Small batch preserving these Pickled Carrots is easier than you think. Grow your own or buy carrots in season, then pickle them with dill and garlic for a dillicious treat!
Starting from Scratch in a New City
We moved to Calgary in 1998 when our daughter Julia was 3 weeks old. New city, new baby, new house, new job…it was a huge step for us. We had a tiny starter home (my mother’s garden was larger than the main floor of this house!)with a modest yard. There was just enough space for the kids to play and to have a small veggie garden. It was there that I learned that gardening is much different in Calgary that it is in Saskatchewan. The shorter summer season sometimes makes it quite tricky to produce a decent yield so I began by growing the simple things: Peas, Beans, Lettuce, and Carrots.
Necessity is the Mother of Invention
It just so happened that my very first harvest from that garden coincided with Julia’s first birthday. She was a breastfed baby and picky with solid food right from the start. She wouldn’t eat baby food (I think it was a textural thing) so she went straight from milk to these solids: toast, yoghurt, and pickles. What a fun combination! I’ll never know how she developed normally on this diet but children have a way of surviving, I guess. In order to keep up with her incessant demand for pickles I pickled everything I could from that first garden harvest. The Pickled Carrots and Beans were a bit hit with Miss Julia and the rest of the family.
A Family Tradition
Julia eventually grew out of her pickles and yoghurt phase but the family still requests Pickled Carrots on occasion. Our youngest son (who has an amazing appetite and has always eaten everything in sight) has moved away from home for the first time. It’s our first taste of an ’empty nest’ and I hate it. I know it’s not empty for long because football season wraps up at the end of October. In the meantime, I asked him if he needed any provisions while away from home. Even though he’s a decent cook and gets a lot of food from the butcher shop where he works, he still craves a taste of home. I wasn’t surprised when he requested some Pickled Carrots.
Pickled Carrot Pointers
You don’t need to grow your own carrots for this recipe. I suggest buying the fresh, young carrots (with a diameter of around 1 cm) from your local farmer’s market. If you must use larger carrots, make sure they don’t taste ‘old’, give them a good peel and quarter them length ways. Cutting them this way will make it possible to pack them tightly in the jar. Measure how long they need to be using one of your pint jars and cut them all to size at once. Having everything (carrots, dill, dill seed, garlic, hot brine) ready and waiting for when it’s time to pack the jars is key.
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Preserve Your Harvest with Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen
Pickled Carrots with Dill and Garlic
Pickled Carrots with Dill and Garlic
- FOR THE BRINE
- 4 cups water
- 4 cups white vinegar
- 1/2 cup salt (sea salt or pickling salt)
- 6 lbs baby carrots; scrubbed or regular carrots; peeled
- 5 cloves garlic; peeled and cut in half lengthwise
- 1 tbsp dill seed
- 5 heads of flowering fresh dill
MethodFill a hot water bath canner (with a canning rack) with water and bring to a boil while you:
- Scrub and trim baby carrots to fit a pint jar. Peel, trim, and quarter mature carrots length ways.
- Wash and inspect 6 pint jars (I always do an extra jar just in case) and their lids. Be sure there are no chips on the jar rims and that there's no rust or dents on the lids.
- Place jars upside down in a large cake pan, add an inch or two of water. Place in a 250 F oven for ten minutes and keep warm until you are ready to fill them.
- Place lids and lid rings into a pot and fill with water. Set on stove and heat until they just begin to boil.
- Fill a kettle with water and bring to a boil.
- Add water, vinegar, and salt to a medium pot. Bring to a boil so that the salt dissolves.
- Clean and prep garlic and dill.
- Take jars out of the oven one at a time and add one half of garlic followed by a flowering dill head.
- Quickly but purposefully arrange the carrots in the pint jar until the are so tightly packed you can't add any more.
- Ram another garlic half into the carrots, then add a pinch of dill seed. Top with hot brine, leaving 1 cm head space.
- Quickly cover with hot lid and screw on the sealing ring until it's just tight, but not crazy tight.
- Place jar in canning rack and repeat until all your jars are finished. If your hot water canner looks too full of boiling water, remove some. If you need more, take it from the kettle.
- Lower the canning rack into the canner. Make sure there's an inch of water above the jars.
- Process at a rolling boil for 10 minutes at sea level or 20 minutes at over 3000 ft altitude (or see hot water processing chart HERE), adding boiling water as needed to make sure the jars are covered.
- Remove and let sit on counter overnight before moving. Check to make sure all jars have sealed (the lids should be depressed in their centres) and refrigerate any that have not sealed.
- Allow pickles to sit in the brine for a few weeks. Enjoy!