You’ll probably find mountains of carrots set out in front of vegetable stands at the nearby farmers’ market, especially when they’re in season. But long after the season’s over, it can be difficult to get your hands on these veggies. That’s why learning how to freeze carrots at home will definitely be helpful.
If you love to buy carrots in bulk, then this article is for you! Here, we’ll share with you the best ways to keep your carrots kickin’ all year round. Read through our step-by-step guide on how to freeze raw carrots so you can use them in all your favorite dishes in the future.
How to Blanch and Freeze Carrots
Raw carrots are real foods that truly deserve the spotlight for their flavor and health benefits, among other things. When added to recipes, they’re sure to please everyone at the table! Sadly, these vegetables can lose their quality if not stored properly. But never settle for flabby carrots when you can keep them fresh for a long time with all the crunch still intact!
Can you freeze carrots, then, for later use? Yes, of course! These veggies actually freeze well and won’t wilt that easily all thanks to your handy-dandy freezer. Follow our instructions on how to freeze fresh carrots to ensure that you’ll be using only the finest carrots for some hearty carrot muffins.
Step 1: Preparing Carrots
First off, we’ll go into the preparation details. The first question you’ll probably ask is, do you have to peel carrots before freezing them? Well, peeling is optional. But it’s best to keep the peels to preserve more nutrients. However, it’s still up to you whether you want to keep the peels or not.
Here’s how you prep these vibrant veggies before freezing:
- Make sure to remove the top green stubbles before rinsing the carrots under cool running water.
- Peel the carrots (this is optional) using a vegetable peeler.
- Then, cut them up depending on the way you want to use them. Note: There’s no need to cut baby carrots. You can freeze small carrots whole.
Step 2: Blanching Carrots
Just like when you freeze celery, blanching carrots before actually freezing them is highly recommended. This method helps maintain the quality and nutrition of these root vegetables. But can you freeze carrots without blanching them first? Well, should you decide to skip this process, that’s all right. However, know that unblanched carrots may discolor and their texture and quality may suffer when you freeze them.
Moving on, how do you blanch carrots for freezing? Take note of these simple procedures on how to blanch carrots so they stay the freshest even after you freeze them:
- Bring a large stockpot full of water to a boil.
- Add the slices to the boiling water. Set a timer as soon as you place them in the water. Note: How long to boil carrots, you might ask. For the diced or sliced carrots, they only need two minutes of blanching. Meanwhile, small or baby carrots should be blanched for five minutes.
- Once the blanching is done, quickly remove the boiling carrots from the pot using a strainer.
- Submerge them in a mixing bowl filled with ice water so they don’t overcook. Let them cool for at least two minutes.
- Remove them from the bowl. Drain off excess moisture and dab dry with paper towels.
Step 3: Freezing Carrots
After blanching your carrots and once they’re completely dry, it’s time to move onto the freezing process. Here’s how you do it:
- Place the carrot slices in a single layer on a tray so they don’t clump together in the freezer.
- Then, place the tray in the freezer and let the carrots freeze for three hours.
- Once frozen, transfer them to freezer-friendly containers such as freezer bags or resealable plastic bags. Tightly seal them, then stock them in the freezer.
Tips in Freezing Carrots
Here are some additional tips that might help you when freezing these hardy root vegetables:
- Choose only the young carrots for storing. They’re likely to last longer because they have lesser fibrous content compared to the old, limp, and overripe ones.
- Blanching carrots for more than five minutes is not advisable as it’ll overcook them. Overcooked carrots are unsuited for freezing.
- You wouldn’t want a single block of frozen carrots so it’s better if you freeze them in smaller batches.
- Label the bags or containers that you’ll be using before storing them in the freezer.
- Keep carrots away from ethylene-producing vegetables and fruits such as onions, potatoes, apples, or pears. Carrots will have a bitter taste and may ripen quickly.
How Long do Carrots Last in the Freezer?
One good reason why you should blanch your carrots is that they’re likely to last longer. Hence, if blanched first, carrots can last for up to one year in the freezer. On the other hand, unblanched frozen carrots will have a shorter shelf life compared to the blanched ones. They can only last for up to two months.
How long do baby carrots last? Generally, baby carrots wilt faster than the regular ones. If properly stored in the freezer, they should last for 12 to 18 months. Like the regular carrots, it’s also best to blanch them first before freezing them.
Can You Freeze Cooked Carrots?
Have some leftover carrot halwa? Don’t throw it in the bin just yet! Because you can actually toss cooked carrots in the freezer and savor their deliciousness later.
Cooked carrots can be frozen for up to 9 months. And the good news is, they will retain their flavor and nutritional value. When freezing cooked carrots, simply transfer them to freezer bags or airtight containers. Make sure to leave a couple of inches of headspace for expansion.
More Ways to Store Carrots
Is your vegetable drawer overflowing with these orange veggies? It’s about time that you learn how to store carrots to give them a longer shelf life! There are, in fact, more ways to store your carrots long-term aside from the freezing method.
The ideal carrot storage condition is somewhat similar to that of potatoes. The environment in a root cellar or basement will help lengthen both the shelf life of potatoes and carrots. Place the carrots in a bucket or wooden box before storage. They can last for three to six months, provided you store them properly.
Storing carrots in an uncovered container in the fridge also helps keep them fresh for a long time. Place them in an open plastic bag, but make sure to chop off the top before storing in the fridge. If properly stored, you should be able to enjoy its crispness for up to a month. Now, how long do baby carrots last in the fridge? Secure them in a covered container and they should last for two to three weeks if refrigerated.
The next question is: do carrots go bad? Well, of course! That’s why we recommend that you practice proper storing to slow down its spoilage. However, if you notice that your carrots are starting to wilt, it’s best that you use them immediately to make the classic carrot cake with cream cheese frosting before they completely go to waste.
How to Use Frozen Carrots
Now that you know how to freeze raw carrots, let’s move on to the delish recipes that make use of frozen carrots. They’re usually incorporated in hot dishes such as soups, stews, and casseroles. Here are some of the recipes that we think you should try:
- Cream of Carrot Soup – We’re loving this sweet and creamy dish that brims with floral notes with a hint of pungency. This soup tastes amazing with your favorite sandwich or a mixed fruit salad.
- Honey Glazed Carrots – Coated in honey glaze and butter, this savory dish makes a perfect side for any meal. It needs only five ingredients and it comes together in just 20 minutes!
- Carrot Potato and Leek Casserole – This vegetarian dish combines the delicious flavors of carrots, potatoes, and leeks. You’ll love the earthy, sweet notes with mildly pungent undertones. It may take some time to make this dish but rest assured you’ll love the delicious finish!
Learning How to Freeze Carrots Will Give You Fresh Carrots to Cook With All Year
You no longer have to worry when you buy these root vegetables in bulk, provided you follow our instructions and suggestions when freezing them. Hopefully, with our tips and tricks, you’ll learn how to keep carrots fresh for months to come. And so you can enjoy their crispness all year long!