Beginner's Guide to Canning Carrots

Carrots are nutritious, inexpensive and easy to can using a pressure-canner.

Even if the carrot seeds in your garden didn't sprout - like mine - or the grasshoppers ate your plants, or you didn't grow them for whatever reason, carrots are a great vegetable to can. They are available in the supermarket year round at a very affordable price, and are very nutritious.

According to Medical News Today, carrots have been shown to have cancer-fighting effects by reducing free radicals in the body. In particular, they have been shown to reduce the chances of lung cancer, colorectal cancer, leukemia and prostate cancer.

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Carrots are also extremely high in Vitamin A, due to the abundance of beta-carotene, which gives modern carrots their bright orange color. Vitamin A is important to our eye health. One medium carrot provides over 200% of an adult's daily requirement of Vitamin A, 6% of Vitamin C and 5% of Vitamin B-6, and contains only 25 calories.

Raw is probably the most nutritious way to eat carrots, and they do keep very well. However, if you want to preserve carrots so that you'll always have some on your shelves, you can dehydrate them, freeze them, or pressure-can them. A pint jar of canned carrots is simple to empty into a pot of soup or stew for a quick meal, or to heat and eat as a side dish.

A beginner's guide to canning carrots.

Carrots can be raw-packed or hot-packed. The difference is that raw-packed carrots are put into the jars raw, while hot-packed carrots are simmered for five minutes before being put into the jars.

To begin, assemble your equipment:

A beginner's guide to canning carrots

Wash and peel your carrots, and chop into "coins" of an even thickness.

Pack the carrot slices, either raw or after simmering for five minutes, into hot jars leaving an inch of head space (that is, one inch between the top of the carrots and the very top of the jar). If desired, add 1/2 teaspoon of canning salt to pints or 1 teaspoon to quarts. Add enough boiling water to the jars to cover the carrots and still leave one inch of head space.

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Add the recommended amount of water to your pressure canner (check the instruction booklet). Mine uses 3 quarts of hot water, so I fill a quart jar three times and add to the canner. I also add two tablespoons of white vinegar to help prevent mineral deposits on the jars. Turn the burner on Low and let the water warm up while you're simmering your carrots and adding them to the jars.

Check your jars for nicks or sharp edges on the rims. Using your canning funnel, fill your jars leaving one inch of headspace (the amount of space between the food and the top of the glass jar).

Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp cloth. Then use a lid magnet or tongs to remove the lids from the warm water and place them on the jars. Apply the rings and tighten them fingertip-tight; don't overtighten. Using the jar lifter, place the jars in your pressure canner. Add water as recommended in your owner's manual and place the lid on top of the canner.

Close up the canner according to the directions for your brand, and turn the burner up a bit. You'll eventually notice steam flowing from the vent pipe. Let the steam vent for ten minutes - don't rush the times when you're canning - place the pressure regulator on top and wait for the dial gauge to reach the correct amount of pressure.

Begin timing when the gauge reaches the correct pressure. Carrots should be pressure-canned for 25 minutes (pints) and 30 minutes (quarts) at 10 pounds pressure. If you live above 1,000 feet elevation, you'll need to consult an elevation chart for the correct time and pressure.

For more step-by-step photos of the
pressure-canning process,
you might like to read How to Can Chicken Broth.

When the correct time has elapsed, turn off the heat and move the canner carefully off the burner and let the canner cool down naturally. The air vent/cover lock will eventually drop down, and you can then remove the pressure regulator. Wait another ten minutes before you remove the lid of the canner.

Again, don't rush the times when you're canning. Let the internal pressure come down slowly and naturally. When you do open the lid, lift the side farthest away from you so that the rising steam won't be in your face.

A beginner's guide to pressure-canning carrots, from Oak Hill Homestead

The Beginner's Guide to Canning Carrots

Use the jar lifter to carefully lift each jar straight up - do not tilt them - and place on a padded surface such as a towel-covered counter. After 24 hours, wipe down the jars, remove the rings, and add labels. Storing your canned goods in a dark cupboard will help preserve the quality of the food inside.

Did you grow carrots this year? Do you can them?

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