Have you harvested a bumper crop of carrots? Or maybe you’ve bought too many carrots from the store? You’re probably wondering how you’re going to make them last.
All of those extra crops won’t be for nothing! By canning carrots, you’ll set yourself up for plenty of side dishes or ingredients for recipes for a few years. If you don’t know how to can carrots, you’ll be delighted to know it’s an easy preservation method.
Read on to learn how to can carrots to enjoy them year-round!
Tools for Canning Carrots
To begin the process of canning carrots, you’ll need these supplies:
- Vegetable peeler (optional)
- Canning jars (pint- or quart-sized)
- Canning jar tongs
- Chopping knife
- Cutting board
- Three large pots (jar-heating, water-bathing, and brining)
- Kettle for boiling water
- Canning rack
- Pressure canner
- Bubble remover stick (or a chopstick)
- Dish or paper towel
Step One: Heat the Pressure Canner
This step only applies if you have a pressure canner. Now, this device is necessary to destroy food-borne bacteria in low-acid vegetables like carrots when canning them. If you don’t have one, don’t worry; you’ll learn how to can carrots effectively without it.
Take a pressure canner with a canning rack inside and fill it with 2–3 inches of water. (Refer to the canner’s instructions on water measurements.) Put it on the stove and set the heat to medium-high, so the water reaches about 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step Two: Prepare the Jars
Avoid using ones with nicks or cracks when selecting pint- or quart-sized canning jars.
It’s not just the jars that need cleaning; the lids and sealing rings do too. The important thing about learning how to can carrots is to avoid bacteria and increase the carrots’ shelf life. So wash these materials in hot, soapy water.
After cleaning the lids and rings, set them in a clean bowl with hot water. You’ll want to keep the jars heated up for the carrots. There are a few ways you can do this:
- Pressure canner: Again, if you have a pressure canner, place the jars inside and let them sit until the carrots are ready.
- Pot of boiling water: For about three minutes, let the jars sit in boiling water on a rack in a pot. Remove them with canning jar tongs and set them on a clean towel.
Step Three: Prepare the Carrots
Rinse the carrots with cold water to clean off dirt and debris. Next, remove the green tops and the taproot end of each carrot.
This substep on how to can carrots is optional. Some people like the skin, and some would rather put the vegetable peeler to work.
Remember that carrot skin can be tough to bite into and taste strong and bitter. They may also taste a bit like dirt if they come from your garden. You’ll need to repeat the rinsing process if you choose to peel your carrots.
If you’re canning baby carrots, skip this step.
The best part about canning carrots is that you can remove any damaged parts without throwing away the vegetables entirely. After all, the whole point of learning how to can carrots is to preserve them!
On your cutting board, you can chop them into ¼-inch-thick discs. You could also cut them into sticks or chunks. How you cut them depends on your future dining plans for these vegetables.
Again, if you’re canning baby carrots, skip the slicing since they’ll fit into your jars just fine!
Step Four: Can the Carrots
Now that you’re done with the preparations, it’s time to put the jars to work. Here are two options on how to can carrots:
- Raw-Packing: All you have to do is pack your chopped carrots into the jars until an inch of headspace is left. Boil some water in a kettle and pour it in with the carrots.
- Hot-Packing: This method requires five minutes of boiling the carrots in a pot before ladling them into the jars. Just like the raw-packing method, leave an inch of headspace.
This substep is required if you don’t have a pressure canner.
Here is an example of how to make brining mixture:
- ½ cup of water
- 3 cups of vinegar
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of non-table salt
- 1 tablespoon of pickling spice
Mix and boil the ingredients in a pot; then add in your carrots. Once they boil, let them simmer for about 5–8 minutes before ladling them in the jars. Finally, pour the brine in after them until there’s ½–1 inch of headspace.
Removing Air Bubbles
It’s imperative to remove air bubbles when canning carrots; otherwise, the jars won’t seal properly. A chopstick will do if you don’t have an air bubble remover.
Stick your tool in the jar along the outer edges and slowly move it along the circumference a few times. Take care not to stir the carrots.
If any air bubbles pop, add more carrots or hot water, so there’s still an inch of headspace.
Sealing the Jars
Though you have already washed the jars and lids, it’s always best to be safe when learning how to can carrots. Wipe the rim of the jars with a damp paper towel to remove any residue that would inhibit the sealing.
Next, center the lids on the rims, then screw on the rings until they’re finger-tight.
Step Five: Process the Jars
As mentioned, learning how to can carrots without a pressure canner is possible.
Though hot-water bathing is an alternative, do this at your own risk because it isn’t enough to kill the bacteria. That’s why pickling carrots is important for hot-water bathing because the acidic solution prevents bacterial growth.
First, place the jars (each the same size) inside without them touching each other or the canner’s sides. They can be as close as ¼ of an inch apart. Then, close the lid and set the heat to high.
In a few minutes, the water will boil, and steam will flow. Follow your canner’s directions for venting and bringing it up to pressure for pint-sized or quart-sized jars.
Once the processing time ends, shut off the stove and let the canner cool down. Later, per the canner’s instructions, open the canner and remove the jars with tongs. Place them on a towel to sit overnight. If you hear any pops, your lids are sealing.
After sealing your pickled carrots, place a canning rack in a large pot and fill it with water. Set the pot on the stove and heat the water to a simmer. Put the jars in slowly, and keep them from touching each other or the pot’s sides.
Add more water until it’s about an inch over the jar lids if necessary. After that, cover the pot with a lid and boil the water. Once the water reaches the boiling point, let it simmer for half an hour.
Use the tongs to remove the jars and set them on a towel to cool down. Chill the jars in the refrigerator or freezer for about three days.
Step Six: Store the Jars
Tap each lid in its center to check that the sealing is secure. An immobile lid is what you want. If it moves or pops, your jar didn’t seal properly, and you must begin the canning process again.
Remove the rings around the lids and wipe the jars before labeling them with the date you canned the carrots. Finally, store the jars in a cool, dark, and dry place like your refrigerator, freezer, pantry, or cellar.
How to Enjoy Canned Carrots
Learning how to can carrots is useful, and learning how to incorporate them into your meals is tasty! Canned carrots are great ingredients for vegetable soups and stews, casseroles, salads, and other recipes.
You could also whip up Shepherd’s pie or a chicken pot pie with canned carrots. Or you can simply use them as a side dish for entrées like grilled chicken and turkey. Even eating them right out of the jar is a snacking option!
FAQs on Canning Carrots
1. Should I add salt to my carrots? When?
You can if you want to add more flavor (unless you’re pickling the carrots). We recommend using canning salt, Kosher salt, or sea salt since the additives in table salt may discolor the carrots.
Use ½ teaspoon of salt for a pint-sized jar and a teaspoon for a quart-sized jar.
2. How long do canned carrots usually last?
Whether they’re in a refrigerator, freezer, pantry, or cellar, the carrots should last for two to five years. However, the National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends using these canned vegetables within the year for optimal health nutrition.
After opening, your canned carrots will last for about three to five days in the refrigerator if they’re tightly sealed.
If the seal is damaged in any way, you’ll have to pitch the carrots.
3. Is raw-packing or hot-packing carrots better?
That depends on your canning preference. The raw-packing method is much easier since it involves immediately canning carrots and pouring boiling water into the jars.
The hot-packing method removes air from fruits and vegetables, so they don’t shrink in their jars. Carrots don’t have that much air, but their flexibility from this method lets you add more of them in each jar.
Can Your Carrots Because You Can!
Congratulations! You’ve just learned how to can carrots. Should history repeat itself with more carrots than you can handle, you’ll know what to do.
You can enjoy your overstocked carrots out of the can for a few years whenever you please.
Visit our carrot page to learn more about preparing and saving these root vegetables!