Carrots are a popular root vegetable that is available all year round. They usually come in 2-10 lb bags at the grocery stores. Most people will end up cooking more than they can eat. This will leave you with leftovers and what if you want to store cooked carrots for later?
Can you freeze cooked carrots? Yes, cooked carrots can be frozen for up to 9 months. The root vegetable will retain their flavor and nutritional value, but the texture and firmness will be lost. Before freezing cooked carrots, it’s recommended to blanch them first. Blanching will help preserve the taste and texture while preventing the carrots from getting damaged due to freezer burn.
There are many methods for freezing carrots and the results will vary. In this article, we’ll go in-depth for each freezing method to see which one best suits your needs.
Do Cooked Carrots Freeze Well?
There are times when freezing cooked carrots is a great way to preserve the vegetables for a longer period of time.
Carrots have a high water content, which means they will freeze very well. However, the texture of it will change when it’s frozen.
Carrots tend to absorb the additional moisture when it’s cooked. As it starts to freeze, the water inside the carrot will turn into small ice crystals. This will damage the proteins of the carrot, which breaks down the structure.
As the carrots begin to thaw, the ice crystals melt which will cause the vegetable to become soft rather than that crunchy texture that it’s known for.
The good thing is that the carrots will not lose their sweet flavor and nutrition.
To ensure the carrots will last as long as possible and also retain their flavor and texture, you’ll want to blanch them first. Blanching is a simple technique that requires the vegetable to be cooked partially and then submerged in cold water to stop it from getting cooked further.
Blanching is not only for carrots but for all other vegetables as well that are going to be stored in the freezer. The reason for that is all vegetables, including carrots have enzymes that control the freshness of it. Over time, the carrots will eventually start to lose their flavor, texture, and color.
By blanching the vegetables first, it stops the enzyme from working. This will result in a carrot that will still be at its best quality while stored in the freezer.
How to Blanch Carrots
When it comes to blanching carrots, it’s easy and takes less than 10 minutes. Below are the steps to blanch the carrots:
- Give the carrots a good wash to remove dirt and other debris.
- Cut or dice the carrots to your preferred size.
- In a large pot, heat the water until it boils.
- Drop the carrots into the boiling water for 2 minutes.
- Drain the carrots from the pot and place them into a bowl of ice water. The cold water will stop the cooking process.
- Leave the carrots in the ice water for about 2-3 minutes.
- Scoop the carrots and place them into a colander and let them drain for about 5 minutes.
- Using a dry paper towel, pat the carrots to remove excess water from them.
How to Freeze Cooked Carrots
If you want to store cooked carrots for later use, freezing is an excellent option. For leftover cooked carrots, freezing is a great option too if you don’t want it to go to waste. Freezing carrots is quite simple and don’t require much time.
In order to keep them from sticking to each other, prepare them by flash freezing them first. This will ensure when the carrots are frozen, it will not stick to each other. Also, it will make it easier for you to take the number of carrots you need without having to defrost the entire package.
To freeze cooked carrots, follow the simple steps below:
- Make sure the carrots are completely cooled first.
- On a tray, lay a sheet of baking or wax paper on it.
- Spread the carrots over the tray, spacing them out evenly. If you have more carrots, you can use a second tray.
- Place the tray of carrots into the freezer. Flash freeze them for about 5 hours.
- Once it’s completely frozen, remove the carrots from the freezer.
- Immediately transfer the frozen carrot pieces to an airtight container or freezer bag.
- If using a freezer bag, press on the bag to remove as much air from the bag as possible before sealing it.
- Label the bag or container with the freezing date and place the carrots back into the freezer.
How Long Can You Freeze Cooked Carrots?
By freezing the cooked carrots in proper storage, they will last for up to 9 months. This means either in an airtight container or freezer bag that protects it from air leaking in.
The texture of the cooked carrots will soften a bit, but it will still taste great and get the full nutrition like when it was fresh.
If you’ve vacuum-sealed the carrots, it will last much longer than 9 months.
How To Defrost Cooked Carrots
If you’ve diced or cut the carrots into small pieces, you won’t need to defrost them. You can simply take them out from the freezer and directly add them to your meal while it’s being cooked.
On the other hand, if you don’t need them right away, you can defrost them by placing them in the fridge for a couple of hours. Since the carrots are already cooked, make sure to use them within a couple of hours after it thaws. Storing them too long in the fridge will cause them to become even softer. Unless you’re using the cooked carrots for stews and soups, it should be fine.
Can You Refreeze Cooked Carrots?
It’s not recommended to refreezing cooked carrots. By doing so, the texture will further be damaged. While the cooked carrots will freeze just fine, the problem is when it’s thawed.
As it thaws the second time, the carrots will become mushy and soft. This will not be very appealing for most people, and it will likely end up in the trash.
Can you freeze carrot soup?
Yes, you can freeze carrot soup. A simple carrot soup that’s made with just carrots or other vegetables, but no milk added will freeze very well. You can store the soup in an airtight container or freezer bag.
To freeze carrot soup, make sure it’s cooled down first. Then place it into the airtight container or freezer bag. Make sure to leave about an inch of space at the opening. This will prevent the container and freezer bag from breaking when the soup expands.
Once you’ve sealed the bag or container, label it with the freezing date and place it into the freezer.