason jars and Mylar bags for storing your freeze-dried carrots. If you want to use the vegetables every now and then, resealable and reusable Mason jars work best. Mylar bags work well if you’re storing food for long-term use.
Remember to use oxygen absorbers before you seal your container. 1-2 of the 300cc packets work well for every gallon size of your container. You can use more, and you won’t have problems, but that would be a waste. However, using less is more problematic because you’ll risk spoilage due to oxidation.
When you open your jar or bag, replace the oxygen absorbers before resealing.
Freeze-dried carrots are great for any meal you have planned, whether for emergencies or outdoors. They last for 25 years or more, but more importantly, they stay nutritious and delicious for years.
Are you stocking freeze-dried carrots for food emergencies at home or for outdoor activities? Please let us know your meal plan in the comment section.
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