There’s pressure canning, and then there’s canning under pressure. Today, I learned about the latter. I’m one of those weird folk who likes deadlines, but I’ve really been busting my butt the past few days to catch up with the Tigress’s Can Jam. Tomorrow’s the cut off for a post about carrots, so I ran out and grabbed a bag of organic Bunny Luvs, and here I am.
I found a recipe for carrot-orange marmalade in The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest, but I counted up the 47 half-pints of marmalade I’ve made in the past three weeks and held myself back. I’ve been blowing through ten-pound bags of sugar faster than you can say hyperglycemia, so I appreciated the opportunity to can something without added sweetener. I wanted a taste to make me pucker up. Lacking time to get creative (and looking forward to learning from other can jammers’ efforts), I decided to find a simple pickled carrot recipe and see what I could do to spice it up.
I started with a simple recipe from Craving Greens, in part because the portions looked right. I couldn’t deal with 25 pounds of carrots — four pounds looked manageable. Then I started adding spices, being careful to maintain the level of acidity in the recipe. (They don’t look spicy, but there’s a lot of stuff in the bottom of the jar. Honest.) Here’s what I used:
4 lbs. carrots
6 c. water
1.5 c. white vinegar (5% acidity)
1 c. apple cider vinegar (5% acidity)
1/4 c. kosher salt
1 garlic clove per jar
1 small slice jalapeño per jar (size to taste)
1 tbsp. brown mustard seeds
3/4 tbsp. celery seeds
15 coriander seeds
6 allspice berries, plus a pinch of ground allspice
1/2 tsp. turmeric
5 wide mouth pint jars
And here are the steps I followed and some things I learned. All of this assumes a basic knowledge of water bath canning. If you want to learn more about that, the Tigress’s website has all the information and links you need.
- Wash, peel, and cut the carrots — set aside in a bowl. What I learned about this is that it’s helpful to cut the carrots short enough that the brine will cover them when you pack them into the jars. I cut mine longer than that and then went back and did the extra work of shearing off the ends. But that’s okay. When it was all done, I put the ends into a half-pint jar with extra brine and popped them into the fridge. I think they’ll be great on salads.
- Prepare the brine in a large pot, using the water, vinegar, salt, and spices (holding back the garlic and jalapeño). Bring it to a boil on the stove. The original recipe called only for white vinegar, but I changed it up by adding some apple cider vinegar. I loosely based my profile of spices on my favorite recipe for bread and butter pickles.
- Take a sterilized jar and drop a garlic clove and a piece of jalapeño into the bottom. Then pack the jar with carrots and ladle the brine over the top, leaving half-an-inch of head space. Process 10 minutes in a water bath canner.