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How To Ensure Your Carrots Stay Crisp Once They're Done Cooking

Whole roasted carrots
Whole roasted carrots - Clarkandcompany/Getty Images

There's nothing worse than roasting, searing, or even charring a bunch of carrots to the ideal crispness, and then having them turn to complete mush as you wait for them to cool. Though it might seem like a culinary mystery when something like this happens, the reality is that the culprit might just be improper handling. As a result, there are a few things to keep in mind so that cooked carrots stay as crisp as possible for as long as possible.

Regardless of how you cook the root vegetables, knowing how to serve and store carrots is a must to maintain texture. After their centers have softened slightly and their edges have browned and caramelized, the next logical step is to transfer carrots to a serving platter. However, the key is to make sure not to include any leftover cooking liquid on the dishware, as this is precisely what can cause carrots to lose their wonderfully crisp and crunchy textures. The question is, why?

Essentially, an excessive amount of liquid can pool at the bottom of the plate and start to soften and rehydrate any burnt and dried bits of caramelized goodness, undoing all of the work achieved during cooking. Additionally, it's also best not to stack warm carrots on a platter (or immediately cover them with foil) as this can further trap moisture and encourage steaming, which also rids the vegetables of their crispness.

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Focus On The Details To Achieve The Crispest Carrots

Baked carrot fries with dipping sauce
Baked carrot fries with dipping sauce - Peteers/Getty Images

To maintain some bite, always start with fresh and firm carrots. No matter how hard you try, an old, limp, or shriveled vegetable will never crisp up as successfully as a fresh carrot. Yet, even then, a crunchy carrot can still risk wilting if cooked improperly.

Since the right cooking method can make all the difference, dry-heat options like roasting, searing, or grilling are surefire ways to promote crisply caramelized edges. This is especially true when carrots are evenly spaced so as to prevent potential steaming and softening. Crowding the pan is a no-no for this reason. Likewise, keeping an eye on cook times can help in achieving the ideal textures, as well. But, it also doesn't hurt to help the process along by tossing carrots in flavorful fat, or finishing them with a sugary glaze to encourage browning and crisp caramelization.

After cooking, remember to create as moisture-free of an environment as possible when plating up carrots. Depending on how they were cooked, it could even be wise to place carrots on a cooling rack before moving them to a serving platter. That said, when it comes to handling any leftovers, let the carrots cool completely before packing them into an airtight container — doing this will prevent you from accidentally steaming them and losing pleasantly brittle bits. With these tips and tricks in mind, crisp carrots are easily in reach.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.