How to Preserve Carrots by Freezing, Canning and More

8 ways to preserve carrots: freezing, canning, fermenting and more

Carrots can be frozen, canned, dehydrated and more - there are so many ways to preserve carrots. Explore the many ways to preserve carrots and decide which method (or methods) is best for you.

How to preserve carrots

Whether you grow your own carrots or buy them from a local farmer's market or grocery store, carrots are one of the healthiest and most versatile vegetables we can eat.

And while they keep well in the refrigerator for up to a month, I like to have them on hand all the time. That means I like to preserve them. This post explores the many ways to preserve carrots, from canning, freezing and dehydrating to some lesser-known methods.

Why I always have carrots on hand

From stews and soups to stir fries, side dishes, snacks and even desserts, a carrot or two in the refrigerator can save the day. In fact, I get kind of anxious when I get down to the last couple of fresh, raw carrots. They are a staple in my kitchen.

  • If I need to stretch a meal a bit, I add another carrot or two. 

  • If I want to make a soup heartier on a cold winter day? I add another carrot or two. 

  • If we want a bit of sweetness at dinner time, carrots are a sweet, delicious side dish.

Carrots are so good for us, everyone should have them on hand all the time! So when your crop is ready to harvest, or you stock up on them at the farmer's market, you'll want to preserve carrots so they'll last awhile.

The best way to preserve carrots is really up to you.. Check out these five ways to preserve carrots and choose the one that's best for you.

This post contains affiliate links; if you click on a link and make a purchase I might earn a small commission but it doesn't affect the price you pay. Read my disclosure here.

Why carrots are so nutritious

Carrots contain a high amount of beta-carotene and fiber, and are high in vitamins A, C and K plus iron and copper.

Do you remember your mother telling you that carrots are good for your eyes? Well, she was right. 

Vitamin A is essential for eye health. Carrots, especially when eaten raw, really are good for our eyesight.

Raw carrots are also high in pectin, a form of fiber that lowers cholesterol. Their high vitamin content boosts our immune system. Recent studies show that they might help lower blood pressure, and help regulate blood sugar levels too. [Source]

And if that isn't enough to convince you to become a carrot-lover, carrots have been shown to have cancer-fighting effects by reducing free radicals in the body. In particular, they have been shown to reduce the chances of breast, mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, and stomach cancers. [Source]

Carrots are so versatile too. Raw carrot sticks are a great snack. Carrots are often included in soups, stews and stir-fries. 

Simple sliced cooked carrots make a delicious side dish and can be either sweet or savory depending on how you season them. And who doesn't love carrot cake for dessert?

Children will often eat raw carrot sticks even if they're picky about their vegetables. Matchstick-shaped carrots are fun to eat too. Slice them in "coins" or with a julienne cutter for variety. Grate them into spaghetti sauce. 

Or try my mother's carrot curls (the directions are further down in this post). They were a real hit at our dinner table.

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How to store raw carrots

Raw carrots are higher in vitamins and other nutrients, so storing fresh carrots in their natural form is a great way to ensure you'll have plenty on hand.

If you live in a warmer climate where the ground stays unfrozen until late in the winter, you can store your homegrown carrots right in the garden. Simply leave them unpicked and cover the bed with a thick layer of straw, then dig them as you need them.

If your temperature will dip below 25°F, you'll need to pick your carrots and store them in the refrigerator or a root cellar. 

Don't wash them, just brush off the dirt. Remove the greens about an inch from the top of the carrot.

A pile of washed carrots ready to be preserved.

You can store fresh carrots in plastic bags (or the plastic bag they came in from the grocery store) in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for up to two weeks. 

To store them in the refrigerator longer (up to one month), submerge carrots in water in a container with a lid, and place in the refrigerator. Change the water every 4-5 days.

To store carrots even longer than one month, bury the unwashed carrots (without greens) in containers of damp sand or sawdust, leaving plenty of space between them so the carrots don't touch, and store them in a root cellar or basement. 

Carrots should be kept just above freezing, with the humidity at 95%. The damp sand or sawdust will help maintain the correct humidity.

Canning vs freezing

If you don't have a root cellar or a basement, you can freeze or can your carrots. Carrots must be pressure-canned. They cannot be canned safely in a water-bath canner due to their low acid content.

Which is better, canning or freezing?

Both canning and freezing keep carrots from spoiling. Freezing slows the enzyme action that eventually spoils all fruits and vegetables. 

Canning uses heat to kill microbes that would spoil the food. 

Freezing retains carrots' color and texture; canning changes the texture and the heat destroys some of the nutritional value.

On the other hand, if your electricity fails due to a natural disaster or your freezer stops working, you could lose all of your frozen food. Canned food might be a safer bet. 

Only you can decide which method you want to use.

How to freeze carrots

Most vegetables, including carrots, should be blanched before freezing. 

Blanching is the process of scalding vegetables in boiling water for several minutes, then stopping the cooking process by immersing in ice water.

Enzyme action causes raw vegetables to lose flavor, color and texture, and eventually the carrots would spoil, but blanching stops this process. It also ensures that the surface of the vegetable is clean of dirt, enhances the color and helps to retain vitamins.

However, if you plan to use your frozen carrots within three months, you can freeze them without blanching. Be aware that the texture will be different if you don't blanch them.

For the best quality carrots that will retain their color, vitamins and other nutrients, and will last longer than three months in the freezer, blanch your carrots before freezing.

To freeze carrots, start by washing them, pat dry, then peel. 

Slice or chop the carrots. Blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes, then immerse in ice water to stop the carrots from continuing to cook. Let the carrots bathe in the ice water until they are cool or cold to the touch.

Drain well and place the sliced or chopped carrots in a single layer on a lined cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheets in the freezer for several hours or overnight.

Remove the cookie sheet from the freezer and place the frozen carrots in freezer bags or containers.

Remove as much air as possible, label and date the containers and quickly return to the freezer.

An easy way to remove air from freezer bags is to seal the bag almost all the way, slide a straw in the opening and remove the air. Remove the straw and close the bag quickly. 

For even better results, use a Foodsaver appliance to remove all the air.

Frozen carrots should be eaten within nine months if you store them in your refrigerator's freezer compartment. If you use vacuum-packed bags and store them in a deep freezer, they should be eaten within 14 months for the best quality. 

However, while carrots will lose quality (texture and color) if not eaten within 14 months, they are still safe to eat.

How to can carrots

Carrots are low in acid so you must use a pressure canner if you wish to preserve them by canning.

You'll find my easy tutorial to canning carrots here: How to Pressure Can Carrots.

A jar of home-canned carrots surrounded by canning tools.

How to dehydrate carrots

Carrots are also easy to dehydrate. 

The process begins just as if you are freezing carrots: Scrub carrots well and pat them dry, peel, then slice or chop. 

Blanch them in boiling water for three to four minutes, then cool in an ice bath and drain very well.

Then spread the blanched carrots on your dehydrator tray in a single layer, and set the thermostat at 125°F. 

It will take 12-24 hours for carrots to dehydrate completely. They should be leathery-to-crispy when done.

Dehydrating carrots is a space-saving way to preserve and store carrots. The jar in the image below contains a whole three-pound bag of carrots from the grocery store!

Dehydrated carrots in a recycled jar. This salsa jar contains an entire 3-pound bag of carrots!

Dehydrating carrots preserves the color, the natural flavor and most of the nutrients. Dried carrots are especially handy to toss into a homemade soup or stew.

How to ferment carrots

If you'd like to preserve carrots by fermenting them, check out Farmsteady's recipe for lacto-fermented carrot sticks.

My favorite ways to use carrots

What would this post be without a few recipes plus my favorite ways to use carrots? 

Carrots have a lovely touch of sweetness that I think is delicious, and there are so many different ways to use them. Carrots work well in both savory and sweet dishes.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Carrot fries 

I've used young carrots (not the baby carrots they sell in the stores, but small, thin carrots about six inches long) and I've used larger carrots for this dish. Both are delicious.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Remove the tops. Cut young carrots in half lengthwise. Cut larger carrots into "carrot stick" sized sticks.

Place on a lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, then toss with salt and pepper. For a different flavor I sometimes add garlic salt, or ginger (not both at the same time!).

Bake on middle rack of oven for about 20-25 minutes - depending on the size of the carrots they might be ready in as little as 10-15 minutes. In other words, keep an eye on them in the oven.

Or try Sauteed Carrots with Lemon and Marjoram, a delicious savory dish that goes well with meat, fish or poultry. Another of my favorite ways to make carrots!

Carrot curls

My mother made carrots fun to eat when we were kids. My brother and I were really picky eaters. She cut long, flat slices from peeled raw carrots using the slicing blade on the side of her box grater, slicing from top to bottom.

mandolin slicer like this one might be easier than using a box grater. I tried using my vegetable peeler but the slices were too thin. 

When Mom dropped the long slices in a large bowl of ice water they curled up "like magic" when they hit the cold water. 

We fought over the longest, curliest slices!

Carrot cake

I mentioned that carrots make lovely desserts too, didn't I? You simply must try this Fully Loaded Carrot Cake; it has all the good stuff in it!

Tropical carrot smoothie

How to drink your carrots! 

Combine 1/3 cup cooked carrots, 1/3 cup orange segments or mandarin oranges, half a banana, 1 cup orange juice and a Tablespoon of plain yogurt in your blender container. Pulse until pureed and smooth. 

This smoothie is perfectly sweet to my taste buds, but if you need a bit more sweetness, use raw honey or add a date or two to the container before blending. 

Using carrot greens

Did you know you can eat carrot greens? A Modern Homestead tells you how to dehydrate them and how to use them. I had no idea they were edible.

More preserving posts you might enjoy:

A bunch of raw carrots TEXT: The definitive guide to preserving carrots

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Revised and updated May 2024

Text "Preserving the Harvest"

This post is part of a bloggers' round-up with instructions on preserving 23 of the most popular fruits and vegetables. If you want to preserve your harvest but aren't sure how to go about it, we've got your back!

If you don't have a garden of your own, take advantage of local farmers' markets and you-pick orchards. Here are the links to all the great posts that are part of the Preserving the Harvest series.

If you love preserving the harvest as much as we do, click the links below and get detailed instructions for preserving some of the most popular fruits and vegetables.

Preserving Vegetables (in alphabetical order)

 Cucumber Fresh Pack Garlic Dill Pickles Recipe from The Self Sufficient HomeAcre 
  How to Freeze Your Green Bean Harvest from The Reid Homestead 
  How to Preserve Leafy Greens from Homespun Seasonal Living 
  5 Ways to Preserve Onions for Storage from Rockin W Homestead 
  How to Dehydrate Parsnips and Make Parsnip Chips from The Purposeful Pantry 
  3 Ways to Preserve Peppers from Grow a Good Life 
  5 Ways to Store Potatoes from A Modern Homestead 
  Ways to Preserve Radishes from The Purposeful Pantry 
  Freezing Tomatoes for Preserving Later in the Year from Stone Family Farmstead 
  3 Easy Ways to Preserve Zucchini from Grow a Good Life 

Preserving Fruit (in alphabetical order)

Guide to Preserving Apples from Oak Hill Homestead 
  3 Ways To Preserve Fresh Summer Berries from Better Hens and Gardens 
  How to Make Cherry Jam from Scratch from The Self Sufficient HomeAcre 
  3 Quick Ways to Preserve Grapes from Homestead Lady 
  3 Best Ways To Preserve Mulberries from My Homestead Life 
  How To Preserve Oranges On The Homestead from 15 Acre Homestead 
  How to Freeze Peaches from A Modern Homestead 


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