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Digging carrots and harvesting produce out of your garden is so rewarding.
Preserving Carrots 4 Healthy Ways
In my previous posts, I explained how I plant my carrots and the experiment that I tried growing them. They really did grow well!!!
We dug the carrots in between the rain storms we have had. It finally dried out enough that we could dig them. The cold is setting in and I was worried that they were going to freeze before I could dig them. We could have left them in the ground and covered them with straw and they might have done ok, but we have a lot of voles and mice this year, and they probably would have enjoyed more of them than I would.
With that in mind, we dug them all up. I thought we would never finish! We dug up seven 5 gallon buckets fully loaded. Digging them was the easiest part I decided.
After we dug the carrots we broke the green leaves off and laid them on the lawn. We didnt cut the tops off, we have learned if you cut them off the carrot will not store as long. We sprayed the dirt off of them with a hose. This would have been an easier job except our garden was still a little bit muddy and the mud was sticking to the carrots.
I gathered the carrots up and put them into my cart and took them to the house. For what seemed like forever I carried bucket after bucket into the house to preserve them in many different ways. At night we had to put the cart of carrots into the shop so they wouldn’t freeze.
*First method: Cold Storage
I washed them off again in the sink, not scrubbing them. I put them into plastic grocery sacks while they were still a little damp. I tied the bag loosely and put them in the refrigerator. I was able to fit 3 plastic sacks full, in my refrigerator. Yay a five-gallon bucket done, six more to go.
*Second method: Drying
I washed each of the carrots off really well, cut the tops and bottoms, and anything else I didn’t like off of them. Then I washed them again thoroughly. I put them in the strainer to dry. When they were dry I ran them thru my Bosch slicer dicer to cut them into slices.
I put them in my food dryer. They were ready to go. It took me overnight to dry them.
I was able to do 2 batches using this method. Yay!! Two more 5-gallon buckets done. The nice thing about doing the carrots this way is the amount of storage room it takes for them when they are finished. They shrink down really small. When you rehydrate them you have to remember it doesn’t take very much in your soups, stews or whatever you decide to put them into. They plump right back up to about the original size.
*Third method: Freezing
Just like the method to dry them I washed them off really well. I cut them the same way as the drying method. I cut them into slices and blanched them for 3 minutes in hot water. (Blanching is boiling them in hot water for a set amount of time.) After I took them out I put them into the strainer to cool and drain. Then I put them into freezer bags and put them into the freezer. These will be really good to eat when the carrots in the refrigerator are gone.
I also froze some of the baby carrots. I cut the tops and bottoms off of them. I blanched them for the 3 minutes and put them into the strainer. Then I put them on a cookie sheet and froze them. After they were frozen I put them in a gallon freezer bag. These will be nice to use and they won’t be stuck together because they were frozen separately before I put them into the bags.
*Fourth Method: Juicing
I like to drink a smoothie for my breakfast or lunch. I wanted some juice to put into my smoothie. Last year I froze my carrot juice in ice-cube trays. This worked fairly well but took quite a while because I didn’t have a lot of trays. Also, I had some of the cubes stick together.
This year I had so many carrots I decided I would try a different method. I had done this with onions and it worked pretty well, so I decided to try it with carrots. I washed the carrots well, cut the ends off of them and then I ran them thru the juicer. The juice goes one way and the pulp goes the other.
I took the juice and put it into freezer bags, zipped them tight, and laid them down flat in a pan so they would freeze and be easy to store, in stacks, in the freezer. I made sure I didn’t fill the bags too full. This way when the carrot juice freezes it is thin and I can break pieces off as I need them.
I put the pulp into freezer bags with two cups in each bag. I flattened them out, pushed the air out of the bag and zipped them up. I thought I could use these for cakes and other things I cook.
This is the easiest and by far the fastest method. Give them to your neighbors, family, and friends. We had already dug 1/3 of our carrots and gave them away. I really enjoy sharing the produce from our garden with others.
Although preserving the carrots was a lot of work, and I didn’t think I would ever get finished, I am grateful to have these sweet carrots to eat all winter.
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