Homegrown carrots are an amazing thing. They taste nothing at all like the bags of carrots shipped from who knows where to grocery stores. If you don’t grow your own, find a local farm and get them freshly dug – because they taste so much better, sweeter. When the garden produces well or a person is able to buy a quantity from a local farmer carrots are an easy vegetable to put up for the winter pantry as well. Here are 6 ways to preserve carrots and keep your family eating their nutritious benefits even as the snow flies:
1. Root Cellar
Root cellaring carrots is a great way to go and doesn’t require much work at all, assuming a person has a root cellar. They do like to be kept moist and cool. The easiest way to store them is in sand or damp sawdust. Place the sawdust in the bottom of a box, place carrots in a single layer, top with more sawdust, layer more carrots, etc.
Pressure can those carrots. Grow a Good Life wrote a great tutorial on this recently, it’s a super easy process and pints only take 25 minutes, so it’s relatively fast, especially raw pack. It’s my go-to way to preserve carrots.
Carrots can be dehydrated either in slices or grated. Simply lay slices on dehydrator trays and dry until hard (about 6 to 8 hours). Arrange grated carrots no more than 5/8 of an inch thick on dehydrator trays and dry until hard (about 4 to 6 hours). Use in soups or stews. Reconstitute the grated carrots for use in use in baked goods.
I’m not always very good at thinning carrots as they grow and so I get several handfuls of these small baby carrots. They’re tough to clean and a ridiculous amount of work to chop for canning or even using in recipes. These get tossed into a freezer bag and frozen for soup stock, no blanching required. When I’m making broth from chicken bones or whatever, I simply toss some of these carrots into the water to simmer. Because they get strained out of the final broth, I don’t worry about any mushiness or texture. It’s a great way to make the most use of every tiny bit from our garden.
Grate and freeze carrots for use in quick breads, carrot cake, and more.
Large carrots can be cut into 1/4 inch slices or cubes, blanched for 2 minutes, then drained and cooled before freezing in bags or jars.
Homegrown, homemade pickled carrots look beautiful, taste amazing, and make for great gifts. A batch or two of pickled carrots means tasty snacks and incredible gifts ready for giving.
Fermented carrots are full of probiotic goodness and are mighty tasty too. These won’t keep as long as canned, frozen, or dehydrated carrots but it is a good way to get more fermented foods into the meal rotation and is a fun, tasty way to preserve some homegrown carrots.
Once they’re preserved carrots make for a wonderful side dish, casserole filler, and soup ingredient all winter long.
What’s your favorite way to preserve and eat carrots?