Carrots are a staple in most kitchens. You may not use these gorgeously orange root veggies all the time, but when recipes, or children, call for carrots, they need to be available. Dehydrated carrots are the perfect way to assure a constant supply of carrots for your family’s needs.
There are a couple of good ways to dry carrots. An electric food dehydrator, for example, is a great way to dry almost any type of food, carrots included. I don’t find drying in the sun to be a good way to get consistently dried carrots due to their tough, fibrous texture. If you don’t have an electric food dryer, try your oven instead, for better results.
Dried Food at Home: Cleaning and Prepping Carrots for Dehydration
First of all, pick the best quality carrots. Then, wash the entire carrot, and scrub it with a nylon brush to remove any dirt or sandy grit, and allow them to air dry or pat them dry with a clean cloth. To peel or not to peel? This is your call. If the carrots are clean, have good color, and the skin is not roughed up, I say use them skin-on. Otherwise, a vegetable peeler will take off all the skin, or just the bad parts.
Next, you’ll want to slice the carrots into approximately 1/8 inch-thick slices with a sharp-bladed knife. Uniform thickness will allow a more consistent batch of dehydrated carrots in regards to drying time. Toss the end pieces into the compost pile, or use them for a pot of homemade broth.
Blanching comes next. I always steam or boil any vegetable I preserve to stop the enzyme activity.
Some people feel confident to avoid blanchiing when they plan to use the food almost immediately. If you plan to keep the food in your long term supplies, however, then definitely do blanch.
Steam or water-blanch in a pot with a removable colander or mesh insert for 3 minutes or so – if you go over, don’t worry about it. If you use the insert, you can remove the blanched carrots from the boiling water or steam all at once – you don’t want to be fishing out little pieces of carrots for an hour. Allow the carrots to drain for 5 or 10 minutes.