A bumper crop of carrots can be easily preserved by freezing. The process is simple; carrots are washed, sliced, dried, frozen, and bagged for long-term storage.
Some freezing instructions recommend blanching carrots, or boiling them quickly in water and flash-cooling them. However, according to the article "Quality Changes of Frozen Vegetables" in the journal "Food Chemistry," unblanched carrots retain their quality if they are used within three months.
Pour 2 cups white vinegar and 6 cups cool water into the large glass bowl. Add 2 lbs carrots. Let the carrots soak for one minute. Scrub any dirt from the carrots with a soft-bristled vegetable brush.
Rinse the carrots in cool water, and lay them flat on a clean dish towel to dry. Be sure the carrots are completely dry before moving on to the next step. (Moisture left on the carrots' surface will cause ice crystals to form.)
Ensure that your freezer is at 0 degrees F. This low temperature will help the carrots freeze quickly. A quick freeze causes smaller ice crystals to form within the carrot as it freezes, and this prevents freezer burn and degradation.
Peel the carrots. (If you prefer carrots with the outer skin still on, leave them unpeeled.) Cut the carrots into coins or dice them. The smaller your carrot pieces are, the faster they will freeze. Let the cut carrots air-dry for a few minutes.
Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Lay the carrots on the sheet in a single layer. Place the cookie sheet in the center of the freezer (the coldest spot) and leave for one to two hours, or until carrots are frozen solid.
Bag your carrots in the freezer-duty plastic zippered bags in 2-cup portions. Once the bags are full, squeeze as much air as possible out of the bags. Seal the bag tightly. Add a second freezer-duty plastic zippered bag over the first. This helps prevent freezer burn.
Store your carrots in the coldest part of your freezer.
- "Food Chemistry"; Quality Changes of Frozen Vegetables: P. Baardseth, October 1978
- National Center for Home Food Preservation: Frequently Asked Freezing Questions
- NPR; What Does It Take to Clean Fresh Food?; Allison Aubrey; 2007
- When you're ready to use your unblanched carrots, they work best in soups and stews, or mashed.
- Use carrots that are mature but not old -- older carrots can be woody and bitter.
- Keep your freezer at a constant 0 degrees F. Frozen foods stay high quality at this cold temperature for longer.
- According to the USDA, frozen foods keep indefinitely, but their quality degrades over time.
- Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images