Carrots are a great food to fit into your diet - packed with delicious nutrients, these veggies can add plenty of color to any dish. Of course, the problem with buying any fresh vegetables is that they can eventually spoil, even if they are refrigerated. This can be rather frustrating, and so you may wonder whether it’s possible to freeze carrots.
The good news is that it’s certainly possible to freeze carrots! In fact, if you go to pretty much any grocery store, you’ll find frozen carrots there somewhere. Freezing carrots is incredibly simple, and thanks to this you can easily prepare a whole range of meals for future eating. There are a few methods of freezing carrots, either by blanching or not by blanching.
How to Freeze Carrots
Ideally, the best thing to do if you are looking to freeze carrots is to blanch them first. This way, the carrots still maintain their juicy flavor and texture even once you’ve defrosted and cooked them. It also gets rid of any dirt or bugs that may be on the surface of the carrots.
To begin the process, the first thing that you need to do is cut off the top and tail of the carrot. Then peel the carrot thoroughly. From here, you can chop up the carrot into a size that suits you - it doesn’t really matter how you do it.
After doing this, grab a big pan of water. You will then need to bring it to a rolling boil. Scoop up your carrots and put them in the water, less than a minute will be completely fine. Then, drain the carrots and allow them to cool for a while.
Once you have blanched your carrots, then you need to put all of the carrots onto a tray. The carrots should cover one single layer on the tray, and it’s very important that you don’t have any pieces touching eachother. After you have done this, you can put the carrots in the freezer for a number of hours until they are frozen.
Finally, grab your carrots out of the freezer, then put them into a freezable bag. All you need to do then is to return the carrots to the freezer until you need to use them next.
How to Defrost Carrots
Defrosting your carrots is a fairly simple process, though how you do it is largely going to depend on how you plan on using the carrots.
The first method is to simply grab your frozen carrots out of the freezer, then place them in the refrigerator and allow them to thaw overnight. This is ideal, as carrots that are defrosted don’t take so long to cook as ones that are frozen are. You can cook carrots from frozen, but it’s often best to defrost them first if possible, especially if you don’t want to cook a certain recipe for too long.
Alternatively, you can also defrost the carrots in the oven. Simply grab a nonstick pan, then put the oven on low heat. Put the pan of carrots in the oven, and as time passes, slowly increase the temperature to properly cook the carrots. If you choose to blanch the carrots it’s important to note that it’s possible that it may take longer for them to cook than carrots that were roasted before they were frozen.
The other option is to simply toss the carrots into whatever meal you’re cooking. This isn’t always an option for some dishes, but if you’re cooking something such as soup or stew then you can just throw the vegetables into the pot and they’re good to eat. With that being said, you should try to account for a couple of extra minutes of cooking time, simply to allow the vegetables to fully warm up and thaw out.
Factors to Consider Before Freezing Carrots
Before you choose to freeze your carrots, there are a number of things you should first take into account. As we’ve already mentioned, your carrots are going to cook more evenly and much faster if they have been defrosted first. This is the preferable option, as opposed to just throwing your carrots into the oven to cook instead.
Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to carrots, so how you cook them will depend on your preference. If you would prefer your frozen carrots to be soft after you have frozen them, you should cook them for a little while longer. For slightly harder, crunchier carrots, less cooking time is suitable.
In addition to this, while freezing carrots doesn’t have a huge impact on the overall taste and texture of the vegetable, it is often best to use them as part of a cooked meal. Putting frozen carrots into a salad just isn’t going to taste as good as using fresh, shredded carrots. You’ll barely notice a difference when you put the carrots into a cooked dish, but this is something you should keep in mind.
If you do want to fully retain the taste and texture of your carrots though, you should ensure that you blanch the vegetables first to keep the key nutrients in, in addition to keeping the flavor the same.
Once you have frozen your vegetables, you should leave them in the freezer for no longer than 12 months. Ideally, you should eat your vegetables as soon as possible to get the best quality. The best way to keep track of this is to clearly label the containers or bags that your vegetables are in with the date when you froze them. Most frozen carrots will keep their fresh flavor and their nutrients for roughly 9 months.
In short, yes - it is completely safe and possible to freeze carrots! In fact, it’s a good option for people that want to meal prep, or for anyone that’s bought more carrots than they needed but don’t want them to go to waste. Just make sure that you eat them within 9 months of freezing, and you can eat away!