Here’s how to freeze fresh carrots to enjoy through the next several months.
Freeze fresh carrots if you have no way to can them. Carrots need to be pressure canned. Not canned in a hot water bath. Therefore, freezing is a good option if you do not have a way to pressure can them.
My family and I love eating carrots well into the Winter months. Preserving them safely is first priority and freezing is a safe option. So, here are the steps I take to successfully freeze fresh carrots to enjoy later on.
Click Here To Find Out How to Freeze Fresh Sweet Peas
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So, this is an important first step. Carrots grow in the ground and need to carefully be pulled out. This can be a difficult task.
Why? Because if your carrots are growing well in great soil, their roots are embedded into the ground. They don’t want to leave. Thus, it will be hard to pull them out without breaking the ends.
And breaking the end can make any carrot gardener feel like a failure. So, I suggest digging them up using a potato pitchfork like this one.
The objective: Break up the soil around the carrots to loosen the carrot roots. This will help you to be able to pull up the carrot easier without breaking it. If you still cannot pull the carrot out, then repeat the digging process with the pitchfork again.
Digging far enough down into the ground can take a couple of times. Great carrots can be one to three feet (or more) into the ground! So, be sure to keep digging down until the soil around the carrots are loose enough to release those roots.
After your carrots are all out of the ground, they will be filthy dirty! So you’ll need to wash them completely.
First of all, I cut the stems off away from my carrots with scissors. Then, I try to clean all of the compacted heavy dirt clods off of the carrots using clean water. You will NOT get all of the dirt off and out of the crevices just yet. That will come in later steps. Just focus now on getting all of the heavy dirt off so you can work up your carrots.
Next, use a sharp knife and cutting board to cut into carrot sticks. I prefer carrot sticks 2-3 inches long and the width of my pinky. This allows for easier storing and faster cooking time later on.
After the carrot sticks are cut, I throw them into a sink of water to soak. I let them soak for 30 minutes or so. Soaking the carrot sticks helps to soften the soil embedded in the wrinkles in the carrot skins. The soil is really difficult to get out of there.
So, I also scrub the dirt out using a very soft toothbrush like this one. This is a job I let my little daughter help with, too.
Finally, I remove the carrot sticks from the water and cut out any bad spots we may not want to eat. Then, the carrots are clean to my liking and are ready to be blanched.
How to Blanch Carrots
This is so easy! First of all, start a medium sized to large sized pot with water on the stove top to boil. You could use more than one if you’re a good multi-tasker.
When the water is boiling, add enough carrots into the pot to be covered by the boiling water. You’ll see the water quit boiling and settle. This is the only time in your life where the phrase “a watched pot never boils” is actually very untrue.
Because it doesn’t take more than a minute or two for the water to begin to boil again. Let the carrots boil hard for a minute or two. In the meantime, make sure you have a sink of ice cold water ready for the carrots.
Quickly transfer the hot boiled carrots into the ice cold water. This is the end of the blanching process and ensures that the cooking process of the carrots will end.
Blanching works because it preserves the color and freshness of the carrots before freezing. The process of quickly heating and immediate cooling is an essential part of preparing fresh produce to freeze.
Freeze Fresh Carrots
After the carrots are cool, remove them from the cold water. I like to let them drain in a strainer completely before packing them into ziplock freezer bags.
Also, the bags need to be labeled well before packing the carrots. I write “Carrots” and the year I froze them with a permanent sharpie. This helps my family know when the carrots were froze so we can consume them in a timely manner.
Then, pack the carrots leaving about a half inch space from the seal. Squeeze the air out and firmly seal the bags tightly.
Finally, just pop into the freezer and they are good to go. And now, it’s time to clean up.
Feed Scraps to Pigs & Other Livestock
What to do with all those carrot tops? Well, if you have livestock, such as pigs, chickens , goats or cattle, you’re in luck!
Because to them, carrot tops are a treat. They will gobble the tops right up as fast as you throw them in.
One word of caution: Copper. Carrots are a good source of copper, so I would not feed them to sheep. Even if it’s just a small amount, copper toxicity increases overtime until the sheep die. And death on the farm can easily be avoided by providing the right diet.
So, I would highly avoid feeding carrots and tops to sheep. But all other animals are fair game.
And it’s nice to have livestock and chickens around to clean up produce messes for you. But if you don’t, you can also throw them into your compost pile to feed your soil organically before next garden season.
As I mentioned before, freezing is just one way to preserve carrots. Carrots may also be canned. But the kicker is they must be pressure canned.
Go Here for the Complete Tutorial on Pressure Canning Carrots!
It’s a simple process that takes a lot of practice. Pressure canning is a learned technique. It takes about 25-30 minutes to process pints of carrots in a pressure canner so it’s easy enough. I’ve enjoyed learning the skill of pressure canning from my grandma and mom.
I’ve canned with them when I didn’t own my own pressure canner yet. Since then, I have gotten quite big into pressure canning different vegetables, such as carrots.
My family and I love carrots. We love eating them and growing them. Here’s how we had a bumper crop of carrots to freeze fresh carrots this year.
How to Grow Better Carrots
I had the most difficult time raising great carrots. Seriously. Growing carrots has been a struggle.
So, for 7 years on our farmstead, I fought rabbits and insects to save enough carrots for one measly side at one meal. But then, I tried some different things and got a bumper crop. Here are some strategies I use that might help you to grow better carrots:
- I used seed tape like this to make sure seeds were evenly space. I believe the seed tape can also help with germination of the seeds.
- I planted the seed tape on the south side of the house in my flower bed. So, the carrots grew right next to the house protecting it from rabbits.
- The carrots received partial shade and protection from the hot summer sun.
- Carrots received plenty of water. We had a great rainfall this year and I barely had to water the carrots at all. I’ve come to the conclusion that carrots require more water than I’ve been giving them in the past. Soaking rains and waterings are best for carrots.
And there are a few strategies I will continue to use to produce quality carrots for my family. Because not only are carrots delicious. But they are nutritious, too!
Low in calories and fat, carrots provide a wide array of essential nutrition. They are very high in Vitamins A & K, which are essential nutrients for a healthy diet.
These nutrients are known to help fight cancer, provide antioxidants and improve vision.
So, you can see why I enjoy raising carrots and having them available for my family. And why I freeze fresh carrots to use in foods and as sides for several months.
Other ways I could use up my carrots include desserts (carrot cake), in soups, and with yummy farm fresh pork and beef roasts. Spiced carrots for Christmas dinner sounds like a delicious item to have on our menu!
Enjoy Carrots Through Christmas
And by choosing to freeze fresh carrots, I can save a bag of frozen carrots for a special menu. We can have farm fresh spiced carrots for Christmas dinner. These carrots will be safe to consume for 6-8 months easily.
Do you have an overabundance of carrots this year with no time or way to pressure can them? Well, learning to freeze fresh carrots is a great way to keep your carrots longer.
So, what are you waiting for? Will you try the art of learning to freeze fresh carrots? How will you preserve your carrot crop?