We try to can as much as possible during the harvest, but some things get dehydrated instead. Although we do can some carrots, mostly we keep them in the root cellar, and a great many of them get dehydrated.
Dehydrated carrots then get canned as they are for use in soups, or they become part of the meal-in-a-jar stash and canned that way.
Dehydrating carrots is a bit different than other vegetables that I just chop and put in the dehydrator. To keep that vivid color and more of the nutritional value, there’s another step (or two) to throw into the mix.
Start with fresh and healthy carrots. Wash them thoroughly. If you want to dehydrate them with the skins on, wash them again (and then again). Dehydrating carrots with their skins on will work just fine, but some people don’t care for them that way.
If you’re a picky eater, peel them. I never used to peel them, but the last couple years I have noticed with my orange ones that the peels become stringy when left on. It depends on the carrot. But since I gathered my seeds last year and grew them this year, I know that these will need peeled too.
You can now use a mandolin to slice them all perfectly even, or just cut them with a sharp knife all to about 1/4 inch thickness (which is what I do).
Now that your carrots are ready, get a pot of water boiling and a sink of ice water ready. Blanch your carrots for 2 minutes using boiling water or 3 minutes if you steam blanch them. After blanching, immediately dunk them in the ice water to stop the cooking process.
Blanching your carrots will cause you to immediately loose a few nutrients–yeah, bummer. But putting them into the ice water will stop the enzymatic action that breaks down colors and other nutrients. By blanching your carrots you are saving nutrients that would be lost in the long run and keeping their color vibrant.
Once it’s cooled, use your water to water your house plants or your outdoor garden if you’ve still got one going. Never waste a good thing.
Drain your carrots and line them up on your dehydrator sheets. Space them evenly apart making sure they don’t touch.
Turn your dehydrator to the vegetable setting (135 degrees on my machine). The smaller slices will be done in 6 hours and the larger ones up to 10 hours. Your carrots are done when they are crispy and aren’t spongy when you pinch them between your fingers.
Carrots dehydrated this way have always lasted me a year, until the next batch of carrots is ripe for harvest.