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The thing about fresh produce is that it grows when it grows and then it grows no more. What that means is that when you get an abundance of apples or tomatoes or carrots, you need to figure out what to do with your stash, or it will spoil. Carrots last a pretty long time, but even so, they get soft and bendy after awhile.
I made a delicious creamy chicken and rice soup this weekend. It was my first time cooking with the carrots I had dehydrated this summer. We belong to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and get boxes of freshly picked vegetables each week. When the farm has an abundance, so do we. And this summer, we got piles of carrots!
I cut them into sticks to serve with meals, made Carrot Cake Bread, and used them in a variety of other recipes. But still I had more carrots.
I’ve had my dehydrator for several years. I don’t use it a ton, but it’s so nice to have for when I need it. I’ve made beef jerky, “sun” dried tomatoes, and dried fruit. But I had never tried dehydrating carrots.
The first thing I did was to peel the carrots and cut them into large chunks. I didn’t want to grate/chop them all by hand, so I used my food processor. The pieces weren’t completely uniform, but they were pretty close.
I spread the pieces out on the liner sheets (they prevent the pieces from falling through the grate).
I’ll note here that I processed my carrots raw. Some instructions I saw said to blanch the carrots first, but I followed this tutorial. It compares blanched vs. unblanched, and the unblanched won.
I stacked up my trays and set the dehydrator to 125-130 degrees. They went for a total of about 6 hours, and I rotated the trays twice during that time. Larger pieces may take a little longer.
You can see that they shrink quite a lot. After they cooled, I put them into a Mason jar for storage. It’s been in a corner of my pantry until I took it out to make soup.
For the soup, I used 1 1/2 Tablespoons of the carrots. They re-hydrated in the broth and tasted as good as fresh. The size was perfect, too, for my husband who does not like large chunks of carrots in things.
I am thrilled to have these on hand for the rest of the winter! I’m thinking soups, stews, pot pies…
What would you make with a stash of these dehydrated carrots?