Sweet, nutritious carrots are easy to grow in the home garden, and they freeze well either partially cooked (blanched) or fully cooked.
Carrots are not only delicious as a side dish on their own, they are an essential ingredient in a classic mirepoix, which is usually a combination of chopped celery, onion, and carrots. They can also be found in many dishes, from casseroles and soups to stews, sauces, and braised meats.
How to Prepare
Remove the tops from the carrots and peel. Slice or dice the carrots or leave baby carrots whole. Rinse in a colander under cold running water.
How to Blanch (Partially Cook)
- Bring a large pot with 1 gallon of water to a boil.
- Fill a large bowl or pot with ice and water and set aside.
- Put 1 pound of carrots in a wire steaming basket if you have one.
- When the water has come to a full boil, lower the steaming basket into the water or add the carrots to the water. Begin timing the blanching time when the water returns to a full boil. Blanching times:
- Sliced or diced carrots - 2 minutes
- Small whole (baby) carrots - 5 minutes
- Lift the basket from the water or use a large slotted spoon to remove the carrots; immediately immerse them in the ice water to halt the cooking process.
How to Fully Cook
- Remove the tops from the carrots and peel them. Slice, dice, or cut them into strips. Or leave baby (very small) carrots whole.
- Bring a small amount of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add 1 pound of carrots, cover the pan, and begin timing. Cooking times:
- 1/4-inch diced or slices - 8 to 9 minutes
- Strips - 5 to 6 minutes
- Baby carrots - 8 to 10 minutes
- When the blanched carrots are completely cooled, drain and transfer them to zip-close freezer bags, removing as much air as possible from the bags. If you have a vacuum sealing system, use that. The carrots will keep much longer in the freezer if vacuum sealed.
- If you freeze them in containers, leave 1 inch of headspace. In narrow-mouth containers, leave about 2 inches of headspace. This is especially important if you're using glass containers because they will break if the carrots don't have enough room to expand.
- Label and date the bags or containers and freeze for up to 12 months.
- Drain the carrots thoroughly and freeze in bags or containers following the freezing instructions for blanched carrots.
- Alternatively, you might want to quick freeze them, especially if you're using a vacuum sealing system. To quickly freeze them, spread the carrots out on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the freezer. Remove the frozen carrots and freeze with a vacuum sealing system or in bags or containers following the freezing instructions above.