Can you freeze carrots? Yes you can! But you can’t just pop them in the freezer – there’s a bit of prep involved. The steps are easy, but it does take time.
Frozen carrots are a nutritious and delicious option and can be such a time saver. I use them in endless dishes including soups, stews, curries, casseroles, stir-fries, sheet pan dinners and even for a simple side dish of carrots. Freeze using different shaped cuts (round slices, diagonal slices, diced cubes, julienne strips or thicker lengthwise strips) depending on your favourite cooking process.
Does Freezing Carrots Cause Nutrient Loss?
A little, yes. Anytime you boil vegetables or put them in water, there will be some loss of water soluble vitamins. In carrots, you’ll see some loss of Vitamin B and Vitamin C. On the other hand, fat-soluble Vitamin A becomes a little more concentrated. Does this mean you shouldn’t cook or freeze carrots – no! It’s a good argument for eating carrots in different forms – raw, cooked and even baked like in carrot cake! If you have a well balanced diet, this minimal loss of nutrients is nothing to worry about.
Can You Freeze Raw Carrots?
Simply put, no! The most important rule about freezing carrots is that they must be blanched (partially cooked) before freezing. Use the blanching process!
Print my helpful blanching chart: Tips and Times for Blanching Vegetables
I don’t care what you read elsewhere on the internet! Anyone can take raw carrots and put them in a freezer bag – it doesn’t make it right. You can’t freeze raw carrots if you want them to taste good and not have a weird texture if you keep them for more than a month.
As a Professional Home Economist who studied food science and who consults the latest info on food preservation, I beg you, please don’t do it! Here’s why. Carrots, like most vegetables, contain enzymes that cause them to continue to age after they’re harvested, even in our fridge. The aging process does not stop in cold temperatures – even freezing temperatures. To stop the enzymes and preserve flavor, color, texture and nutrient loss, you need to blanch veggies, including root vegetables like carrots, before freezing. Luckily, blanching is super easy to do.
What’s the Difference Between Blanching and Cooking?
Blanching is briefly putting vegetables in boiling water and then quickly immersing them in ice cold water to immediately stop further cooking. Usually, the hot immersion is less than 5 minutes, but varies depending on the size and type of vegetable. The exact times have been scientifically tested to ensure they stop the enzymes in a particular vegetable while not over-cooking it. See: Tips and Times for Blanching Vegetables
Cooking is when you prepare your vegetables to a tender, enjoyable texture and finish them with seasonings to suit your personal taste preferences.
Can You Freeze Fully Cooked Carrots?
Yes, you can. It’s a great way to reduce food waste and enjoy leftovers. BUT because they’re fully cooked, the texture of frozen fully cooked carrots will be much softer than blanched carrots. I also recommend using them much more quickly than blanched carrots. Keep frozen cooked carrots for 3 -5 months only.
How to Freeze Carrots – Step by Step
Step 1 – Trim and Wash
Remove green stems and wash carrots thoroughly. When I have homegrown garden carrots and there’s a lot of dirt stuck to them I do an initial wash outside and then wash them again inside to get all the grit and soil off.
You do not have to peel your carrots. In fact, you’ll keep more nutrients if you don’t peel them.
Step 2 Cut or Slice to Desired Size
Cut carrots to your preferred size. In fact, if you have whole baby cut carrots, you can freeze them whole, I just wouldn’t recommend freezing large whole carrots. I usually make carrot slices, but for added variety I will also slice a few lengthwise. No matter how you slice them, keep them a consistent size so the blanching time is the same.
Use a food processor or mandolin for quick, consistent results. Of course a sharp knife works too!
Step 3 – Blanch in Big Pot
- Bring a large pot of water to a hard boil. I use a large stock pot about 2/3 full of water. Do not add salt.
- Add prepared carrots (about 4 cups of carrots to 16 cups of water). Return to boil.
- Once the water and carrots return to a boil, watch the timer carefully and boil (blanch) carrots for 2 minutes. Blanch for 5 minute for whole baby carrots.
- When the time is up, use a slotted spoon to immediately remove carrots from boiling water.
Step 4 – Cool in Ice Bath
Put in ice cold water immediately to stop the carrots from continuing to cook. Ice cubes in the water ensures the water stays nice and cold. I’ve been known to use snow instead of a bowl of iced water!
Step 5 – Drain Well, Cool and Pack
Drain carrots well. Excess moisture can lead to freezer burn and rubbery carrots. The ice water bath should have cooled the carrots completely – but be sure the carrots are thoroughly cooled to prevent condensation from building up in the bag.
For free flowing frozen carrots, flash freeze the carrots in a single layer on a lined baking sheet for two hours before transferring to a freezer bag. Or, freeze carrots in convenient package sizes so you can take out a package at a time when preparing for a meal. For my family of four, I like to freeze my carrots in 3-4 cup portion sizes.
Whichever method you choose, remove as much air from the freezer bags as possible before sealing. Use a straw tucked in the corner of the bag and suck out the air – it’s like a vacuum seal! Of course, if you have a vacuum sealer – use that!
Step 6 – Date, Label and Freeze for a Year
Label and date the carrots. They’ll keep in the freezer for up to a year.
Yahoo! Carrots in the freezer. Now, tell me, what’s your favourite way to use your frozen carrots?
May I tempt you with these Oven Roasted Hot Pepper Jelly Glazed Carrots?
Let me know how your carrot freezing goes down below in the comments or on Instagram @GetGettyS or on Facebook @GettyStewart.HomeEconomist.
Getty Stewart is a Professional Home Economist, speaker, frequent media guest and writer dedicated to you become more confident in using and enjoying fresh, whole ingredients. She is the author of several recipe books, frequent media guest, Founder of Fruit Share, mom and veggie gardener. Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this.