My regular readers will remember from our Monday Harvest report that we dug a lot of carrots last weekend. We let them sit for a couple of days in a bucket of water because they had been frozen in the ground for quite a while. They came out of the ground a little wiggly and we wanted to crisp them up a bit. The soak in the water worked and they came out nice and crispy.
We eat a lot of carrots around Stoney Acres but 8 pounds is too much for even us to eat before they go bad. So we decided to freeze them. We have a big freezer with lots of space so freezing is our favorite method for preserving food. This was our first time freezing carrots; we usually are able to keep carrots in the ground all winter so we really haven’t had the need. The process was fairly simple but pretty time consuming. It took both of us working for an hour and a half to get it all done.
The first step was the most time consuming. After washing most of the excess soil off the carrots we had to peel them. The bigger ones were pretty quick and easy but the smaller ones took some time. That big old bucket of carrots seemed pretty endless!!
Once we had them peeled we rinsed them off really well and cut the tops and root ends off.
Next we cut them into rounds. You really could cut them up however you want, small ones could just be cut in half. Larger carrots could be quartered. Whatever you like. These will be used in soups and casseroles so we cut them into about ¼ inch rounds.
Next the carrots need to be blanched. Most vegetables that are destined for the freezer need to be blanched. You could do this in a boiling water bath or a steamer. We like the steamer because there is less mess and less chance for the nutrients to leach out into the water. We blanched them in the steamer for 3 minutes. You shouldn’t blanch more than about a pound of veggies in a batch.
The carrots came right out of the steamer and into a pot of ice water. The ice water stops the cooking process and quickly cools everything down.
We always spread the finished product out on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer overnight. This keeps everything separate and you don’t end up with one big frozen hunk. After a good 12 hours of freezing we take them out and put them in gallon size bags. Now when we need them we can just take what we need and put the rest back in the freezer.
We ended up with 2 gallon bags. That should last the rest of the winter until our spring plantings of fresh carrots are ready to eat.
Always remember when you are preserving foods to check the most recent preserving instructions. You can get them from the USDA, your local county extension agency or from a recently published book. We love the Ball Blue Book and use it all the time. If you are interested in getting an updated copy you can buy them on Amazon.com. I’ve added the Ball Blue Book to my recommend book list you can click there and it will take you right to Amazon where you can order your copy.