Carrots are an excellent storage crop – they are versatile to use and packed with nutrients. When preserving carrots, the most common ways are to either freeze them or can them. But, if you do not want to sacrifice freezer space, dehydrating carrots is one of the best ways to preserve them! So, in this guide, you will learn how to prepare dehydrated carrots with the best practices in mind.
Dehydrating carrots is a straightforward process and can be completed quickly. You can start by selecting fresh carrots, then shredding or chopping them. Next, give the prepared carrots a quick blanch before drying them in a dehydrator, oven, air fryer, or microwave. Your dehydrated carrots should then be ready to be stored and used in all kinds of recipes!
The quality of your fruits and vegetables matters a lot when preserving them for long-term storage. Here are a few quick tips to help you buy the freshest carrots the next time you are at the grocery store.
Tip #1: Carrots grow longer the more time they spend in the ground. And, the longer they stay in the ground, the more time the sugars in the carrot develop. So, if you want to buy sweeter carrots, you should look for long carrots.
Tip #2: Choose carrots with deep coloring and minimal bruises. When you squeeze them gently, they should feel firm.
Tip #3: If the carrots still have their leaves attached, they will help you identify the freshest of the bunch. Fresh carrots will have leaves that are crisp and vibrant.
The best part about dehydrated food is that they require minimum storage space. The same is true for carrots as well. After drying, you will have about half as many carrots as you had at the start. We will use about 6 cups (2 lbs) of freshly chopped carrots, which should give you about 3 cups of dehydrated carrots.
To dehydrate your carrot, you need dehydrating equipment. There are special food dehydrators designed for drying different kinds of food. These take the longest and, in the end, give you perfect results. However, you could also use an oven or an air-fryer to dehydrate your carrots.
To store your dehydrated carrots, you will need glass containers. It is best to use see-through glass containers so that you can notice any signs of mold or spoilage. Additionally, any residual heat in the dried carrots will distribute faster throughout the transparent container.
If you plan to dehydrate carrots with their skin, you must clean them thoroughly. You can even use a vegetable scrubber to make this easier. Before washing the carrots, trim off their tops. Next, clean them in plenty of water to eliminate all traces of dirt and germs.
You will need to cut the carrots in the form you want to dehydrate them. You can julienne the carrots, cut them into discs, or even grate them. Whichever way you choose, it is best to cut them as evenly as possible so that all pieces have the same drying time.
If you grate the carrots, make sure to use a coarse grater so that the carrots are not too fine when grated. A simple way to get even slices when cutting the carrots into discs is to use a mandoline. A thickness of ¼ to ⅛ inch is ideal.
When your carrots are cut and ready, the next step is to blanch them. Blanching is essential when drying carrots because it helps preserve their color and taste.
Your carrots are now blanched and ready to be dehydrated!
A dehydrator is a tried and tested piece of equipment for dehydrating. The best way to dehydrate vegetables is at a low temperature for as long as possible, and a dehydrator helps you achieve just that!
An excellent alternative to using a dehydrator is to use an oven to dry your carrots.
The air fryer is best to use when you are short on time and want the carrots dehydrated quickly.
Using a microwave is one of the fastest ways to dehydrate carrot chips, especially if you do not want to buy special equipment.
When dehydrating carrots at home, it is important to condition them before storage. Conditioning means that you process the dried food to spread out residual heat to prevent any possibility of mold growth.
To condition the dried carrots, add them to your container jars once they have cooled to room temperature, filling each jar to ⅔ of their capacity. Shake the jars a couple of times a day for a week to distribute the residual heat and moisture.
If there is no condensation formed on the inside of the jars at the end week, they are ready to go into long-term storage. Label and date each jar before moving it to your pantry. You can fill the jars at this time.
However, if there is any condensation, your carrots have not dried completely and will need additional time for drying.
To rehydrate your carrots, remove the quantity you need into a bowl and pour some boiling hot water over it. Allow the carrots to soak for 15 minutes to rehydrate them completely. Remember that your carrots will nearly double in size upon rehydrating, so be mindful when choosing how many carrots to rehydrate.
Dried carrots can be rehydrated and used in all the dishes using fresh carrots. They work well in soups, stews, casseroles, and stir-fries. However, dehydrated carrots will not have the same crunch as fresh carrots.
Still, dried carrots make an excellent healthy snack. To dry the carrots for snacking, dry them to a leathery texture to retain a bit of their moisture and sugar. These carrots, however, will need to be stored in the refrigerator.
Blanching the carrots for dehydration is not required, but it is recommended. There are several differences between carrots that have been blanched and not blanched before drying. Blanched carrots will not only last longer in storage but will also retain their color and flavor better.
Properly dried and stored carrots will easily last in your pantry for 12-18 months. Check on your dried carrots every few months to maintain their quality. If you notice any signs of mold or spoilage, discard the affected jar.
Dehydrating whole carrots is not recommended because you will likely get bad results when drying such large pieces. The carrots will not dry evenly in most cases, potentially leading to faster spoilage.
Dehydrating carrots requires some time, but you end up with a healthy and delicious ingredient for meals and snacks. You can also learn how to pickle carrots if you want to add some tang to your snacks. If you enjoyed this guide, check out our ultimate guide to drying for even more tips and tricks!
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