How to Make Homemade Canned Pickled Carrots
Making and canning your own pickled carrots is quite easy, safe and inexpensive. You can do it with basic equipment already in your kitchen - you just need a canning pot. And thanks to the vinegar in pickled carrots, you can use either a plain open water bath pot or a pressure canner (which will also let you can low acid vegetables!)
So, here's how to can pickled carrots! The directions are complete with instructions in easy steps and completely illustrated. In the winter when you open a jar, the pickled carrots will taste MUCH better than any store-bought canned pickled carrots!
Prepared this way, the jars have a shelf life of about 12 months, and aside from storing in a cool, dark place, require no special attention.
Directions for Making Canned Pickled Carrots
Ingredients and Equipment
Recipe and Directions
Yield: About 4 pint jars
Step 1 - Selecting the carrots
The most important step! You need carrots that are FRESH and crisp. Limp, old carrots will make nasty tasting canned carrots. Guests will probably throw them at you.. Select firm, crisp carrots. Remove and discard any soft, diseased, spotted and chewed up carrots.
Step 2 - Prepare the jars and canner
Wash the jars and lids
This is a good time to get the jars ready! The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle. Otherwise put the jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. I just put the lids in a small pot of almost boiling water for 5 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" (available from target, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online - see this page) to pull them out.
Get the canner heating up
Rinse out your canner, put the rack in the bottom, and fill it with hot tap water. (Of course, follow the instruction that came with the canner, if they are different). Put it on the stove over low heat just to get it heating up for later on.
Step 3 -Wash the carrots!
I'm sure you can figure out how to scrub the carrots in plain cold or lukewarm water using your hands or a vegetable brush.
Step 4 - Peel the carrots and cut into smaller pieces
Peel and slice into rounds cuts that are ½-inch thick (approximately).
Step 5 - Wash again
Rinse the carrots again in cold water
Step 6 - Make the Pickling Solution
Combine the vinegar, salt, sugar (or Splenda if you need a no-sugar version) and fresh water in a large pot (8-quart or larger).
Step 7 - Heat the pickling solution
Bring the solution to a boil. Then keep it boiling gently for 3 minutes.
Step 8a - Add the carrots and simmer
Add the carrots and bring it back to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and heat until the carrots are half-cooked (about 10 minutes).
Step 8b - Prepare the jars
While the carrots are cooking, put 2 teaspoons mustard seed and 1 teaspoon celery seed in the bottom of each clean, hot pint jar.
Step 9 - Packing the carrots in the canning jars
This is called "hot packing"! Fill the jars with the hot carrots, leaving 1-inch headspace. Pack the jars fairly tightly, but be sure to leave at least ½ inch, preferably 1-inch of space at the TOP of the jar. That is called "headspace" and is needed for expansion during heating in the water bath.
Step 10 - Pour boiling cooking liquid into each packed jar
Use a ladle or pyrex measuring cup to carefully fill each packed jar with the hot vinegar solution (pickling liquid), again allowing ½ to 1-inch headspace. The carrots should be covered and there should still be 1 inch of airspace left in the top of each jar. Be careful not to burn yourself, (or anyone else - children should be kept back during this step!)
Remove air bubbles (by sliding a dull knife inside the jars and/or gently jostling them) and adjust headspace if needed.
Step 11 - Put the lids and rings on
Wipe rims of jars with a dampened, clean paper towel and put the lids on each jar. Seal them by putting a ring on and screwing it down snugly (but not with all your might, just "snug").
Step 12 - Put the jars in the canner and the lid on the canner
Using the jar tongs, put the jars on the rack in the canner. Make sure the tops of the jars are covered by at least 1 inch of water.
Step 13 - Process for 15 minutes*
The chart below will help you determine the right processing time and pressure, if you have a different type of canner, or are above sea level. For most people, using a plain open water bath canner, the time will be 15 minutes. You can use either a plain water bath canner OR a pressure canner, since the vinegar adds so much acidity (if you can vegetables other than tomatoes without adding vinegar, you must use a pressure canner).
Step 14 - Remove the jars
Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool on a wooden cutting board or a towel, without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight), here they won't be bumped. You can then remove the rings if you like. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok.
You're done! Now, just let the carrots sit in processed jars for 3 to 5 days before consuming for the flavor to develop!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is it safe to can pickled carrots in a traditional water bath? If so how long do you do process them?
A. Yes! Pickled vegetables have added vinegar which adds acid and lowers the pH, making it safe to can in a water bath canner (or a pressure canner)
Plain canned carrots (not pickled) require a pressure canner. Quoting from the Ohio State University Extension's Fact Sheet:
And Clemson University provides these questions and answers:
Salt and sugar are not preservatives for vegetables: they are added to stabilize and improve flavor, but will not prevent spoilage.
Salicylic acid is also NOT a preservative. The University of Illinois reports:
Think of it like smoking. We all know someone who smoke their entire life and lived to be 90. But the cemeteries are filled with the vast majority who didn't. You'll hear people say "my grandmother did it that way for 20 years". But of course, the people who died from food poisoning aren't around and often didn't have descendents to tell their tale...
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This page was updated on 23-Apr-2012
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