I have to admit that when this month’s Can Jam ingredient was announced as carrots, I was a little… uninspired. While I applaud the choice as a “stretch” goal, I just wasn’t that excited about my BWB carrot canning possibilities. Not that I don’t like carrots, I do, but they are a low-acid food and we all know that I’m no friend of the pickle. There are some carrot marmalade and jam recipes out there, but in many of them carrot seems to be more of a bit player than a star attraction; besides, we were drowning in marmalde for last month’s Can Jam. What’s a carrot-canning girl to do?
It has never occured to me to can carrots. They seem to last virtually forever in a root cellar or the refrigerator and if I ever did have some massive amount of carrots that I needed to preserve, I would probably make a big batch of chicken or veggie soup and freeze it. But, suppose I lived in Laura Ingalls’ time and I had to preserve carrots? Suppose I live in a Peace Corps tent in Zimbabwe and I’ve got to put up the carrot harvest? (Do they even grow carrots in Zimbabwe? Google says they do!) Suppose I’m a food blogger who has commited to a Can Jam Challenge and will not be defeated (are you hearing the Rocky theme in the background? Because I am.) Ahem. So, on to the carrot recipe.
I searched and searched. I looked in my various preserving cookbooks: the Ball book, Fannie Farmer, Gourmet Preserves, Putting By. I scoured the Interwebs (and found a lot of scarily imprecise recipes). I briefly contemplated making Tigress’ carrot coconut mutney (charmalade?) but that felt like cheating. I couldn’t find anything that spoke to me. And I think I was bitter: here I had all these apples, leftover from apple picking in October, getting all wrinkly and sad in my fridge, and I had to worry about canning the perfectly good, non-wrinkly carrots from the farmer’s market. Harumph. And then I thought… huh. Apples. Carrots. Surely there must be a way to make these two great tastes taste great together (aside from walking down the street brandishing a jar of applesauce and a carrot. That’s just asking for trouble in NYC). Since I couldn’t find any carrot-apple recipes that thrilled me, I started looking for recipes where I could swap apples in (or carrots in) safely and tastily.
Eureka! Carrot Pepper Salsa in the never-fails-me Ball book was the answer. Swap in apples for tomatoes (pH-safe because apples are more acidic than tomatoes), chop them well to deal with any texture/heat penetration issues (tomatoes are less dense than apples), add some apple cider (even more acid, and tomatoes are juicier than apples) and Houston, we have a go. The result is a seriously spicy, seriously delicious chutney-salsaesque condiment (chalsa? saltney?) that I envision with sharp cheddar cheese, in a turkey sandwich, or baked on chicken or pork. Yum. Thanks, Can Jam, for stretching my limits. I’m off to eat me some chutsa.
Want more carrot canning ideas? Check out the February Can Jam round up over at Tigress in a Pickle.
Adapted from Carrot Pepper Salsa in The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, J. Kingry & L. Devine, eds.
Apple Carrot Chile Chutney
- 1 and 1/2 cups cider vinegar (5% acidity)
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1/2 cup apple pectin stock (optional)
- 6 cups (about 2 lbs) peeled, cored, chopped apples
- 3 cups (about 1 lb) peeled grated carrots
- 1/2 cup (2 and 1/2 oz) finely chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup (3 oz) minced chile peppers (jalapeno, serrano, habanero), seeded, or not, to your tastes (fresh or frozen)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (lightly packed)
- 2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
- Measure vinegar, apple cider and apple pectin stock into a large stockpot. Wash, peel, core and dice apples, tossing in the vinegar as you go, to prevent browning. Wash, peel and grate the carrots (I use the food processor) and add to the stockpot. Add onion, chile peppers, honey, sugar, salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil over high heat, stir, then reduce heat and boil gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings; add the optional lemon juice now if the chutney seems to need a little oomph (the lemon juice is not necessary for the recipe to be safely acidic; the vinegar takes care of that).
- Meanwhile, prepare canner, jars and lids.
- Ladle hot chutney into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe rim, afix lids and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
Yields about 4 and 1/2 pints.
- You can substitute 1/2 cup of brown sugar for the 1/2 cup honey; you’ll get a darker brown color and a slightly thicker texture, but I always like the flavor of honey with hot chile peppers. Your call.
- This is very (deliciously) spicy. I wouldn’t quite call it “flaming” but possibly because the honey mellows it a bit. If you’re the one always reaching for the hot salsa, Tabasco, and ordering “extra pickled jalapenos, please” this one’s for you. If not, perhaps try 1/4 cup of chile peppers. You can safely decrease any of the non-acidic ingredients in the recipe.
- This recipe can be 100% local without the sugar and lemon. You can substitute additional honey for the brown sugar; I added the sugar about haflway through the cooking time because the chutney was not thickening well, and it was rather an unpleasant color. The brown sugar gave the chutney a deeper color and a bit more texture. The lemon was simply a last minute adjustment to brighten up the flavors and can be omitted if you are cooking strictly locally.
- Yes, I completely stole the idea for these labels from Lelo over at Lelo in Nopo. While I like how they came out, they took me an embarrassingly long time to do (control-freak-perfectionist that I am). I probably should have just popped the $6 and bought some at Lelo’s Etsy shop. Check it out!
Canned, in a cool dark spot, for up to 1 year. Flavors will blend and mellow if you allow to sit at least 2 – 3 weeks before using.
Apples are at farmer’s markets from Fall through late Winter. Carrots are generally available at markets all year long.
This is why I love local blogs. Our snow looks like your photo! Our apples look like your photo!
But I never heard of Laura preserving carrots. I think they just stashed them somewhere cold. When they had them . . . I can think of just two carrot references off hand . . .
I’m glad you found a recipe worth the hassle and found it in the Ball book!
I know, it’s funny right? The snow is so gorgeous this time, and really clinging to the trees. I know everyone is sick of snow, but.. I still love it.
I realized, too, that Laura et al probably just put carrots in the root cellar (along with everything else). That is, when they had any food; I just re-read the whole series over the summer, and I didn’t quite remember them starving so much. Lest we forget, life was not easy on the frontier. I guess I’ll just have to stick with my Zimbabwe/Peace Corps plan. 🙂
Oh, the carrot pepper salsa – this is the one I would have made if I hadn’t found sweet recipes (I hate pickles). But then I found 2 interesting jams (I didn’t even know you can use carrot in a jam – I think I’m the only person in Germany with carrot jam now), so I’ll keep that salsa in mind. I love how you replaced the tomatoes with the apples – very interesting idea!
I probably would have made it with tomatoes if it weren’t February in New York. Tomatoes are pretty scarce (or at least they should be!). The thought of opening up 3 pints of my home-canned tomatoes (just to can them all over again), and all those wrinkly apples in the fridge, inspired me to make the change.
LOL, it’s February here, too ;-). I know what you intended to say, though.
What a great idea to alter a salsa recipe. I too have been going crazy looking for a proper carrot chutney recipe, but I think I may borrow your idea and fuse it with my own inspirations. Great post!
Oooh, what a terrific idea! I made a test batch of roasted carrot-apple butter with fresh ginger this weekend (you are not alone in wrinkly apple syndrome.) But when tasting it, was wondering if it would work better with pears.
Now I’m tempted to stir a little chipotle into the mix in the next batch. 😉
Very, very clever. I kept looking at that salsa recipe and kept sighing: oh, right, tomatoes! Yours looks delicious and spunky. And I love your new snowy photo, it’s beautiful.
Roasted carrot-apple butter sounds awesome, and definitely even awesomer with chipotle (of course, I would say that about most things). Great idea! I wonder, though, if it would be too sweet with pears instead of apples? They are so much sweeter and carrots are pretty sweet themselves.
Now you’ve got me thinking.. maybe a roasted habanero-garlic-apple butter is in my future! I *still* have wrinkly apples in the fridge. I’m thinking maybe 110 lbs was a tad bit ambitious this year. 🙂
And, thanks for the props on the photo: isn’t the snow just gorgeous? I love it when it clings to the trees for a couple of days. Simply magical.
Here’s another one that just popped up on my “possibly related” section:
More traditional chutney flavors but sounds interesting. The horseradish is a new twist. (But of course – water bath can it! I would guess 15 minutes would do it.)
Look how beautiful that chutney is, and look how beautiful your labels turned out! You let me know if you ever need some help and want me to churn out some custom labels for you. Typography is my specialty. 🙂
Your chutney is inspiring!
Thanks, Lelo. Sorry to completely steal your idea; but you know what they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! 🙂
And I will keep you in mind for when I don’t have a 4-hr-insomnia-fueled block of time to fiddle about with Microsoft Word…
This is fantastic! My pickled carrots seem positively boring by comparison. But, I do love me some pickles so I guess I’ll live. But, I’m tagging this so I can find when the carrots and apples are in season again.
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Totally making this! I have everything I need! Love it what that happens. Thanks!
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Hi there! This looks yummy, but my little one’s not so keen on hot and spicy. Was wondering if I could safely swap the chiles for chopped dates or raisins? Can’t seem find a sweet carrot chutney recipe that I totally trust quantity/canning wise! x
Hi Anna Maria,
You could certainly swap in raisins or dates, or any dried fruit, really, for the low-acid chiles, though I suspect it would change the flavor profile of the final chutney rather dramatically (not that that is necessarily a bad thing). You could also try swapping the hot chiles for the same amount of chopped sweet bell pepper, red would be the sweetest and prettiest I think, or you could leave them out altogether.
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Just finished making a batch of this – yummy!!!
Made this last autumn and we opened a jar a couple of months later and were disappointed. But then found a leftover jar a few weeks ago and we thought we might as well use it, and it was amazing! Definitely needed a long time for the flavours to develop and definitely worth it. Planning on making some more this autumn now and keeping it a long time before we open it!
It’s funny, I’ve had almost the opposite experience: after a long shelf time (maybe a year?), I’ve found that the chutney has become a bit more sweet than I would like, and has lost a lot of its spicy bite. But it just goes to show you: these types of preserves definitely change as they sit on the shelf, and no two palates are alike! 🙂
If I am not planning to use apple pectin, I am assuming I should just use regular fruit pectin (not leave it out completely) correct? Looking forward to trying this recipe!!
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Oh man – I can’t wait to try this! Just got into making chutneys this fall (with great success, I may add!). This sounds like a fabulous combination and something that will go well with our Christmas gift packages. 🙂
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