Since I got so many carrots from our garden this year, and I still have a lot in food storage, I thought I’d just play with my harvest this time around, and hopefully learn a few tricks and add some new recipes to my repertoire.
The other day, I learned how to dehydrate carrots. Dried carrots are great to add to soups and stews, and take up a lot less space than fresh or canned carrots. Plus, they can be stored for a year or so as long as they are free from moisture.
Here’s how to dehydrate carrots…
First, you’ll need to wash and peel your carrots. Then remove the tops and tips. (I’ve started adding the carrot scraps to a freezer bag of chicken parts and other veggies for making stock later on, thanks to some of my readers’ advice! Nothing wasted!)
You can slice them pretty thick, but about 1/4″ in. is most recommended.
For the best outcome, you’ll want to steam blanch the chopped carrots. Steam blanching, as opposed to boiling, allows for vitamins and minerals to be preserved. Blanching also shortens the drying and rehydration time, retains the color, keeps them fresh for longer, and kills microorganisms that could induce spoilage.
Steam the carrots for about 3-4 min. They should still be fairly hard (not tender). You may choose to dip the carrots in ice water to quickly cool them. I don’t usually do this.
I’m using a Nesco dehydrator. Just fill the racks with the blanched carrots, making sure not to overlap any. You can also dry them in an oven on the lowest setting. The Ball Blue Book recommends drying at 125*F, but I just went by the “vegetables” setting on my dehydrator.
After about half a day the carrots were shriveled up, and almost brittle. Perfect.
I stored them in a mason jar, and stuck them in my pantry. I’ve read that keeping them out of sunlight will help the carrots to retain their Vitamin A.
I haven’t tried using any, but I’m anxious to see how they taste after being tossed in a soup or something. I’ve never cooked with dried carrots before, so I’ll have to let you know once I’ve tried it!
Do you dry your abundance of carrots? Anyone wanna share how you use dehydrated carrots in meals?