Dehydrating carrots can be a cost and space effective way to store carrots that you will use as an ingredient in something.
For carrots you will want to serve on their own on the side of a plate, you may wish to freeze them, or pressure can them, though some people say they also like dehydrated carrots in this role.
You can dry the carrots in slices, or shredded. You can also grind dried carrot into carrot powder that can essentially be used as you would a spice.
Though some sources list peeling and blanching the carrot before drying as optional, most sources seem to feel that doing both results in a better looking, tasting, and lasting product. The peel can be dehydrated separately to make carrot peel powder.
Yields and Equivalents
20 lbs (9.1 kg) of peeled carrot will dry down to 3 to 3 ½ lbs (1.3 to 1.5 kg) Ball Blue Book, 2014, page 163.
10 lbs (4.5 kg), washed, peeled, topped and tailed medium to large carrots = 34 cups (3.85 kg) of ⅛th inch (3 mm) slices = 24 cups (3.5 kg) lightly blanched and drained = 6 cups / 250 g dehydrated slices = 1 ¼ cups / 250 g carrot powder.
To dehydrate 10 lbs / 4.5 kg in a horizontal Excalibur, you’ll need 10 to 12 Excalibur trays, depending on various factors including how careful you are at placing carrot slices on trays, etc.
1 cup (40 to 50 g) dried carrot slices = 2 cups rehydrated slices
Here we compare directions from three different sources.
Ball Blue Book
Preparation: “Wash, remove stem ends, and peel. Slice crosswise or dice.”
Blanching: Steam blanch 3 to 4 minutes
Temperature: 125 F / 52 C
Time: Until almost brittle.
Notes: “Choose any deep orange, mature variety.”
Water content: 88%. (Used if doing a Dehydration Weight Test.)
Reference: Ball Blue Book, 37th edition, 2014. Page 166.
Note: The Ball All New (2016, page 338) says, “Choose young, tender, medium-length carrots. Peel, shred or cut into ¼ inch (5 mm) slices. Steam blanch shreds 3 to 4 minutes, slices 4 to 6 minutes. Dry until brittle and tough.”
Preparation: Wash the carrots, trim tops, and peel or scrape if skins are dirty. Cut into ⅛″ (2 to 3 mm) cubes or circles. If desired, pretreat by blanching.
Blanching: “Steam blanch 3 to 4 minutes over water; you may use 1 teaspoon sodium bisulfite per cup water. You may also dip steamed carrots in a cornstarch solution, 1 tablespoon cornstarch per cup water, and drain before placing on trays; however, this is not necessary.”
Temperature: 125 F / 52 C
Time: “Until leathery.” Time estimate is 6 to 10 hours, depending on humidity in your area.
Notes: “Choose a variety such as Danvers Half-long, Imperator, Tendersweet, or Royal Chatenay that has tapered, deep orange roots. Carrots for drying may be more mature than those intended to be served fresh.”
Quality rating: Good
Reference: Excalibur. Preserve it naturally. 4th edition, 2012. Page 26.
So Easy To Preserve
Preparation: “Use only crisp, tender carrots. Wash thoroughly. Cut off roots and tops, preferably peel, cut in slices or strips ⅛th inch (2 to 3 mm) thick.”
Blanching: Blanch for 3 ½ minutes by steam blanching or water blanching.
Temperature: 140 F / 60 C
Time: 10 to 12 hours
Quality rating: Good
Reference: So Easy To Preserve. 6th Edition. 2014. Page 349.
Blanching carrots results in much better colour of finished product, plus it rehydrates faster and improves food safety. Retains quality better for longer in storage.
To reduce drying time and for more even results and better quality, when feasible, rotate trays 90 degrees every hour or so, or, rotate them 180 degrees halfway through drying,
A mandolin can be ideal for evenly cut slices. Or, someone who is proficient with a chef’s knife can do just as good a job, just as quickly. A food processor could work, though some people feel that the slices are too thin.
If you are planning to make carrot powder, then do slices as thin as you can so they will crisp up better when dried, rather than be leathery.
It’s okay if they touch a bit on the trays, as the pieces will shrink away from each other as they dry, but don’t heap them on in layers.
Some people don’t bother peeling, but others feel that peeling results in a higher quality rehydrated product. Some people feel that the peel takes on a bitter edge once dried.
If you prepped and blanched more than you have the trays for at one time, store them in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days, and dry as dehydrator tray space becomes available.
Don’t overdry or they will scorch. When they reach this stage, they will have an odd chewiness to them no matter how much you boil them. It also causes the taste to fade greatly.
Let the dehydrated product cool completely to room temperature before packing it into storage containers.
Watch the sealed containers for the first few days for any sign of condensation. If condensation occurs, dehydrate a bit more.
Label jar with name of product and date. Store away from heat and direct light.
To rehydrate, to each 1 cup (40 to 50 g) dried carrot pieces add 2 ¼ cups (525 ml / 26 oz) boiling water. Let stand for a minimum of one hour. SETP, 2014, page 363 . Yield: 2 cups rehydrated slices.
When using in recipes such as soups or stews that have a lot of liquid in them and are long cooking, many people say they just toss the dried carrots directly in. However, for drier recipes, you’ll certainly always want to rehydrate first for sure. Remember that the water you use to rehydrate them can be used towards any water that the recipe you are making calls for.
Shred some raw carrot before drying if you want to use some carrot for carrot cake or steamed carrot puddings. When you go to use the dried shredded carrot, remember that it will double in volume once rehydrated, so if your recipe calls for 2 cups of shredded carrot, then rehydrate 1 cup of dried shredded carrot.
Rehydrated carrots can be used in casseroles, pasta sauces, soups, stews, composed or bound salads, in gelatins, in stuffings, in dry DIY soup mixes, etc — or any recipe where cooked carrot is an ingredient.
You can whiz dried slices in food processor for finer pieces if desired before rehydrating.