A couple of weeks ago sweet husband did me the favor of digging all the carrots out of the garden even though I told him he could just cover them up with straw and leave them there all winter long. So now I’m having to do something with all the carrots. We had a little box and a sackful he brought inside and our camping cooler full out in the yard. Now it’s too cold for them to be out in the cooler–they want to freeze in there–so the cooler of carrots is in the kitchen and if you know my house, there really isn’t room for them there. So I’m taking care of carrots.
First on the list was to give some away! So I did that and still had a bunch of carrots. Of course the kids are eating them raw and are perfectly happy, but a cooler full of carrots? They’ll never get them all eaten before they go bad. So I’m down to canning them or drying them and since I still have some bottled carrots from a couple of years ago (the kids like them that much) I opted to dehydrate a bunch of them.
When you dehydrate carrots, you can either put them on the trays raw or steam blanch them before drying them. I did some of each. Don’t know which one you want to do? Read on and decide.
The first step either way (after digging your carrots out of the ground or buying them at the store) is to wash and/or peel them. These are out of my garden, so I just scrubbed them good with a little scrubber brush and did not peel them. With a cooler full of carrots I did not think peeling was the best use of my time.
Once they were all nice and sparkly clean, I used my crazy slicer to slice them into rounds. The blade on my food processor cuts them a little too thin for me, so I had to hand slice them with the V-slicer tool thingy.
The slicer is for food, not fingers. This is where knowing a bit of first aid is a good thing.<
Once the carrots are sliced, you can put them right on the dehydrator trays if you want or put them in a steamer basket and steam them for a couple of minutes (put the lid on the pot and boil the water under the carrots so it is steaming for two minutes). You could also do a boiling water blanch on them for 2 minutes if you don’t have the capability to steam blanch them.
Now put your steamed carrots on the trays in one layer. They can be touching each other–they won’t stick together and dry them at 125 until they are crispy and brittle.
If you put the carrots on the trays without steaming them, they’ll dry faster–probably about 8 hours (I did mine overnight). The steamed carrots have a higher moisture content, so they take a little longer to dry to brittle–overnight wasn’t enough. I ended up drying them about 12 hours. The final products look a bit different also. The steamed carrots are on the left, raw dried carrots on the right.
When deciding whether to steam the carrots or not, you’ll want to consider what they’ll be used for. If they’re going in a soup that’s going to cook all day, it’s fine to just stick them on the trays raw. If you’re going to want to rehydrate them for a side dish or want them to rehydrate into eatable cooked carrots quickly, go with the steam blanching. Really it wasn’t that much work to steam them and it makes them a bit more “useable” once they’re dried.
We still have half a cooler of carrots to do something with, so I’m back at the carrots today. Gotta get this cooler out of my kitchen!
Keep preparing! Angela
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when dehydrating carrots this year i used my salad shooter – got that idea from you using it to shred your zucchini.
I like how you so sweetly put your husband did you a favor by digging up the carrots! Too cute. I am almost positive that it is a scientific fact men do not listen to women when we talk! If they do listen they don't actually hear us 100% of the time.
I do love your blog, and I read it often. Could you can the carrots also?
Good idea. I don't know why I have never dehyrated carrots before. I guess it is because I can all of them because we do use them but these would be useful as well. I guess I would only do them raw as I normally use dry veggies just for soup. I like that you showed the comparison of the two after dried though, maybe I will try both as well. Thanks.
What a cool slicer! After this post, I looked up food slicers on Amazon and found some that look very similar. Along with my search, Amazon recommended "cut-resistant gloves". Now I understand why! Youch! I hope you heal soon and that Santa gives you some cut-resistant gloves. :):)
It looks similar to a pampered chef model a friend gave us.
Last year we dehydrated 3 varieties of carrots in October here in Wisconsin.
We weren’t scientific enough to keep track of which variety was which.
We were shocked to find that some of them (not all of them) had turned white by the end of December. We don’t know which variety it was that turned white. I have dehydrated carrots in past years and never had this happen before. Storage conditions in my basement food room are optimal – dark, cool, dry.
I called the extension agent, a master gardener in our area and the seed company where I bought the seed. None of them had heard of this ever happening before. The extension agent agreed that if the color was gone, then probably the vitamin A was also compromised. :-( That’s too much work to go through to end up with carrots with no vitamin A! Have you heard of this happening before? I am getting ready to dehydrate our new varieties from this years garden and am feeling a bit of trepidation…
I boiled my carrots for two minutes before drying and then dried them. When I took them out they looked “gray” and dark colored on the edgeswhich looks to me like mold. I used the “mini carrots” and did ot slice them but put them in “whole” which is about 1/2 inch in thickness. Is this mold? Is it safe to eat these?
It is likely not mold as I don’t know of a mold that could grow in the time and temperature it takes to dehydrate veggies. Likely just discoloration from the cooking and drying process. I haven’t tried drying carrots that thick, but once did green beans that got forgotten in the blanching process so ended up fully cooked before drying and they turned black in the dehydrator. Not pretty green like properly blanched dry beans. That would be my best guess on what happened. I would try re-hydrating some–at that thickness it may take a while boiling. Just see how they turn out when they’re reconstituted and see if they are worth keeping.
It is not mold. The small baby carrots are made using the larger crooked or deformed carrots which are put through a machine that cuts and shapes them into the baby carrot then they are dipped in a solution of water and chlorine in order to preserve them since they do not have their skin or natural protective covering. You will notice that once you keep these carrots in your refrigerator for a few days, a white covering will form on the carrots, this is the chlorine which resurfaces and the same thing when you dehydrate them, they have a white/gray covering.
Just wanted to say thank you put up a batch of carrots and they came out great.
Hi, I shredded my carrots and dehydrated them a few months ago. I keep them in a Ball jar. I just looked at them, and they turned mostly white. Do you know what happened. Did I do something wrong? Still good to eat?
Sounds like they were shredded and dehydrated without steam blanching. The enzyme process that breaks down the food is stopped when the food is cooked, which is why blanched dehydrated carrots retain their color much better than raw dehydrated carrots. They are still safe to eat, just less appetizing.