Home canning carrots is pretty easy. Really. I know I say that about most things, but believe me, I’d let you know if something wasn’t worth your time. Like the pickled hot peppers. Totally not worth my time, but hey, if you still want to bottle hot peppers, at least I warned you. But I digress. Today we’re going to be bottling carrots. Beautiful, fresh, easy carrots.
First you’ll need a pressure canner. You can not safely bottle carrots with a water bath canner. You’ll also need some bottles–pint is usually a good size, but if you eat a lot of carrots, you could use quarts. And canning lids and rings. Then you’ll need some carrots and some water. Pretty complicated already, right?
Prep your carrots by washing and peeling if you want to. I just scrubbed mine really well and didn’t peel them.
Then cut them into slices, chunks, or sticks, or leave them whole if they’re smallish.
Get your canner on the stove with water in it and start heating it up. Some of the newer canners have a fill line for the water level, but mine doesn’t. Follow the directions in your instruction manual, unless you don’t have an instruction manual like I don’t, then just fill the canner with about 3 inches of water and put the rack on the bottom.
Meanwhile, put some water in a pot and heat it up to add to the bottles and put your lids in another little pot of water and heat them up.
Put your carrots in your jars. Most canning instructions say to put your stuff in hot jars. I’m not sure why. It may be for sterility, but it’s probably for keeping your jars from cracking with the temperature change. I’ve never worried about keeping the jars hot and have never had one crack from adding the hot liquid to it. I have had a couple lose their bottoms when they weren’t hot enough filled and I added them to the hot water in the canner. This has always been on a second batch when I filled the jars too early and the canner was especially hot having just finished processing a batch of whatever. Anyway, the point of all that rambling is to let you know that if you don’t keep your jars hot before adding the raw carrots, the likelihood of something horrible happening is extremely small. So small, I just don’t worry about it. So just put the carrot pieces in clean jars.
This is the “raw pack” method. If you want to do the “hot pack” method, steam cook your carrots before packing them in the jars. I can’t see where it would make much difference besides adding one more step to the process since you’re going to be cooking the carrots plenty as it is while they’re canning. So, of course, if I don’t see the point in something, I just don’t do it. So we’re raw packing.
When you’ve got the carrots in the jars, add the hot water from the pot. You can put 1/2 tsp salt in each pint (1 tsp in each quart) if you want. It’s optional, and I skipped it this time. Maybe I’ll get a better tasting end result. Maybe I can even convince the kids to eat them, but I doubt it.
Wipe the jar rims, put your hot lids and rings on the jars, and put them in the canner. The water still won’t be covering the tops of the jars. That is how it is supposed to be. This is a steam pressure canner, so you don’t need a ton of water in it.
Now, put the lid on your canner and turn the heat up. When steam starts coming out the vent pipe at the top of the canner, put the weighted rocker on and let the pressure build up. My instructions said 10 lbs pressure for 25 minutes for pints or 30 minutes for quarts. So 10 lbs or a bit more pressure for that amount of time is what is required. A gas stove is really nice for canning as you can adjust the heat quickly to keep the pressure even.
After the processing time, let the canner cool down until the pressure valve clicks down. There is no need to hurry this process up. If it’s late, just go to bed while it’s cooling down and get the jars out in the morning. I actually took mine out the same day this time, but the “leave the last batch until morning” routine is a regular occurrence around here.
Put your jars on a rack to cool and make sure the jars sealed up before you put them on your shelf. If they didn’t seal, just have carrots with your dinner. :)
So there you have it. Bottled carrots. And now I will quite happily not do more with carrots except eat them raw until next fall’s harvest. :)