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My goal is to shred carrots to use in a green salad. I've used graters with differently-sized holes, but it seems whenever I shred carrots, the shredded bits are very mushy and clump together. How do I get the nice, dry shredded results like I find in restaurants or in the salad packs at the grocery store?

  • What types of graters are you using? Box style/plane style? – Catija Jul 20 '16 at 15:21
  • Box style usually, though I recently tried on an inexpensive mandolin slider, too. – cbunn Jul 20 '16 at 16:02
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    @cbunn I've gotten dryer 'shreds' from a food processor w/ a shredding disk -- I don't know if it's because it's sharper than my box grater, or something about the speed at which it does it ... but a fine julienne on a mandoline is what I use when I'm making coleslaw and such. (when I don't want to effectlively melt down / have no discernible texture in the dish I'm cooking). – Joe Jul 20 '16 at 17:36
  • Are you using good fresh carrots? Older carrots are mushy no matter how you cut them or grate them. – rumtscho Jul 20 '16 at 18:48
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    @rumtscho As far as I can tell, the carrots are fresh. They have a clean appearance with a healthy, orange color. – cbunn Jul 21 '16 at 5:26
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The best method I've found for this is to use a vegetable peeler. This results in nice, beautiful ribbons with no mush at all.

I recently used this method when making homemade cole slaw and it gave a wonderful texture and presentation. I'm not sure if it's the size you're looking for, but given how well it worked with the cole slaw I made, I can't imagine it couldn't be used successfully for a salad.

To do this, you'd simply peel the carrot, discard any dirty peels, and then continue to "peel" the carrot. The strips you get will be even, clean, and without any mush at all.

If this method is not to your liking, certain food processors have attachments which may be able to give you results similar to the shredded carrot you can find pre-packaged in the store. Yet, I couldn't say if this would result in a mushy consistency, as I haven't used that method myself.

Update: Note my comment below. There is a device known as a "carrot shredder" which may be what you're looking for. It looks like a vegetable peeler, but has notches on it. This results in shreds instead of ribbons.

  • I've seen carrots prepared this way in restaurants before and it is a good idea that I'll try. It'd still be nice to know if there's a way to shred properly. I was assuming it was some technique or treatment for the carrots I was missing. – cbunn Jul 21 '16 at 5:28
  • Here, check this out: images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/… It's a "carrot shredder." It looks like a vegetable peeler but has notches on it that turn the carrot into thinner shreds instead of ribbons like a typical peeler: images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/… Just do a search for "carrot shredder" on a site that sells kitchen products and it should come up. – user48107 Jul 21 '16 at 6:38
  • This is my favorite method, I prefer the long strips to little bits of carrot any day. I slice carrots directly into a stir fry using the same method – GdD Jul 21 '16 at 13:01
  • @J.D. I've seen those peelers before. I actually bought one recently. It was labeled as a Julienne Peeler. Unfortunately, it was even more of a mess than the box shredder. I'll keep my eyes out for a higher-quality model, though. Thanks. – cbunn Jul 22 '16 at 19:51
  • Maybe if you spread the shreds out on a paper towel to soak up the juice, it'll help to keep them from getting too bogged down in juice from the shredding process? I'm not really sure what else to suggest, other than that it may be the specific tools you're using. I've tried many of these methods, watched videos of people using these shredding methods on carrots, and other people don't seem to be getting the same mushy results. So, it may be the tools themselves. – user48107 Jul 22 '16 at 20:59
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One of the issues, I think, is that a duller blade will bruise the carrot more - pull a little more liquid out by tearing the carrot, rather than slicing cleanly. Box graters depend on the force and speed of the hand grating, rather than the sharpness of the metal - you might find a sharp mandolin slicer better for the kind of shredded carrot you want. An inexpensive mandolin slicer might be more effective than the box cutter, but may be less so than a better one - it depends on how sharp it is.

Other possible factors might include the size of the shreddings (width and thickness both) since smaller shreds will have more surface area and opportunity for the carrot juice to present itself, or the moisture level of the carrots themselves - which may be linked to freshness or temperature or all sorts of things. Drier, firmer carrots will probably not clump as badly, fresher carrots (with more snap and less bend) might slice more cleanly and so leak less moisture. Grated carrots (torn little uneven fragments) will be wetter and more mushy than shredded carrots (which are longer and more thread-like).

And , finally, it is also possible that the commercial shredded carrots are somehow treated before being sold in the store or used in a restaurant - being stored in shredded form might allow them to air-dry a bit, or they are let sit until extra juice drains to the bottom of their container and then fluffed for presentation, or extra moisture is blotted away with a towel or something, or they're dusted with a fine layer of starch (like shredded cheese) especially to minimize clumping.

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    Another factor is probably that the store-bought carrots (at least the ones I've seen) aren't actually "shredded"... they're an extremely fine julienne. – Catija Jul 20 '16 at 17:25
  • @Catija - yeah, there's that - I kinda tried to touch on that with the grating versus shredding line, what the commercial shredded carrot is, is not the same thing that a box grater produces. I hadn't matched it up to the "julienne" term, though, thanks. – Megha Jul 20 '16 at 17:32

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