How To Freeze Baby Carrots The Right Way
Baby carrots are a convenient snack and delicious addition to a number of recipes, but when stored too long in the fridge, they inevitably turn bad. Too often baby carrots get slimy before we have a chance to use them. However, there is a solution to this common problem.
So can you freeze baby carrots? Yes, baby carrots can be frozen. There are three methods of freezing baby carrots: blanched, unblanched, and cooked, all of which are viable options, though they result in varied outcomes.
Read on to find out every way to freeze baby carrots. We will also talk a little bit about what exactly baby carrots are and how you can use them, along with answering a number of common questions that arise about preserving baby carrots and other vegetables.
What Are Baby Carrots?
Baby carrots actually have quite a deceiving name. Though one might assume that they are just small, not fully mature carrots, but they are actually “baby cuts” of normal carrots, made from longer carrots that have been peeled and cut into the baby carrot size and shape that so many of us know and love.
The types of carrots from which baby carrots are cut are bred to be especially sweet and crunchy, something that people value in baby carrots.
They are sculpted into their small and convenient size from larger carrots, then packaged and shipped off to grocery stores.
In fact, baby carrots make up for almost 70% of all carrot sales in the United States.
Baby Carrots Nutrition Facts
Baby carrots are so popular in part thanks to their rich nutritional value and low-calorie count.
Just 3 ounces of baby carrots contain just 35 calories, and they have no fat, no cholesterol, only 8 grams of carbohydrates, and 1 gram of protein.
They also provide 10% of your daily recommended value of Vitamin C and 120% of your daily recommended value of Vitamin A.
Baby Carrots Health Benefits
As you can see, baby carrots are extremely healthy food. This is especially due to the fact that they are rich in beta carotene, which gives them their orange color.
Beta carotene is the compound that the body converts into Vitamin A, which helps to help protect the immune system, promote good eyesight, and give us healthy skin.
What To Do With Baby Carrots
As we mentioned, baby carrots are a snacking favorite thanks to their small and convenient size.
They go great with dips, such as hummus or guacamole, and also make a delicious side dish when roasted, glazed, buttered, or caramelized.
They can also be incorporated into a wide variety of recipes. Their small size makes them very convenient for adding to beef stew, and their sweetness makes them great for shredding into carrot cake or carrot oatmeal cookies.
Get creative with baby carrots, slicing thin and baking into carrot fries, or blending into a creamy carrot ginger soup.
Freezing Baby Carrots – 3 Methods
When left in the fridge too long, baby carrots can get slimy and moldy. To avoid this, freeze your baby carrots if you don’t think that you’ll be using them all up in time.
When it comes to freezing baby carrots, you have three options: blanched, unblanched, and cooked.
Freeze Blanched Baby Carrots
The most popular method when freezing vegetables, blanching helps to prevent the loss of flavor, texture, and color that raw vegetables can incur when frozen.
Blanching is the best way to freeze baby carrots, so we recommend taking the extra few minutes to do so if you can.
To blanch baby carrots:
- Place up to 1 pound of carrots in a large pot of boiling water and, once the water comes back to a boil, cook for 3-5 minutes.
- Remove the carrots from the hot water immediately and plunge into a large bowl of ice water for another 3-5 minutes.
- Remove the carrots from the ice water, drain, and dry thoroughly.
Baby carrots that have been blanched should be stored in airtight, freezer-safe plastic bags or containers, always leaving a few inches of extra space to account for potential expansion.
Baby carrots that have been blanched should last 12-18 months in the freezer. This is just a guideline, and they could potentially last even longer depending on how well you prepared them and what you plan on doing with them.
Freeze Unblanched Baby Carrots
If you’re in a rush and don’t have time to blanch your baby carrots before freezing, you can actually freeze them raw, though they may lose some of their texture and flavor depending on how long you leave them in the freezer.
To freeze baby carrots without blanching:
- Spread them out on a baking sheet and place it in the freezer for 24 hours (this ensures that they freeze evenly and don’t clump together).
- Once they are entirely frozen, transfer the baby carrots to freezer-safe plastic bags or containers.
Raw baby carrots should last between 2-3 weeks in the fridge.
However, if they are exposed to too much moisture, they can run the risk of becoming slimy or growing mold. You should store your baby carrots in resealable plastic bags or plastic wrap to extend their shelf life.
Freeze Cooked Baby Carrots
If you have already cooked your baby carrots, you should eat them within 3-5 days. Perhaps you have cooked your carrots, either by themself or in a dish, and you won’t be able to eat them all.
Fortunately, you can also freeze baby carrots that have already been cooked.
If, for example, you’ve sauteed, roasted, or boiled your carrots but want to freeze the leftovers, wait until they cool down, then transfer to an airtight, freezer-safe container, leaving a few inches of space.
Alternatively, you can:
- Drain the carrots of whatever liquid they may have been cooked in and spread out on a baking sheet, freeze for 24 hours, then transfer them to a proper container.
- This can help prevent the carrots from getting too mushy when you reheat them.
Let your baby carrots come to room temperature before transferring to the freezer, as this will eliminate the amount of moisture that they are exposed to, and always store in an airtight container.
Cooked baby carrots should be eaten within 10-12 months of freezing. Again, if you eat them after this point they won’t be dangerous to consume, but they may have lost some of their texture and flavor quality.
How to Cook Frozen Carrots
After baby carrots are frozen and thawed, they will lose some of their original crunchiness, so they are best consumed when cooked or incorporated into hot dishes.
To thaw baby carrots, you have a few options.
- First off, you can transfer them to the refrigerator the night before you plan on using them. With this method you must be sure to use the thawed carrots within a few days.
- Alternatively, you can defrost frozen baby carrots by heating them on the stove. This method is most appropriate if you plan on boiling or sauteing your baby carrots. Start by reheating on low heat, then gradually increase the temperature until the carrots are fully thawed.
- Finally, if you plan on incorporating your frozen baby carrots into something like a soup or a stew, you can add them directly with the rest of the ingredients. Just keep in mind that when adding a frozen ingredient like frozen baby carrots, your cooking time will need to be increased.
Why should you blanch vegetables before freezing them?
As we briefly mentioned, blanching vegetables before freezing helps to preserve color, texture, and flavor. It does so by stopping the enzyme action that would lead to the vegetable spoiling.
Blanching also cleans the surface of the vegetable, removing any dirt or unwanted particles, and helps to prevent the loss of vitamins that vegetables can incur when frozen.
Which vegetables are the best for freezing?
Almost all vegetables can be frozen, but some vegetables are better frozen than others. Asparagus, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts are all vegetables that retain their color and flavor quite well when blanched and frozen.
Freezing onions also preserve their nutrients and flavor, and onions don’t even need to be blanched before freezing. Simply dice them up and portion into bags or freezer-safe containers.
However, you should note that freezing onions will cause them to lose their crunchy texture and, like most frozen vegetables, should be cooked once thawed.
Finally, leafy greens like spinach and kale can be also frozen without blanching. However, if they aren’t blanched, they are best if used within a few months of freezing. Frozen spinach and kale are great additions to smoothies, soups, or warm dips, such as spinach artichoke dip.