Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Another addition to your food storage that you might want to consider is dried carrots. You can buy carrots already dehydrated or if you have carrots in your garden, you can dry your own. I occasionally buy them in bulk at Costco, Sam's or Winco and dry a huge amount at once.
Here is some information on different methods of drying carrots:
Sliced carrots can be used as a snack if you want to slice them about 1/8” thick, otherwise you can slice them a little thicker for just regular use. If you have a mandolin slicer or a food processor with a slicer attachment this isn’t hard to do. They need to be steam blanched for about 2 minutes and dehydrated at about 135º for 6-12 hours depending on your dryer and the thickness and size of the slices, until leathery. Make sure all the slices are uniform in size so they all dry at the same rate.
Diced Carrots can be a little more labor intensive than some other things you my dry but it is so nice to have carrots ready to throw into a soup or stew. And they store well this way. I bought dehydrated diced carrots when I was first starting my food storage preparation and didn’t care for them as a side dish but they are a great addition to cooked items. If you are using baby carrots to dry, they will be best for diced carrots as they shrink quite a bit when dried and are hard to pick up for a snack. They also need to be blanched for 2 minutes and dried until hard.
Shredded carrots are also good to dry. This is so easy if you have a salad shooter or shredded attachment for a food processor. This idea is more for a quick use or use in baked goods as well as soups or stews. One idea for shredded carrots is when in a hurry to make dinner grab some shredded carrots, and some dried onion pieces, some fresh or dried celery and add them to cooked ground beef and potatoes in a pot of boiling water and your favorite spices and make soup. This would be an easier way to dry and require less time to dehydrate.
Carrot powder is another idea to use your dried carrots. Blend them to make smaller chunks or finer powder. This isn’t a new idea; you can buy tomato powder and many other powders. The powder is easy to sneak into other items, increasing the nutrition and flavor. Add carrot powder to spaghetti sauce, especially sauce that is a little too watery. The dried carrot powder soaks up the extra water in the sauce, making the sauce thicker and yummier. Finely chopped carrots are an ingredient of bottled marinara sauce. Add a little powder to zucchini or other quick bread recipes or your bread dough, though you may have to explain the orange specks. Use dehydrated fruit or vegetable powder to make baby food by soaking the powder with a small amount of liquid, and gradually adding more until it is the desired consistency.
To rehydrate dried carrots: You must soak and cook your dried carrots before using them in recipes or they will be tough. Add 2 ¼ c. boiling water to 1 c. dried carrots and soak for 1 hour. Then cook in till done. Give yourself extra time when first learning to use dried carrots to make sure they are tender. Hard or tough carrots will spoil the meal
My favorite use for dried carrots is in this carrot cake. It is heavenly! You can also use fresh carrots. If using dried carrots, make sure your carrots are totally rehydrated before adding to the cake batter.
2 c. sugar
1 ½ c. oil
1 small can crushed pineapple, undrained
2 c. grated carrots
2 t. vanilla
3 c. flour
2 t. soda
½ t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1 c. nuts
Beat sugar, oil and eggs well. Add rest of ingredients and bake at 350º till done. Frost cakes with cream cheese icing. Makes a large dripper pan (larger than 9x13) or use 3-8" square pans. Freezes well.