It is getting to be that time of year again! Canning season is approaching and Dill Carrots seem like the perfect recipe to begin the season. This great recipe is perfect for beginners as it is super easy and very straightforward. If you have never tried it, pickling something is extremely satisfying! You get to hear the joyous “pop, pop, pop” sounds in you kitchen as your jars seal… And it requires less time and stirring than small-batch jams. Plus, the vibrant jewel-toned colors are enough to brighten anyone’s day!
Dill Carrots were introduced to me by a friend who also claims the title of “most accomplished canning lady I know.” She brought them to a canning party I threw and everyone raved about them. When she mentioned that her kids gobble them up too, we all immediately requested the recipe! Dill Carrots is inspired by a the recipe in Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. This canning cook book is a great guide for just about anything you might wish to preserve. The Dill Carrots recipe is quite versatile in that you can add spice (or not), make with fresh dill (or use dried if not available), cut up carrots from the garden (or use bagged baby carrots from the grocery store). All variations produce a nice perky flavor that will add interest to your antipasti trays or make a great garnish for sandwiches. This time around I decided to double the batch and make half out of bagged carrots and half cut from full size. I will report back in a few weeks if I can tell any real difference in the flavor or texture of this variation. I also omitted the red pepper flakes, as I wanted to make this batch family-friendly!
Makes about seven pint (500 mL) jars
6 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
1/2 cup pickling or canning salt
7 cloves of garlic, halved
14 sprigs of fresh dill (if using dried dill, use 1/2 teaspoon per jar)
3 1/2 teaspoons hot pepper flakes (optional)
5 lbs carrots (20-30 medium, ends removed, peeled and cut diagonally)
Prepare canning water, jars, and lids.
In a large steel saucepan, combine vinegar, water and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve salt.
Place 1 clove (2 halves) of garlic, 1 sprig of dill, and 1/2 tsp of hot pepper flakes (if using), in each hot jar. Pack carrots into hot jars to within a generous 1/2 inch of top of jar. Top with second sprig of dill. Ladle hot pickling liquid into jar to cover carrots, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Insert chop stick or skewer into jar and move around to release air bubbles. Wipe rim with wet paper towel. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
Place jars in boiling water bath, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Process for 10 minutes. Remove jars, let cool completely, and store. Your Dill Carrots will reach full flavor after a few weeks of “marinating”.
You will be surprised by how popular these guys are. We easily go through a jar whenever one is opened whether we have company, or it is just our family snacking on them. You can see that my kids are reaching for them even as I make them!
A few more tips: Remember that canning is about preserving great produce, so can with the best ingredients you can find. When packing jars for pickling, pack the jars as tightly as possible, without bruising produce, as the liquid will make everything float and ingredients will shift around. I find that I never cease to be surprised by this. Canning, especially if you are just beginning, is always more fun with a friend or two. Use this project as the excuse to get together with a like-minded friend! The act of having a project to do together always takes away the guilt I feel when just getting together with someone for coffee and a much-needed catch up. That may not be your hang up, but it is one of mine.