There are a couple different methods to freezing carrots once they have been harvested from your garden. In this article, we are going to address freezing with blanching. Blanching is a quick cooking method to help the carrots to retain their color and flavor. With this process, it is best to use fresh or raw carrots.
What is needed:
- vegetable scrubber
- cutting board and knife
- large saucepan
- large bowl
- resealable, freezer bags (or vacuum-sealed bags)
- paper towel or tea towels
- baking sheets
Here are the steps to take when freezing carrots:
Prepare the carrots by scrubbing off any dirt. The carrots can be peeled or unpeeled whatever you prefer. Then cut the carrots whichever way that will be most convenient for your cooking in the fall or winter months. That could be diced, quartered, chopped, julienned. It is all dependent on what the frozen carrots will be used for in the future.
While cutting your carrots, boil a large pot of water on the stove. It is not necessary to add any salt or other ingredients. It is also important to have a water bath setup near your pot of boiling water – so that the carrots can be transferred quickly and easily. The water bath is a bowl of cold water with ice cubes added to make sure it is as cold as possible.
Place your prepared and sliced carrots into the boiling water. Blanching is a quick process and in this case should only be done for 2 to 3 minutes. After that time, transfer the carrots by using a slotted spoon directly into the water bath to stop the cooking process. Once the carrots have cooled, place them on a dry towel to air dry. You will continue to blanch and cool each batch, however, dependent on the number of carrots that you have it may be approach to change the blanching liquid after 5 uses as well as the water bath. You want each to retain their temperatures with each batch. Remember, you are not fully cooking the carrots to your preferred doneness – this is just to preserve them.
Once your carrots have air dried, which can take upwards to an hour. It is now time to place them in either Ziploc bags or vacuum-sealed bags, whichever you have available. If using Ziploc bags, it is very important to remove as much air as possible. Leave about 1/2 inch to one inch of headspace in the bag to allow for expanding as the carrots will do when they freeze due to the water. It is always great to label the bags with the date, the measurement included (1 cup, 2 cups, etc.) and the contains of the bag for future use. If possible, lay the freezer bag flat. Using vacuum-sealed bags will provide you with the longest freezing and preservation, but it is optional.