Do you have to blanch grated carrots for freezing or can I just spread them on a sheet, freeze and then pack in appropriate sized containers for recipes?
I always blanch my carrots....well everything...but...I have never frozen grated carrots.
Diced require 2 minutes blanching so I can't see how shredded would require any less.
We find that finely diced works better than shredded unless it is a really coarse shred. Shredded tend to be real mushy when thawed.
I've never done this either, but the blanching is to destroy the "growing" enzymes in the food, so I'd say it was a good idea. How do you plan to use them?
Shreads would probably not need a blanch. You could also place them in a microwave in a shallow layer and zap them for about 20- 30 seconds if you wanted to. Shreds are mush once frozen. I pickle the carrot shreds in a sweetened rice wine vinegar. Then store in the fridge. They keep quite well that way and I use them to make California rolls.
I like the idea of pickling some in the fridge for CA rolls - do you have a specific recipe for the rice vinegar solution?
I was planning on freezing shredded carrots so I can just pull out what I need to make carrot muffins, carrot cake, etc... throughout the winter. I was planning on using my food processer to shred the carrots...
But if they will turn to mush, I wonder if it's worth it. Has any tried freezing grated carrots for baked goods and had good results?
I actaully have a Japanese slicer that juliennes them into thin strips. The sweetened rice wine vinegar is just from a bottle of the same thing. I also pickled Jicima and some cucumber in the same way. The blade on the slicer is like a small mandoline and has vertical blades (comb shape) for the width of the strips as well as a horizontal blade that does one row at a time. You can grate and freeze carrots, and they should be OK to use in a carrot cake. Grating is a bit smaller than my Japanese mandoline will do.
Not if you understand how freezing works. ;)
When thawed, the cell walls of the food rupture in anything that is frozen. That is why we switched to diced carrots as I said above. The larger the piece that is frozen the better the thawed texture will be - still soft but at least not mush. Abd the shorter the frozen time the better the thawed condition.
So given what you want to use them for, freeze very large chunks and then thaw and grate the chunk when ready to use.
Thanks for all the advice. I was hoping I could do what I do with summer squash and just grate it for recipes, yes it's mushier but it works for bread/muffins.
I think I'll experiment with a small batch of diced and a small batch of grated and see what the results are in muffins and then decide if it's worth it to do more with the rest of my massive amounts of carrots. If not then I'll do some long term storage or freeze in larger pieces... :)
The grated carrots would be fine to use in baked goods. Diced might be ok, if you want to see them in the baked item, but carrots seem to be more tasty when someone eats the baked goods they are made of, and if they don't see it when they bite into the item. Not everyone likes carrots, but 'hidden' in a cake or muffin its a nice surprise.