Canning Carrots

babycarrotsFor the past week or two, I’ve noticed in the “search engine terms” section, where I get to see the sometimes wacky ways that people surf their way to my blog, multiple searches for “canning carrots hot water bath.”  This concerns me, because, if people wanted to pickle carrots, I would think they would search for “pickled carrots” and other than pickling (and other high-acid jams/chutneys/preserves), there is no safe way to can carrots in a boiling water bath.

Carrots, like all vegetables, are a low-acid food. In order for low-acid foods to be safely home-canned without any additional acid, they must be heated to 240 degres F, in order to kill harmful bacteria and spores; heating to this temperature requires a pressure canner.  Even tomatoes, the most acidic of vegetables (and technically a fruit), require additional acidification in order to be safely home-canned, thus the addition of lemon juice, vinegar or citric acid when canning tomatoes or tomato sauce.  I don’t use a pressure canner, so all of the recipes on this site focus soley on boiling water bath canning. 

Safe water bath canning of carrots requires acid; either by pickling the carrots (vinegar), or by adding small amounts of carrots to acidic fruits (tomato sauce, salsa, carrot cake jam w/ pears and pineapple).  Although I’ve never made carrot pickles (because even though I make them for Tai, I really loathe all things pickle), I’ve presented a recipe below from the Ball Book.  Happy pickling!

For another carrot preserve, check out Apple Carrot Chile Chutney.  For a mind-blowing variety of carrot canning ideas, check out the February Can Jam round up over at Tigresss in a Pickle.

Taken directly from Dilled Carrots in The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, J. Kingry and L. Devine

————————————————————–

Dilled Carrots

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1/2 cup pickling or canning salt (or 2/3 cup Kosher salt, which is safe, but will produce a cloudy brine)
  • 4 cloves garlic, halved (I would probably double this amount)
  • 14 flower heads of fresh dill, or 3 and 1/2 tsp dried dill seeds
  • 3 and 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes (optional)
  • 5 lbs carrots (25 to 30 medium), ends removed, peeled and cut into 1-inch sticks

METHODS

  1. Prepare canner, jars and lids.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine vinegar, water and salt. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve salt.  Maintain brine at a gentle boil.
  3. Place 1/2 clove garlic, 1 head dill (or 1/2 tsp dill seeds), and 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes into a hot, sterilized jar.  Pack carrot sticks into the jar with a generous 1/2 inch headspace. Top with second head of dill. Ladle hot brine into the jar to cover carrots, leaving 1/2-inch of headspace.  Remove any air bubbles, wipe rim and affix hot lid.  Screw down to fingertip tight and place jar in the canner.  Repeat until all jars have been filled. Do not process half-full jars; store these in the fridge and use within 2 weeks.
  4. Process jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Cool, label and store.

Yields about 7 pints.

OPTIONS

  1. This is a basic recipe for dilled, pickled vegetables.  Greens beans, bell pepper, zucchini and summer squash, all these could be added to the carrots for a summer pickle medley.
  2. If dill is not your thing, you can leave it out.  Consider adding a bay leaf, 3 whole black peppercorns, or 3 cloves to each jar instead.

STORE

In a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

SEASON

Summer into fall.

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23 comments

  1. I’m so glad I found this recipe! I am going to adjust it to make Mexican pickled carrots by omitting the dill and adding sliced jalapeños. Mmmmmm!

  2. Hope

    I was just wondering, how long does it take for the harmful bacteria to grow and become dangerous? Would it be ok for the carrots to sit for a week or two? Are potatoes in the same camp?

  3. Hello Hope,

    I’m not quite sure what you are asking; are carrots sitting in vinegar, or simply harvested and at room temperature?

    Carrots & potatoes are both good candidates for root cellar storage, i.e. at cool (50 – 60 degrees F), dry temps in open they may last for months.

    If carrots were packed in water, or other non-acidic liquid, and water-bath canned, I would not trust them past 1 day of sitting at room temperature.

  4. Hope

    Thank you! That answers my question. I was also wondering about canning stew. If it has been in the oven at 350 for a long time would that kill the bacteria making it safe to can afterward?

  5. Hi Hope,

    While a temperature of 350 degrees F will kill botulinum toxin, there is no way to guarantee that you won’t pick up spores in the transfer from the stew pot to the jar; the only safe way to can a stew is in a pressure canner.

    There are many good online resources for canning information: check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation at http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/ .

    Happy canning-
    Kaela

  6. Sandy Schreiber

    I used this recipe to make carrots and green beans last Sunday. I couldn’t stand so we opened a jar of carrots today. Wow are they good! I added 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes so they are a but spicy… should be really good in a bloody mary/maria! Thank you for sharing it, I will definately use again.

  7. I am going to try the carrott recipe and add the pepper flakes. I used to pickle hard boiled eggs years ago. I loved buying a product called “Hot califlower mix”in a big jar. It had califlower heads, chuncks of carrotts, chuncks of celery and scallions. I would save the juice and put in 4-5 eggs and let them sit in the juice in the refridgerator for several days. WOW were they good. I have a hard time finding big jars of that mix any more. If you find any size jar at the store it is worth doing .

  8. Pingback: Video: Canning Cumin Seed Pickled Carrots | Seattle Seedling

  9. EL

    I wanted to ask which carrots you have pictured above. I’ve seen the dark purple ones, but those are truly lovely and I would like to get seeds.

    Also, I am a microbiologist. The problem actually is that when you put Clostridium botulinum into adverse circumstances (such as heating) it can go into endospore form very quickly. In addition the spore form may be present even before you heat. Normal stove heating will not kill endospores and under anaerobic conditions (which exist in cans) the endospores will not only revive, but that is when C. botulinum makes botulinum toxin. In fact one group exposed endospores to gamma radiation and they still revived. So you need a pressure cooker or an autoclave to kill them. I agree with Kaela — I don’t like to can anything but tomatoes even with an autoclave. Something might go wrong. . .

    • Hi EL,

      Those carrots are Dragon Heart: I got the seeds from Seeds of Change. They are quite lovely and have an orange, bullseye-esque center. They are probably not as tiny for someone who isn’t a lousy gardener like me.

      And thanks for the microbiology lesson! Always love to learn.

  10. Sandi

    I keep coming to this page from the same search you mention, because I’m trying to come up with a carrot jam recipe. I see plenty that have lemon and orange added, and am ready to add citric acid as well, but no one anywhere mentions if you can safely process something like that in a hot water bath. Have you ever come across anything like this?

  11. Mandy

    I canned carrots for the first time this year. I sterilized my jars and lids. When I packed my carrots I did not pour boiling water on them ( the recipe just said water)I just used bottled water and then put them in the pressure canner. Will they be safe to eat??

    • I’m sorry, Mandy – I don’t use a pressure canner, so I can’t help you here. You might want to check out Food In Jars, Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking, or the NCFHP: http://nchfp.uga.edu/.

      I’m a bit worried that without starting with boiling water, your jars did not get up to the appropriate temperature during the processing time: if if were me, I would probably throw those jars out. :( But again, there are people out there far more experienced in pressure canning than I am.

  12. Sandy Schreiber

    Dear Local Kitchen, I have been using your recipe for carrots for a few years and my family and friends love them. I’ve also done green beans this way. Can I use this recipe for Jalapenos? I look forward to hearing your comments.

    Thank you!
    Sandy

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