Dried carrots are perfect for soups, stews, and a variety of different backpacking meals.
Even though carrots are available in the supermarket year-round and can last for quite a long time in the fridge, there are still a lot of reasons to consider drying them.
Dried carrots that have been properly sealed are shelf-stable for upwards of a year and much lighter weight than fresh carrots. They retain their bright orange color, sweet taste, and many of their nutrients through the dehydration process. And they only need to be soaked in hot water for 15 minutes to rehydrate.
If you have some dried carrots on hand, they are easy to add to homemade soups, stews, braises, or any other dish that will be cooked in a liquid for a little bit. dried carrots are also a nice way to work some vegetables into your homemade backpacking meals.
Prepping And Pre-Treating Carrots For drying
Before you start prepping your carrots, make sure your counters, equipment, and hands are clean & sanitized to prevent contamination, which can spoil your batch down the line.
Using a sharp knife, remove the tops of your carrots. The brown cap towards the top of a carrot can be very bitter, so be sure to trim it off.
Peel the carrot’s skin. This too can develop a slightly bitter taste after being dried.
Wash carrots to remove any sandy residue that might remain.
For slices: Cut the bottom of the carrot into 1/8 inch rounds. As you work your way up the carrot the pieces will get larger. Once the pieces are the size of a nickel, cut the carrot lengthwise and continue by cutting 1/8 half-moons.
For shreds: Use the large holes on a box grater to shred the carrot.
Pretreating carrots is optional. If desired, boil the carrots in water for 2 minutes, then remove and immediately run under cold water.
Your carrots are now ready to be dried!
How To dry Carrots
Arrange the carrots on your dehydrator trays using a mesh liner or parchment paper. Carrots shrink a lot when dried and will fall through dehydrator trays with larger holes.
Spread the carrots into an even layer. You don’t want them to be touching or overlapping.
dry at 125oF (52oC) for 8-12 hours until the carrots are dry and hard—they should not be soft or squishy and they should snap, not bend.
Depending on your machine, you may need to rotate the trays every so often to promote even drying.
How To Tell When Carrots Are Done
Carrots should be hard and/or brittle when they are completely dried. To test, let them cool, then try to squeeze a piece between your fingers. It should be hard when squeezed. Slices should break, not bend.
If it is soft, spongy, bendy, or you see any moisture squeezing out, then the carrots need to be dried for longer.
How To Store dried Carrots
When properly dried and stored, dried carrots can last upwards of a year. Here are our tips for storage:
Let the carrots cool completely before transferring them.
Store in a clean, airtight container. For longer shelf life, vacuum seal.
Use a moisture absorbing desiccant packet if you anticipate opening the container often, or if you live in an area with high humidity.
Label the container with the date and any other important details
Place the container in a cool, dark, and dry place—inside of a pantry cabinet works well.