Carrots have a relatively longer shelf life than other vegetables in the refrigerator. However, every now and then we might need to preserve this root vegetable before drying out and getting rubbery.
If you are in this situation, you might be asking: can you freeze carrots for later use?
Yes. Freezing is the ultimate way to prolong the shelf life of most fresh produce, including this orange-looking vegetable.
Keep reading to discover the simple tips for freezing and handling carrots properly.
How To Freeze Carrots The Right Way
Carrots are a staple in every household. It is packed with nutrients, affordable, and versatile to use in many recipes. Whether running out of room in the refrigerator or you want to preserve your bountiful harvest, this root vegetable deserves your freezer space.
Just like most vegetables, carrots require blanching or cooking before freezing them. Blanching takes only a few minutes, but this simple step is powerful to preserve the color, texture, and flavor of fresh vegetables.
Follow our instructions below to freeze carrots properly for year-long storage.
1. Start with selecting medium-length, firm, young carrots.
Don’t use old, limp, shriveled, and blemished ones. Baby carrots are not ideal for freezing because they tend to lose their flavor considerably. Of course, you can still freeze them if you have no other option.
2. Rinse them under running water; don’t use soap.
Scrub them with a vegetable brush if they are dirty and covered in soil. This is likely the case for freshly-harvested ones from your home garden.
3. Trim both ends, peel, and cut into pieces.
You can cut them into smaller pieces, coins, cubes, strips, shredded, grated, or leave them as a whole.
4. Bring a pot of water into a rolling boil and blanch them.
If you have different sizes, blanch carrots separately. Small, whole carrots take approximately 5 minutes to cook, while sliced or diced ones take only 2 minutes.
If you’re working with a large quantity, cook them in batches and not overcrowd the pot.
5. After blanching, immerse them immediately in ice water to stop the cooking process. Let them cool down for 2 to 5 minutes.
6. After they are cool enough, drain them off in a colander for a few minutes.
7. Flash freeze for several hours (optional)
If you don’t plan to use the whole amount at once, consider pre-freezing them, so they won’t stick together during freezing. Spread prepped carrots on a baking sheet in a single layer. Make sure they don’t touch each other, so they will freeze individually.
8. Once they are frozen, pack them in a freezer bag.
9. Remove out as much air as possible from the bag and seal it tightly. Use a vacuum-packed container if you have one.
10. Write the name and freezing date.
11. Transfer the package to the freezer.
Thawing and Using Frozen Carrots
Fresh carrots make a quick, healthy snack on their own. Their crunchy texture is also what people love to have in salads.
Unfortunately, previously frozen carrots become soft and lose the crunch. Thus, they are best used in cooked dishes, such as soup, stews, stir-fries, curries, or baked goods.
That being said, you can throw them right away into the pan—no thawing needed. Let them thaw while cooking.
In case you still need to thaw them, simply leave a frozen pack in the fridge overnight. If you’re in a hurry, immerse it in a cold water bath or defrost it in the microwave.
To give you some ideas, here are our favorite recipes from frozen carrots.
- Pair with other fruits to make healthy smoothies
- Bake into tasty carrot cake, cottage pie, muffins, and other baked goods
- Blend into a hearty soup
- Use in Bolognese sauce recipe
- Roast with other vegetables
- Mix them into curries and stews
- Stir fry them with vegetables and chicken
How Long Can You Freeze Carrots?
Carrots retain the freshness and maximum flavor for up to 10 to 12 months after freezing.
As long as they are continuously frozen at 0 °F, they should be safe to eat indefinitely. However, prolonged freezing might increase the risk of getting freezer burn. It’s best to use them while still in their peak quality.
Yes, you can. Keep in mind that blanching vegetables before freezing helps retain their texture, color, and flavor. That being said, unblanched carrots might have inferior quality compared to blanched ones after long-term freezing. However, both are still equally safe and nutritious.
Yes. However, repeated thawing and freezing will drastically alter the texture and flavor, making them less tasty and soggy.
Yes. Freezing doesn’t necessarily deteriorate nutrient contents in fresh vegetables. That being said, the frozen version is just as nutritious as the fresh one. (*)
You can treat cooked carrots similarly to other cooked dishes. They should be consumed within 3 to 5 days. Throw them out if they’re already too long in the fridge. Some bacteria may thrive and survive in the refrigerator without altering the look, smell, and taste.
That means that the vegetables are going bad. It’s best to discard them for your own safety. Other spoilage signs include rotting smells, signs of molds, and dark spots.
They might be too old, or they were overcooked. It only takes 2 minutes to boil sliced and diced carrots and 5 minutes for a whole one. Plunge them immediately in ice water before packing.
You can freeze carrots with or without blanching, although blanching is highly recommended for freezing fresh vegetables. Follow our tips above.
Freezing carrots only takes a few simple steps. But, the extended storage times allow you to use the frozen vegetable for up to a year!
*image by Kukota/depositphotos