How to Dehydrate Carrots
Have too many carrots in your garden? Well, learn how to dehydrate carrots so you can have them all year-round!
Carrots are known as one of the most common storage crops, and you can easily use them in various recipes.
Dehydrated carrots are ready to use throughout the year, and they can also last longer in the refrigerator or outside in the pantry.
Even though you can find carrots in the supermarket year-round, you still need a lot of reasons to consider dehydrating them.
Simply put, dehydrated carrots have a longer shelf life and have a much lighter weight than fresh carrots.
Through the dehydration process, carrots can hold their bright orange colors, sweet taste, nutrients, and many other minerals.
Dehydrated carrots are a great way to add some to your cooking and also an excellent way to add to your homemade backpacking meals. Let’s get started!
Health Benefits of Carrots
The root vegetable carrot is frequently hailed as the ideal health food. It is delicious, crispy, and incredibly nourishing.
For instance, carrots are a good source of beta carotene, fiber, potassium, vitamin K1, and antioxidants.
They offer some health advantages as well. They have been connected to enhanced eye health and lower cholesterol levels, making them food that supports weight loss.
Furthermore, a lower risk of cancer has been associated with their carotene antioxidants.
Here are some important health benefits of carrots:
1. Good for Eye Health
Carrots include a lot of beta-carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A to support the health of your eyes.
Additionally, beta-carotene lessens your risk of cataracts and other eye conditions while also assisting in sun protection for your eyes.
Lutein, which is present in yellow carrots, is advantageous for your eyes. According to studies, the most common cause of vision loss in the U.S., age-related macular degeneration, has been shown to be helped by or prevented by it.
2. Lower the Risks of Cancer
It has been demonstrated that antioxidants help your body fight off dangerous free radicals, which may reduce your risk of developing cancer.
Carotenoids and anthocyanins are the two main categories of antioxidants found in carrots.
While anthocyanins are in charge of the red and purple coloring, they also give carrots their orange and yellow hues.
3. Good for Your Heart
Carrots’ potassium content can support healthy blood pressure levels. Also, they contain fiber, which can assist you in maintaining a healthy weight and reducing your risk of developing heart disease. Lycopene, which helps prevent heart disease, is also present in red carrots.
4. Boosts the Immune System
Carrots include vitamin C, which helps your body create antibodies to protect your immune system. Vitamin C helps your body absorb and utilize iron while warding off infections.
5. Assists with Constipation
Eat some raw carrots if you’re having problems going to the restroom. Due to their rich fiber content, they can aid in maintaining regularity and easing constipation.
6. Helps to Control Diabetes
Carrots are among the non-starchy vegetables people with diabetes are advised to eat in large quantities. Carrots’ fiber content can aid in regulating blood sugar levels.
Additionally, they are abundant in beta-carotene and vitamin A, which have been linked to a decreased incidence of diabetes.
Prepping Carrots for Dehydrating
Before you start preparing the carrots, you need to be cautious about cleaning. Ensure that your counters, equipment, and hands are properly cleaned and sanitized to prevent contamination.
If you do not clean thoroughly, it can spoil your batch of carrots.
- Use a sharp knife to get rid of the tops of the carrots. Make sure to trim out the brown cap of the carrot as it is quite bitter.
- Peel out the outer skin as it will also add bitterness when dehydrated.
- Rinse out the carrots to remove dusty residue.
- For slices or cubes, cut out the bottom part into a ⅛-inch round shape. The pieces will get larger as you work your way up to the carrots.
- Use the large holes of a box grater to shred the carrots.
Why Blanch Carrots?
You should blanch all kinds of root vegetables before dehydrating them. If you are worried about boiling the nutrients away, it’s not happening!
You are mainly stopping the enzymatic process, which is causing the vegetables to degrade over time. It will help the veggies to stop losing their color, flavors, and texture.
In the dehydration process, blanching will also help to shorten the process of dehydrating and rehydration time, will keep the carrots fresh for longer, and eliminates any kind of microorganisms which could spoil the food.
Start the blanching process by boiling the carrots in the pot for 2 minutes, then remove and pour them into cold water.
Dehydrating Carrots Using the Oven
Probably oven dehydration process is the fastest method to dry carrots. However, this process runs the oven at a very low temperature. But the chances of risk of burning and over-drying are quite higher with this procedure.
Now set up a rack in a baking dish and place a clear screen on top of the rack. Arrange the prepared carrot slices on the baking sheet, and put them slightly apart, so they are not touching.
Set at 125F temperature if possible, but some ovens don’t go lower than 150F. If your oven doesn’t go lower temperature, then your next best option is to slightly open the door with the handle of a wooden spoon or similar wooden object.
After that, you should dry the carrots on a cooling rack for 6 to 8 hours. Once it’s done, let the carrots cool down, vacuum seal, and put them in an airtight container.
Drying Carrots Using a Dehydrator
The important part of drying carrots is the time and temperature of dehydrating carrots using a dehydrator.
In most sources, you will see 6 to 10 hours to dehydrate carrots, but the time depends on the humidity and temperature of the dehydrator.
You can see the guide below for the humidity percentage, and the time it will take to do the carrots.
- 11-30% humidity = 6 hours
- 31-50% humidity = 7 hours
- 51-70% humidity = 8 hours
- 71-80% humidity = 9 hours
- 81-100% humidity = 10 hours
Usually, I keep it at 40% humidity, set the dehydrator at 125F, and set the time to 7 hours. Many budget dehydrators only have on and off buttons, so you are stuck with a 6 to 10 hours estimate.
Check every hour and ensure the carrots are fully dried, which are rubbery and dry to touch. These carrots will turn into dried slices, shrunken, and will curl up.
Drying Carrots in the Sun
Sun drying food is an old process of food preservation, and if you have a good amount of sun rays in your home, you can easily do this process.
This method was mostly used as an alternative option to canning or freezing centuries ago.
Even now, many people use this method if they want to process too many vegetables and fruits together.
Sun drying is a little bit time-consuming method and also needs to have dry and hot weather. For this, southwestern states are preferable for this method.
To process carrots in sun drying,
- Put carrots in a single layer and put them in a warm, dry place that has direct sunlight. Place them in a clean and dry area without any dust and insects. You can also keep them around the netting racks to protect the carrots.
- Bring the carrots each night to keep them from rehydrating with the morning dew. If you see there is no sign of proper drying, you can use a small fan to promote air circulation.
- Be aware that it will take at least a few days or a week to dry out properly.
How to Store Dehydrated Carrots?
Let the dehydrated carrots cool down at room temperature completely before storing. Store the dehydrated carrots in an airtight container in a cool and dark place.
If you want to have a longer shelf life, vacuum seals them. Label the container with names, dates, and any other important details.
Blanched and processed carrots will last at least 1 year. However, unblanched ones will last only 2-3 months.
After that, it will still be good to eat them, but their quality will start to go down, and the taste will not be good.
How to Use Dehydrated Carrots?
Most recipes that require carrots can use dehydrated carrots. You will simply need to rehydrate them before using them for better results.
You can use the carrots in pasta sauces, stew, casserole, stuffings, rolls, soup, and more.
If you want to use dried carrots in recipes like carrot cake, muffins, bread, pasta sauce, etc., you may need to shred them before dehydrating.
However, if you didn’t process them and already sliced dried carrots, then run them into a food processor before rehydrating and using them.
If you use dried carrots in soups and stew or any slow cooking process involving liquid, you do not need to process dehydrated carrots. Simply put them directly into the pot without rehydrating them.
To rehydrate carrots in your recipe, you’ll need to boil them in water. A cup of dried carrots will turn into two cups of rehydrated carrots.
Drain any excess water from the carrots and use as you would do if they were fresh.
More fresh produce tips:
- How to Freeze Garlic
- How To Dry Basil
- Tips for Cutting Pineapple
- How To Cut Broccoli
- How to Freeze Green Beans
- Tips for Freezing Sweet Potato
- How to Eat a Mango
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