What do you do when you run across a good grocery deal? "Grab it if you can!" has always been my motto! Last week I ran across one of those awesome deals on carrots. This was one of those in-store deals that I just love. With 5 of their store tokens- one of the weekly deals was a 2lb bag of carrots for $0.50. I had enough tokens for 6 bags. These are the kind of deals I wait for! I really only needed one bag for "now" but at that price how could I pass them up?? So what to do with 10 "extra" pounds of carrots? It was time to pull out the dehydrator and put some up!
Drying carrots is easy. First you'll need to cut them up into whatever "shape" you want. This time I sliced them with the food processor. The slices are a little thin but they are uniform in size. Size matters when you are drying foods! The more uniform in size they are the more evenly they will dry.
Carrots need to be blanched or steamed for a few minutes. This retains the color and the nutritional value. Have you ever wondered what would happen if you somehow forgot to do this step? Well wonder no more because I just so happen to have a picture. (Don't ask!!)
Lets just say I had a few moments of blondness when I was doing that batch on the left last year. Hey it makes for a good "Do as I say, not as I do" moment doesn't it? My dad would be SO proud!! LOL
Anyway.... I decided to steam the carrots since I had 10 pounds to process. It just takes less time to steam them than to toss them off in the pot a few at a time to blanch. I don't have to wait for the water to come back to a boil for each new batch this way. I let them steam for 4-5 minutes and plunged them in cold cold water to stop the cooking process.
After I got them all cut and steamed I laid them out on my dryer trays. You want to place a single layer on each tray. It doesn't matter as much if they are touching on the trays, you just don't want them more than one layer thick. Set the dehydrator to 135 and dry til crisp. Store in a cool dark place. I put most of my dried foods in jars but a ziplock baggie works too.
Since I used my food processor to cut up the carrot slices I ended up with the top part of the carrots left over. I also cut some of the bottoms of the carrots because they were so skinny. These I will blanch and then flash freeze. I'll use them in roasts, stews or soups.
Isn't it amazing that you can put up 10 pounds of carrots in a couple of jars?? Oh, just a side note about the first picture... notice that blue lid on the pint jar? That is a Kraft mayonnaise jar lid. They fit tight and work well on wide mouth jars.