Can you freeze carrots? Carrots can be eaten in a number of ways: raw, cooked, fried, boiled or steamed. In the summer we can easily buy fresh carrots or even cultivate them ourselves. But can we buy them in bulk and put some of them into the freezer to use them in winter? Or can we freeze carrots of our own harvest so we can enjoy them in winter? Sure we can – you can freeze carrots. Please remember that it makes sense only if you plan to use them in cooked dishes. Here’s how to do it.
The process of freezing carrots is similar to freezing other vegetables. Please remember that you should put frozen carrots directly into your dish, without thawing it.
Choose appropriate carrots
If you want your frozen carrots to be of best quality, you need to choose best carrots for freezing. The carrots that are going to be frozen should be as fresh as possible. If you cultivate your own carrots, you should freeze them the same day you harvest them. Refrain from freezing cracking or dry carrots, you won’t be satisfied with the outcome.
Image used under Creative Commons from Julie
You need to wash the carrots, cut their ends and peel them. You can peel them with a vegetable peeler, it should take no longer than 30 seconds to peel one carrot with this kitchen utensil. Now it’s time to chop the carrots. You can chop them in whichever fashion you like (consider how you plan to use them) – lengthwise strips, slices or small cubes. You can leave small carrots whole.
Blanching is a process that suppresses enzymes and bacteria that are responsible for changing color of the vegetable, its flavor, texture and nutritional value over time. If you plan to use frozen carrots within the next month or so, you can omit blanching. If you’d like to store them in the freezer for an extended period of time, you should blanch them first. The process is fairly simple – boil a pot o water, put carrots into the water for some time (small whole carrots – 5 minutes, sliced, striped or cubed – 2 minutes) and immediately cool them down. A sink or pot of cold water will do the trick. Please bear in mind that this step is extremely important – cooling the vegetables down stops the cooking process. Drain the vegetables before proceeding further. If you need to blanch a lot of carrots, you can easily blanch them in batches.
If you don’t mind that your vegetables are frozen in one solid block (sticking to each other), you can omit this step. If, however, you’d like to easily scoop a few stripes or slices from your freezing bag, there are some steps you have to take to make this happen. Firstly, take a cooking sheet and lay on it the carrots. Make sure they don’t touch each other. Put the the baking sheet into the freezer and leave it there until the vegetables are frozen. Once done, take the cooking sheet out of the freezer – carrots are ready to be frozen for the long term.
Transfer the carrots into a freezer bag of your choice. Make sure it’s airtight so the vegetables won’t end up extremely dry or suffer from freezer burn. If you’ve pre-frozen the carrots, you don’t need to leave any headspace. If you’ve omitted this step, it’s good to leave a half inch headspace to let the vegetables expand a little. Remember to push out all the air from the bag before locking it. Date and label the bag. Now you can put it into the freezer for the long term. Carrots should be of good quality for about a year to year and a half. Please remember that they won’t work well in raw dishes, use them only in cooked dishes, like soups or stews.
As you can see, you can freeze carrots, but it only makes sense in certain cases.