Carrots fresh from the garden are a late summertime favorite that can be enjoyed well into fall. They are especially delicious in hot stews, soups, and comforting wintertime casseroles. Enjoy their fresh, sweet flavor all winter long. Try the following easy way to blanch and freeze sliced, diced, whole, or shredded carrots, and enjoy their fresh flavor months after the last one is plucked from the garden.
Before Deciding to Freeze Carrots
Freeze carrots and they will not retain the texture they had when they were fresh. They will not be good for fresh vegetable platters, but they are fantastic in soups, stews, and other hot dishes. When shredded they can be used to make fast and easy carrot cake and other tasty desserts.
Choose the Very Best Garden-Fresh Carrots to Freeze
Whether carrots come from the store or the backyard garden, they must be fresh and in prime condition before preparing to freeze them. They should not have cracks, and they should not be dry, white, or rubbery. If they are too large they will have a wood-like texture. Small to medium specimens are the best choice no matter how they will be prepared.
How to Prepare Carrots to Freeze
Prepare carrots to freeze by first peeling and cutting away the tops. If they are very small they can be left whole. They can also be shredded, cubed, or sliced. In any case they should be blanched to retain their bright orange color and the very best texture and flavor. Freeze them properly and they will taste as sweet and delicious as they did when they were fresh.
How to Blanch and Freeze Shredded Carrots
Shredded varieties must be blanched in boilable bags before choosing to freeze them. Otherwise, any amount of blanching time would be too long. They would end up cooking, loosing valuable nutrients, and they would be difficult to strain from the water.
To blanch and freeze shredded carrots, place a pre-measured amount in boilable zipper bags as a pot of water comes to a boil. Leave about one inch of headspace, and remove as much of the air as possible. The air can be sucked out with a straw.
Next, fill the closest sink with ice water. Place two or three bags of shredded carrots in the boiling water, and allow them to remain in the boiling bath for approximately eight minutes. Immediately transfer the bags to the sink filled with ice water. When they are completely cool, dry the bags, and place them in the freezer.
How to Blanch and Freeze Sliced, Diced, and Whole Carrots
To freeze sliced, diced, or whole carrots, begin by bringing a pot of water to a full boil. Have a colander or strainer ready along with freezer bags or containers. Blanch sliced or diced carrots for approximately two minutes. Whole carrots must be blanched for five minutes.
Remove the blanched carrots with a slotted spoon, and put them in a strainer or colander. Immediately stop the cooking process by placing the colander under cold running water. Allow them to drain. Place the drained carrots on a baking sheet, and freeze them on the tray to keep them separate. Otherwise, freeze them in appropriate freezer containers or bags. When properly stored, carrots will stay fresh and tasty for up to one year.