~~~~~

This site uses affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.

How to Preserve Carrots by Freezing, Canning and More


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

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.

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. Make a soup heartier? 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 healthy and 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 need to preserve carrots so they'll last awhile.




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. Scroll down to find the links to all the great posts that are part of the Preserving the Harvest series.

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

Here's 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.

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 lung cancer, colorectal cancer, leukemia and prostate cancer.

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).


Click here to subscribe to The Acorn, Oak Hill Homestead's weekly-ish newsletter.


How to store raw carrots


Raw carrots are higher in vitamins and other nutrients, so storing them 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.

How to preserve carrots: freezing, canning, dehydrating, fermenting and more!

You can store them 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 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 them even longer, bury 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.

So which method of preservation should you choose?

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; 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 from 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 older carrots will lose quality (texture and color), 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 step-by-step tutorial to canning carrots here: The Beginner's Guide to Canning Carrots.

My favorite carrot recipes, plus 8 ways to store carrots so you'll always have some on hand.



How to dehydrate carrots


Carrots are also easy to dehydrate. The process begins just like freezing carrots: Scrub carrots well and pat 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. Spread the 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 this image contains a whole three-pound bag of carrots from the grocery store!

This salsa jar contains an entire 3-pound bag of carrots! Dehydrating carrots is the most efficient way to preserve 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 and 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. They work well in both savory and sweet dishes.


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 cut into "carrot stick" sized sticks. Both work, though you might have to adapt the time that they cook. In other words, keep an eye on them in the oven - they're not as good when they're burned! (I speak from experience.)

Preheat oven to 450°F. Remove the tops and cut young carrots in half lengthwise. Place on a lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toss with salt and pepper. For a different flavor I've added garlic salt, or ginger (not both at the same time). Bake on middle rack of oven for about 20-25 minutes - but as I said, check them often, depending on the size of the carrots they might be ready in as little as 10-15 minutes.


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 awfully 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. When she dropped the several-inches-long slices in a large bowl of ice water they curled up "like magic" when they hit the cold water. (I think a mandolin slicer like this one might be easier to use than a box grater, but I haven't bought one yet. I tried using my vegetable peeler, but the slices were too thin.)


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. It's 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. (We love smoothies - you can read more about making them here. And if you're looking for a new blender, I recommend the Ninja - I love mine!)

Or try this carrot cake smoothie from Green Blender.


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.



This post is part of the blogger roundup 
Preserving the Harvest.

Do you love preserving the harvest as much as we do? Click the links below and get detailed instructions for preserving 23 of the most popular fruits and vegetables


Preserving Vegetables (in alphabetical order)

4 Easy Ways to Preserve Cauliflower from Dehydrating Made Easy
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
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
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
How to Freeze Peaches from A Modern Homestead



This post, including the images below, contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure here.






Store carrots in your garden, refrigerator, freezer, pantry, root cellar, and more!

More than canning: 8 ways to preserve carrots and my favorite recipes too!

My favorite carrot recipes, plus 8 ways to store carrots so you'll always have some on hand.

The definitive guide to preserving carrots including canning, freezing, dehydrating, fermenting and more.

This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.

~~~~~

My mission is to inspire and encourage you to live a simple, joyful life,
no matter your circumstances or where you live. Join me here:
Facebook | Pinterest
Subscribe and receive your free ebook, How to Make Vinegar for Pennies

6 comments

  1. I love carrots, and now I want to try all of your choices for preserving them. Now, if I can just figure out how to grow them successfully, I'll be in business. Thanks for a great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carrots can be really fussy to grow! But there are always farmer's markets!

      Delete
  2. This is a great compilation of carrot preservation methods, Kathi! I'm enjoying the Preserving the Harvest series and I appreciate having you share this post on Farm Fresh Tuesdays!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Looking really good, Kathi! I'm sharing this post in my fave home-canning facebook group! <3

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you will leave a comment - I would love to hear from you. If you wish to email me instead, please click here. Thank you!

Please note that anonymous comments are usually deleted unread because of the high amount of spam. Instead of commenting anonymously, consider choosing the NAME/URL option - just fill in your name, leaving a URL is optional.