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Canning Carrots- A Simple Pressure Canning Tutorial
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Of all of the vegetables, carrots seem to be a pretty universal favorite. They’re sweet, they’re easy to grow, they’re good cooked, they’re great raw- what’s not to love?
Carrots are one of the vegetables that grow phenomenally in our garden year after year. No complaints here! But we don’t have a root cellar, or any sort of cold storage for fresh carrots. After a few weeks of eating as many fresh carrots as we can stand, it’s time to get serious about preserving them for the longer term. Pressure canning carrots is my favorite method of carrot storage; I want to bring you along so you’ll consider giving it a try yourself as well.
Carrots are Good for You
Carrots are amazing little veggies: just 40 calories in 100g. (A little more than 3 oz)
40 calories packed with fiber, sweetness, potassium, vitamin C, some folate, beta carotene, vitamin K… Eating your carrots isn’t even a chore.
The cool thing is that pressure canning carrots doesn’t affect their nutritional profile greatly either.
How to Use Canned Carrots
Using up canned carrots is pretty easy. I put up dozens of jars of canned carrots every year, and run out by the time that the next carrots are ready to harvest.
My favorite use for home canned carrots is in soup. It’s a bit of a hack to get dinner on the table faster. The carrots are cooked over the course of the canning process, so they’re ready to go right out of the jar.
Anyway, I use about 2 pint jars of carrots in each batch of soup. I’ll add jars of carrots to fried rice, to casserole dishes, to stew, to crock pot meals. They’re pretty versatile.
Once Baby started eating solid foods, she discovered the wonders of carrots too. So now all of this home canning is ready-to-go baby snacks too.
Why You Should Try to Can Carrots
Canning carrots is a great way to speed up your future meal preps, for one thing. Nothing’s quicker than opening a jar and dumping out the contents. No need to steam, boil, or microwave!
Another good reason for canning carrots is the ease of storage. If you’re urban homesteading, or you’re like us and just don’t have a root cellar; canning your harvests is a godsend. Carrots stored in jars are going to be shelf-stable for 2 years- or more (I haven’t actually had any last that long! We’re out of carrots by the 18 months mark). The long shelf-life of canning is a huge benefit, the preservation of nutrients is another. Canned carrots lose some nutrition compared to their raw counterparts, but it’s similar to nutrient loss in cooking anyway.
I’d mentioned above that canned carrots are a good snack for babies. I think the cost savings on homemade baby food VS store bought baby food is reason enough to try home canning. Canning your carrots in slices means they could be used for soups, etc. for the whole family, or mashed with a spoon and fed to Baby.
(Total aside, but baby-led weaning, IE feed your kid what you feed yourself, is much easier than feeding purees and “baby food”. My toddler is still breastfeeding, but she’s also eating the same foods that her Dad and I eat every day- no need for cooking or prepping something separate. I’ll have a post on BLW/how I feed Baby in the future)
How to Can Carrots
We’ve finally reached the crux of the post; the steps that go into canning carrots.
First, I should preface this by saying that I can my homegrown carrots exclusively. BUT if you have a source on some cheap carrots (such as 50lbs of juicing carrots at WinCo for $9) or just have a surplus of them taking up fridge space, this is a great way to make sure they don’t go to waste.
Second, I prefer the texture of “dry canned” carrots. That’s where I can them without any additional liquid (broth or water). They end up a lot more saturated and squishy with added liquid, but I would suggest trying some both ways and seeing what you prefer. The processing times in the canner are the same both ways.
Third, this tutorial utilizes a pressure canner. I spent years being leery about using it, and I get the fear. You CAN can carrots in just a water bath, but it’s going to take a lot longer and require a lot more babysitting.* I know that pressure canners are intimidating- and expensive lately- but I promise that as soon as you’ve successfully canned that first batch it will be all over. You’ll be hooked on pressure canning just like I am.
Without further ado:
Step 1 is washing your carrots. You can peel them if you want, but I don’t.
Next, dice ‘em up. Just cut them into chunks or coins as you see fit. You could cut them into matchsticks or leave them long too- whatever shape will work best for your future cooking.
After they’re all diced, fill your jars, leaving 1” of headspace.
You can add some salt or other spices to your jars if you want to. This is also where you can pour in some water or broth (or a brine for spicy carrots!) if you want to too. Just make sure to leave headspace.
Add the lids and rings to your jars.
Load up the canner.
Add the water (a few inches, or whatever your instruction manual calls for)
Add the lid, without the weight.
Bring the stove to a boil, and then let it vent for 10 minutes.
Add the weight, and bring the canner up to the correct pressure for your elevation (12# for me)
Turn the down the stove to maintain that pressure.
Set a timer- we want pints to process for 25 minutes under this pressure (quarts for 30 minutes)
After the timer goes off, turn off the stove.
Once the canner has lost pressure, open the lid, move the jars to the counter to cool, and check the seals after 12-24 hours.
After the jars are labeled, they’re ready to store in your pantry, cupboards, etc. and become a part of future soups, stews, and other home-cooking.
There you have it! An easy way to store carrots without a root cellar or freezer space. And best of all, they’re ready to use right out of the jar! If you give canning carrots a try, I’d love to hear about it! Comment below or tag me on instagram- @EmigrantFarms.
Thanks for reading and happy homesteading!
Canning Carrots- A Simple Canning Tutorial
- Pressure canner, rack, jar lifter, canning funnel
- Jars with Lids & RIngs
- Cutting board and knife
- Towel & Sharpie (or pen & tape- to label jars)
- Pounds Carrots
- Salt Optional
- Water or broth Optional
- Start by washing your carrots. Peeling is optional.
- Dice your carrots.
- Load the carrots into your jars, leaving 1" of headspace
- Add salt (or other spices, if desired) to each jar. Add broth or water, filling to 1" of headspace, if desired.
- Add the lids and rings to your jars, tightening snugly.
- Load jars into canner; add water as instructed in your instruction manual.
- Add the lid to your canner, without the weight. Turn the stove onto high and bring to a strong boil. Allow to vent steam for 10 minutes. Add the weight.
- Once the canner has reached the appropriate pressure for your elevation, turn the stove down slightly to maintain this pressure.
- Let canner continue to cook, under pressure, for 25 minutes (if processing pint jars) or 30 minutes (if processing quart jars)
- After the cook time is completed, turn off the stove and allow the canner to depressurize on its own.
- Once depressurized, unload the jars with the jar lifter, and arrange on a towel-lined counter.
- After 12-24 hours, check the seals and label the jars. Store in your pantry, cupboard, etc.
PS For more info about canning, check out my other canning tutorials- such as how to can meat (here) or how to can broth (here). For more information about how I plan my vegetable garden every year (and thus have plenty of carrots to can) check out this post.
*Water bath canning low acid foods is not technically approved by 3 and 4-letter government agencies in the US. That said, you CAN process low acid foods at a rolling boil for 3 hours and theoretically achieve the same shelf-stability. In the US we refer to this as “rebel canning” or “Amish canning”. I’m not European but have heard that it’s pretty commonplace there.
If you absolutely cannot access a pressure canner, waterbathing is an option but I’d do some reading up on it first.
That said, the pressure canner really is easy to use, and I’d strongly encourage everyone to learn how to can both ways.