Harvest after fall frost for the sweetest carrots. Kept in a cold room, they are fresh until at least the beginning of the new year. Since the farm has such a high meadow vole population, it's not an option to leave root crops in the ground mulched for winter harvesting. If we want to eat our-own-carrots until spring and into the next summer, they must be processed and frozen or dehydrated. We think dried produces the best quality.
Here's a short how to Do-It-Yourself!
plain ol' ordinary garden carrots, just washed
peeled, take off the ends, rinse
for uniform thickness, cutting with a slicer of some sort.
With the meat slicer, use rubber gloves for a firm hold of the slippery carrots.
ready for steam blanching, 4 minutes per batch.
The small bowl contains the ends - they are blanched last then frozen
cold warm cool for at least as long as blanching
drain and set on dryer sheets - about 8 lbs per batch
and after 9-12 hours . . . With some dryers the sheets need to rotated or turned.
We often dry overnight.
And look - carrots for many meals! This jar contains about 15 lbs of wet carrots. Rehydration is pretty easy - for soups or stews, extra liquid can be added and the carrots simmered in the broth until soft. To serve as a side, put half the desired amount of dried carrots in a saucepan, add water, bring to a boil, turn off, keep covered, let absorb water for at least an hour. Add more water when ready to cook and simmer to soft, about 20 minutes. Enjoy!