Friday, October 17, 2014

Dehydrating And Storing Carrots

Didn't realize you could dehydrate carrots?  Well believe it or not, lots and lots of vegetables and fruits can be dried for easy storage.  Carrots for me, are a great veggie to dry and store because the dried carrots are great during winter months to toss into soups and stews!  One of the things I make a lot of during cold winter months is homemade vegetable beef soup.  I throw in some dehydrated carrots while my soup is cooking in the crock pot and they are just as good as fresh.  You can also use them for delicious homemade carrot cakes and other dishes.  These are Danvers Carrots I grew at home in my garden.   This is a great way to enjoy delicious homegrown carrots all year round!

Its easy and quick!  Dehydrating foods allows you to save foods from going to waste and allows you to store large quantities of vegetables in a small amount of space.  I've found that I'm able to store several pounds of carrots in one quart sized mason jar.

Here's how I dry my carrots in my dehydrator!

The first step is to wash and peel your carrots.  Once the carrots are clean and peeled, slice them into thin slices.  You can chop, grate or shred them but I prefer to slice thin.  I've shredded them as well but I find that they are more versatile in my opinion and dry quickly.

To blanch your carrots, all you have to do is heat a pot of water to boiling and boil your carrots for just a couple of minutes until they just start to get a little bit soft.  Not too long though!  You still want them a bit firm!  You don't have to blanch them but it does speed up the drying process and quicker drying time means less electrical usage so you'll save a little energy too.

Once your carrots are blanched, drain out the water and spread on your dehydrating rack.

Start your dehydrator and check on the carrots every couple of hours.  They will gradually shrivel up and shrink in size.  When your carrots are hard and shriveled like the photo below, they should be dry.   Drying time depends on a number of things and may vary so that's why its good to check them repeatedly.

Let them cool and place in an air tight jar.  Place the lid on the jar and store for a day.  After a day, check the jar to make sure its not fogging over from excess moisture.  If there is fog in the jar, you may need to dehydrate a bit longer.  If your jar is clear of fog, you're good to store these babies in a cool dry place like your pantry, until you need them!

See.....easy as pie!
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