by Texas Homesteader ~
Don’t Waste Food! Produce doesn’t have to be beautiful to be delicious. See how I play fairy godmother to some ugly carrots to make them beautiful again.
Grocery Store Produce Perfection
Have you ever noticed when you go into the store that there are rows & rows of identical produce, all perfectly shaped & sized.
But if you grow a garden or stroll through an actual farmer’s market you’ll realize that perfect produce is just a fairy tale. Real produce has much variation in sizes, shapes and colors.
Some produce isn’t as pretty, so the stores (and even some farmer’s market vendors) don’t like to sell it due to consumer-perceived imperfections. Such a sad waste!
But I’m here to tell you that the fairy tale has a happy ending when I play fairy godmother.
I take those ugly misshapen carrots and make them beautiful. And it’s not hard at all to do.
I like to dehydrate much of my fresh produce excess. So today I’ll be dehydrating some of these soon-to-be-beautiful carrots.
Ugly Produce Beautified
First I pull out those ugly carrots – some are way too large, some have several points grown into one carrot, some are twisted and shaped strangely.
I’ll peel them all then rinse them clean. Then I dice them up.
Although I’ve read that it’s ideal to cut them into roughly 1-centimeter chunks, I’m just haphazardly cutting them into small similarly-sized chunks and not paying too much attention to perfection. Hey, that’s just the way I roll!
I could use a mandolin for this slicing chore. But since RancherMan had a painful mandolin mishap several years ago it was banished from our Homestead kingdom.
No worries, a sharp knife completes this task quickly.
First Blanch Carrots To Be Dehydrated
After the carrots are all diced I blanch them for about 3 minutes. This will prepare them for dehydrating & make them quicker to cook when rehydrated.
A quick way to blanch my carrots is to use my vegetable steamer. This is my very
lazy, I mean efficient way to steam veggies for dehydration.
UPDATE: I know that raw carrots that are simply chopped & dehydrated lose their bright color and flavor in storage. But I’ve found that to be also true with this steaming process. I’m now properly blanching my raw carrots in a pot of boiling water and they store much better. Read my findings in an updated carrot-preservation post.
Dehydrating Your Blanched Produce
Now I’ll layer the cut and blanched carrots on my dehydrator trays. It’s best to spread them all out where they don’t touch – but again, perfection is not the way I roll…
I know as the veggies dehydrate they will shrink & won’t be touching anyway. So I just load up the dehydrator and spread them quickly, then turn the dehydrator on & walk away for awhile.
I usually rotate the trays about once every 2-3 hours. But again, no schedule. (see above proclamation regarding my lack of perfection)
Depending upon how evenly the carrots were sliced they will usually dehydrate in about 10-12 hours.
When my carrots are fully dehydrated I let them air dry for another day just to make sure there’s no moisture remaining.
Then I toss them into a glass jar, label the top & place them in my pantry for future use.
I like to use these bread yeast jars since they’re dark and I read that carrots lose some of their nutrition in light. It’s a perfect way to repurpose these perfect-sized jars!
Dehydrated carrots will obviously last substantially longer than fresh carrots. And keeping them in my pantry takes no additional storage energy like storing fresh carrots in the refrigerator or prepared carrots in the freezer would.
Rehydrating these carrots is as easy as pouring boiling water over them and allowing them to sit for about 15 minutes.
Using Dehydrated Carrots
If I’m adding them to homemade soup I toss the dehydrated carrots into the soup pot as it simmers. They’ll rehydrate right there in the soup!
Or some of these dehydrated carrots are ground in my coffee grinder to make veggie granules. I can sprinkle them directly into my pot whether I’m cooking rice or pasta sauce to add a little more nutrition and a deeper flavor to those dishes.
Whew, this fairy godmother has performed well today so it’s time to take a coffee break.
There are oh so many uses for these now-beautiful carrots!
Other Dehydrating Posts
- Preserving The Harvest: Dehydrating Fresh Carrots
- Dehydrating Tomato Sauce Into Leather For Pizza
- Cubed Tomatoes Dehydrated For Winter Cooking
- Preserving Produce: Dehydrating Celery
- Dehydrating Fresh Pumpkin For Easy Storage
- Dehydrating Spinach To Enjoy All Year Long
- Using A Dehydrator To Preserve Fresh Onions
- Dehydrating & Storing Cabbage
- A Solar Oven Dehydrates Jalapenos
- Dehydrating Shredded Potatoes For Hash Browns
- Cubed Potatoes Dehydrated For Pantry Storage
- Bell Pepper Dehydration
- Using A Solar Oven To Dehydrate Garden Produce
- Using It ALL – Dehydrating & Powdering Tomato Skins
- How To Make Dehydrated Blueberry Powder
- Dehydrating Plums
- My Simple, Zero-Waste Herb Drying Setup
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I’ve never tried using a dehydrator, but it seems like it would be very convenient!
And I bet they taste 100% better than those fake baby carrots!! Thanks for sharing on the What’s for Dinner link up!
Hi Tammy, I haven’t tried dehydrating carrots before but I have some in the fridge right now that need to be used up so I’m going to give it a try. I like the idea of grinding them up and adding them to various dishes. I always add shredded carrots to meatloaf and potato soup. Thanks for the great tips and inspiration! Blessings, Janet
You are sprakin my language. Love this!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for linking up to #homemattersparty
LOL Deborah. I want to remember that ugly carrots are beautiful too! 🙂 And hey, after they’re washed, peeled and chopped they look exactly the same as their symmetrically-perfect counterparts did. ~TxH~
I love the idea of using a vegetable steamer to blanch the veggies! I used to have one of those. I don’t know what happened to it. I may have to get another one.
I love this idea of dehydrated carrots ! Tell me more about the steamer please. ….brand..etc.
It’s just a little steamer I received as a gift years ago. I like to use it when I’m steaming veggies from the garden for a quick healthy side but it comes in handy to blanch veggies before dehydrating too. I have one similar to this one –> http://amzn.to/2kPMTjM (affiliate link) ~TxH~
I’ve never tried preserving food with a dehydrator! Certainly something to consider!
What a cute idea for a post – I love it! We love ugly produce around here – we’ve even lucked into it for free from our local stand because no one wants to buy the ugly stuff. Still tastes good to us!
Sadly it’s what we’ve come to expect from our food, visual perfection. I’m not casting stones here, I’ve been as guilty as anyone else, picking through the produce to find the nicest one. I’ve found myself lately going for the ugly produce because I now realize that those imperfectly-shaped bell peppers or tomatoes are destined for the trash bin if they’re not sold and food waste is an issue that’s important to me… ~TxH~
Thanks for sharing at Green Thumb Thursday. Dehydrated carrots would be a very useful pantry staple to have on hand for winter soups.
This is a fantastic idea for your carrots! I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,
What a great idea to dehydrate carrots to save them for later. Pinning this one 🙂
Those carrots look yummy! I love carrots and the dehydrated ones are delicious. Thanks for sharing this with us at the Four Seasons Blog Hop. Sharing this!!
Stopping by from nifty thrifty sunday. I avoided growing carrots in the past because our rocky soil, I was afraid they would turn out gnarly. I guess I should just get a dehydrator and not worry about it! Great post, happy easter!
Sounds like your homemade soups will be delicious with those carrots….!! Pinning!! Happy Easter to you and yours…. 🙂
The oddities in the garden are always so much fun! I sell at the farmers market and it is always interesting how people perceive food these days. Many eye Heirloom varieties very suspeciously because they look different until you get them to taste them. Commercial growers have oddities too, they just wind up getting chopped up for frozen or processed in soup! Dehydrating is another great way to keep your produce available all year.
Thanks for your comment Sheree. Consumers have come to expect perfectly-shaped produce and often nothing else will do – so funny, huh? Perfectly good food often gets wasted that way. I know commercial growers have their ways to preserve less-than-beautiful food to keep it from going to waste. Now if we can just get to the consumer & get them to think outside the box as well. LOL ~TxH~
You sound like a great fairy godmother! I hate to waste things, even “ugly” vegetables. Thanks for linking to the In and Out of the Kitchen Link Party. Hope to see you next week.
I so need to get a dehydrator, I wonder if my carrots will look like some of those? Don’t matter I’ll eat them just the same, thanks for sharing weekly on Tuesdays With a Twist.
Good idea looking for the more misshaped carrots, in the end who cares what they originally looked like
Thanks for sharing on Old Fashioned Friday. I am impressed by all of the dehydrating people are doing – I dry tomatoes, and sometimes apples and blueberries, but that’s about it. It really is a great way to preserve, and you are inspiring me to do more!
Never thought of dehydrating veggies to make them last longer! Great idea!
I cannot believe my good fortune to read this post. Just this morning I brought out a box of our garden carrots that I had been “saving” in a rather cold closet which has an outside wall of our old farmhouse. I brought them to the kitchen, cleaned them off and thought that I might try dehydrating them. I do have a dehydrator that I have not used in years (how smart is that????) and now I am heading upstairs to pull it out and get these ugly little ducklings chopped and on to the dehydrator. Thank you again for the step by step and pictures – your site is beautiful!!! 🙂
All of our carrots from the garden are ugly twisted and misshapen, but they taste just as good (well actually better) than the long, pretty, straight ones from the store. We canned ours, but I may try dehydrating some next time.
This is so funny I did a post last spring called Attack of the Mutant Carrot and they looked like that. They were still good though. Thank you for joining us on our Four Seasons Blog Hop. Pinning Now.
Isn’t it funny how once you grow your own food those oddly shaped or less than perfect veggies look beautiful too! 🙂
I don’t have a dehydrator but I do love weird shaped veggies! Some of the shops here in the Uk will sell the odd shapes a bit cheaper and once they are cut up really who can tell!
Out of interest my uncle had a nasty accident with a mandolin when he thought the bit that came with it to hold the veg and keep your fingers away from that very sharp blade ,was unnecessary. He ended up in A & E, bless!
Julie – that’s the exact same circumstance with the mandolin that happened here with RancherMan as well. And yes you’re right, that bit that comes with it to hold the veggies when using the mandolin is absolutely necessary! ~TxH~
I never thought about dehydrating carrots since I usually buy organic and use them up fairly fast, but this is a great idea. Thanks for sharing. Visiting from Tuesday with a Twist Link Up. Have a healthy wonderful day!
Mine usually go pretty quick as well Marla, but when the garden is producing heavily I don’t one a single one to go to waste. My dehydrator has been a life saver this past year. ~TxH~