Canned carrots have their place in food storage, but dehydrated carrots are so easy and take up so little space that they are one of my favorite pantry staples. You can dehydrate both homegrown carrots and store bought carrots. Some people leave the peels on and others like the peels off. I’m a peels off gal and our hogs are very happy to get the scraps, so I peel with no regrets. The process is so easy, and the end product so compact, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do this before. Carrots are rich in Vitamins A & C and also offer a generous amount of potassium and iron. For dehydrating, any type of carrot will do and they can be more mature than carrots that you would want to slice and serve raw. Once dehydrated, add into soups or stews just as they are and they will rehydrate in the broth. Some methods call for blanching the carrots prior to dehydrating, but others do them raw, like I describe below.
Wash your carrots, peel if desired and trim off the top and the tip.
(By the way, all these carrots on the counter are exactly the same amount that are in the jar. Crazy, right!?)
Using a mandolin slicer or knife, slice into 1/8 inch rounds. Arrange in a single layer on dehydrating trays.
We have a couple of dehydrators, a NESCO and an Excalibur . Excaliburs are really expensive but we surfed around Craigslist until we found a used one and only spent about $75. I like both the Nesco and the Excalibur for different reasons. The Nesco is really easy to clean, but the Excalibur does such a better job drying foods uniformly and you don’t have to rotate trays mid way through.
Set the dehydrator temperature for 125 degrees Fahrenheit and dry until leathery.
A general rule of thumb, based on ambient humidity, is:
6 hours if the humidity where you are is 10-30%
7 hours if 31-50%
8 hours if 51-70%
9 hours if 71-80%
10 hours if 81-100%
Once dry, store in lidded jars in a cool, dry place.
Did I mention that a 5 pound bag of carrots dehydrates to take up only the shelf space of a quart size mason jar? I think I did… Now that’s a space saver! 🙂