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If you’ve ever grown a garden and experienced a big harvest, you understand that you develop an attachment to the plants and their crops. So much so that you hate to see anything go to waste, even if you have eaten all you can and given a lot away to friends, family, and neighbors. But, we can put an end to any potential future food waste by learning how to freeze carrots so they never go bad again!
How to freeze carrots
Some people will tell you freezing carrots is really easy because you don’t have to blanch them first. We think those people are wrong. But we can explain.
We do not disagree that carrots are easy to freeze. That part is true and we will show you exactly how soon. We disagree with the part about blanching…at least most of the time anyway.
What happens if you don’t blanch carrots before freezing?
So, can you freeze carrots without blanching them first or not? Let’s look at an example, shall we?
Have you ever tried freezing carrots before and they all turned black? If your carrots are turning black when you freeze them, something has gone wrong in the preservation process. When your fruits or veggies turn black it means they have most likely starting to rot or have been for some time. They are not safe to eat and should be disposed of.
Most often this is caused by freezing without blanching. Many fruits and veggies contain enzymes that allows them to continue aging even when frozen. Blanching is essentially the same thing as cooking for a short period of time. This cooking is just long enough to destroy those enzymes and makes your carrots prime candidates for freezing.
So, you can freeze carrots without blanching them first but we do not recommend it unless it is for a very brief period of time.
Can you freeze a bag of whole or carrot slices?
We don’t recommend freezing a full bag of carrots. You run the risk of ending up with rotten carrots like we mentioned earlier. However, carrots slices are something you can freeze without blanching first (although we still think you should anyway).
You’ll want to cut your carrots into small slices. We like to use a mandolin slicer so they are all even and the same general width. Then, you follow the same process as freezing watermelon, cantaloupe, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries.
Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and line the carrot slices in a single layer on top. Stick them in the freezer for a few hours. When you check on them, if they are frozen, pop the chips of the cookie sheet and put them in a freezer bag.
They make a great, easy snack. Just make sure to eat them soon (within a week) or they will start to lose their quality.
But, let’s get to the best way to freeze carrots.
You are going to need the following supplies:
- 2 colanders
- cookie sheet (for freezing whole)
- mandolin slicer with protective gloves (for sliced carrots)
- knife and cutting board (for sliced carrots if no mandolin slicer)
- kitchen timer
- freezer bags
- sharpie or marker
Let’s learn how to freeze these vision enhancing beauties!
You will want to first wash all of your carrots. Whether they are store bought (where other people are picking them up. Ew!) or from your garden (covered in dirt) they will need to be cleaned. We usually just stick them in a colander and scrub them with our hands or a vegetable cleaning brush.
Once they are good and clean, it’s time to blanche them. First, decide if you are freezing whole carrots, baby carrot cuts, or slices. We don’t recommend freezing shredded carrots. The moisture makes them clump together and very difficult to work with when thawed.
We will move forward as if we are cutting them into slices. For this, like the freezing them raw section says, we like to use a mandolin slicer. Make sure you are safe and wearing your protective gloves (I found out the hard way).
Now, it’s time to blanch. This is the part that makes sure you can store your carrots for a long time. It’s also easy to do, so why not use this method?
You will want to, first, put on a stock pot of water to boil. While you are waiting, we will get the rest of your blanching supplies together.
Pull out your second colander or wash the dirt from your first one. Put all of your carrots (or as many as you can fit) into the colander. You will also want to get a large mixing bowl and check to make sure you have plenty of ice.
Once the water is boiling, lower your colander of carrots (Colander of Carrots would be a terrible name for a Harry Potter book, by the way) into the boiling water. Set a timer for 2 to 5 minutes. How long depends on the amount, size, and thickness of the carrots.
While your timer is counting down, fill your large mixing bowl ½ full of water and then add ice until it is ¾ full. If you are freezing multiple batches of carrots or other produce, it helps to keep a few cups of ice ready to add to the bowl as it melts.
When the timer goes off, take the colander from the boiling water, carefully, and lower it into the ice bath. The boiling water cooks your carrots long enough to stop the aging enzyme while the ice’s rapid cooling stops the cooking process almost immediately.
You can now start scooping the carrots out of the colander. When you scoop them out, you will want to let them drip dry as much as you can and then lay them on a bed of paper towels. You will want as little moisture as possible when freezing. Too much moisture when the carrots freeze can lead to a soft or even rubbery texture later.
Follow the same directions from earlier and line all of your carrots on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Place them in the freezer for a few hours so they can harden.
Once they have started to freeze and are solid, scoop them up and get ready to bag them. We prefer to use a 1 cup measuring cup so we can have premade portions ready to go. We will typically use quart bags but, for larger families, you can easily find gallon freezer bags for full batches.
Once all the bags are full, flatten them out and place them in your freezer. If you are freezing a whole lot of stuff, you may want to consider grabbing a larger chest style freezer. At one point, we were using three of these along with our kitchen freezer.
That’s all there is to freezing carrots. Hopefully, you will never have to watch your beloved garden veggies go bad on the kitchen window sill again.