Sunday, June 17, 2012

Dehydrating Carrots

The girls have decided they are going to doing all the work for Josh today in honor of father's day.  So while they argue over who gets to open his yogurt and offer to drive him around town (I think there may be an ulterior motive to this whole "do all the work for daddy" plan), I'm gonna steal a moment to talk about carrots. 

The only veggies we have had absolutely no trouble growing this year have been the carrots. We started them from seed, periodically weeded and thinned them and then pretty much forgot about them.  They are ready to be harvested, so I have been pulling a pound or two at a time and cooking with them.   Now they are at the point where they all need to be pulled though, and that means preserving them. 

Yesterday evening I decided to run one batch through the dehydrator.   Dehydrating is one of our favorite ways to save carrots.  It's easy, effective and they store well. 

First, I picked about four pounds of carrots:
Those darker ones are dragon carrots.  They're purple skinned, but look just like regular carrots on the inside
Once all the carrots were washed, peeled and chopped, I spread them over four trays of the dehydrator.  Our dehydrator* has a variable temperature control, so I set it at about 135 degrees and left it overnight.
And this morning, we had this:
Carrots dehydrate down to pretty much nothing.  Four pounds of carrots filled about half of a zip top sandwich bag:
I like to double bag the dried carrots and store them in the freezer.  They are very convenient for soups, you can just grab a small handful and throw them in the pot and they plump right up.

I have a new carrot preservation recipe I'm going to try out today that I'm so excited about and will share if it works out.  We'll be preserving tomatoes soon too.  What are you doing to save a little bit of summer in your pantry?

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why do you double bag your
dehydrated carrots AND put
it in the freezer? Wouldn't putting it Mason jars be better/easier?
Grambon

The Hills said...

Dehydrated foods should be stored in a cool, dark location. 60 degrees or less is best. Since we are in Texas (and an area with no basements or cellars), the only place below 60 degrees is the fridge or freezer. We also happen to have multiple deep freezes, so freezer space is easier to come by than pantry space most days. It's also best to remove as much air as possible from the container and that's easier with bags than jars for me (sometimes I even vacuum pack if I'll be keeping something a long time). You certainly could store them in a mason jar on the shelf, but they wouldn't last as long.

The only reason I double bag is because I rarely have small freezer bags around. I re-use the bags, so it's not really any more costly/wasteful. I could put them in gallon sized bags, but it's usually best to store smaller batches to minimize re-exposure to the air and in case there is some sort of contamination...then only a small portion gets ruined instead of the whole harvest.

Hope that helps! There's a little more info at the National Center for Home Food Preservation

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