Even though carrots are vegetables, they can be incorporated into so many different dishes both sweet and savory. When kept in the refrigerator, fresh raw carrots have a longer shelf life than cooked carrots.
Whether raw or cooked, there is no need to see carrots go to waste since they freeze well. So, any leftovers or extras which you can’t use up before they turn bad can be successfully frozen and used for months to come.
Not only will you save money and food waste but having your veggies ready prepared in the freezer is convenient and saves cooking time.
Here is everything you need to know about freezing carrots.
Types of Carrots
The carrot is a root vegetable mostly known to be orange in color, although purple, black, red, white, and yellow varieties are also found.
The thick pointy roots grow underground with green foliage sprouting above the ground. The carrot greens can also be eaten, however, they can be bitter.
Carrots are eaten raw in a variety of salads, eaten whole roasted, or chopped, grated, and sliced. They can be prepared by boiling, steaming, frying, pureeing, and even juicing.
Used in soups, stews, baby foods, puddings, cakes, pet food, and smoothies, carrots are extremely versatile and nutritious.
Can Carrots Be Frozen?
Yes, large carrots and baby carrots freeze well. Freezing uncooked carrots does, however, affect their texture and will result in a less crunchy product than the fresh version. Frozen carrots are, therefore, best used in hot dishes as opposed to salads or snacks.
As with most fresh vegetables, it is best to blanch carrots before freezing. The blanching process refers to pre-treating the vegetables in boiling water to restrict natural enzyme activity which causes color changes, flavor loss, and a decrease in nutritional value.
Blanched carrots will, therefore, have a more vibrant color, better texture, flavor, and last a lot longer in the freezer than if you freeze carrots raw.
How To Freeze Raw Carrots
Step 1: Prepare Carrots
Only use fresh carrots which are healthy and crisp for freezing. Throw out any limp or shriveled carrots from the bunch. Wash the carrots well. Cut off the top and bottom ends of the carrots and peel them with a vegetable peeler.
Step 2: Chop
Cut the carrots into coin-sized rounds. Alternatively, you can also julienne them (lengthwise strips) or cut them into cubes.
Step 3: Blanch the Carrots
Heat a large pot of water till boiling. While the water is heating up, fill a separate bowl with cold water and ice cubes to form an ice bath. Place the carrot slices into the boiling water. Carrots that have been cut into coin-sized rounds will only take 2 minutes to blanch.
You do not want the carrots to cook. Remove them from the boiling water with a slotted spoon immediately after 2 minutes and submerge them directly into the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
Step 4: Dry
Once cold, remove the carrots from the ice water. Dry them with a clean towel or paper towel to remove unwanted moisture. Excess moisture will form crystals on freezing causing textural damage to the veggies.
Step 5: Flash Freeze
Spread the carrots in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place them in the freezer until frozen solid. The flash freezing process prevents the carrots from sticking together in a clump, allowing you to remove just as much as you need from the freezer at a time.
Step 6: Pack
Remove the baking sheet from the freezer and pack the frozen carrot pieces into resealable freezer bags. Press out as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn and ensure you have a tightly sealed freezer bag so no air or moisture can get back in.
Step 7: Label and Freeze
Write the date of freezing on the packaging so you know how long the carrots have been stored and freeze.
How To Freeze Cooked Carrots
Step 1: Cool
If the carrots have already been cooked, whether in slice carrots, chunks, mash, or whole, cool the veggies completely before packing them. You can place them in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process if necessary.
Step 2: Pack
Pat dry any excess water or moisture on the exterior. This is especially important with boiled carrots. Exposure to moisture or air will cause freezer burn during the freezing process.
Once cooled, pack the carrots into resealable freezer bags. Press out any excess air and seal.
Step 3: Label and Freeze
Label the bag with the date and place it in the freezer.
How To Thaw Frozen Carrots
The best way to thaw frozen carrots is to place them in the refrigerator to defrost overnight. Defrosted carrots will cook faster than they will from frozen.
Alternatively, you can cook the carrots from frozen by adding them straight into the pan, pot, or casserole. If using the carrots from frozen, add a few minutes to the cooking time to allow for thorough heating.
Eaten raw, cooked, whole, shredded, or mashed, carrots are versatile vegetables that can even be sneaked into desserts. Carrots freeze very well, and although frozen carrots are best used in cooked dishes, their flavor and color keep a great quality.
Whether you’re saving on food waste, saving money by buying in bulk, or doing meal-prep for convenient week-night dinners, freezing carrots is easy and very worthwhile.
Up next: Can You Freeze Broccoli?
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