Can Jam- February Edition: Carrots

“Carrots?!?”

Lovely organic carrots

Yup, that is what my friend’s facebook status said.  “Huh?  What’s up with carrots??”  The answer to that?  “Carrots. Can Jam. Whatdya think?” I knew Briggs was right, but… carrots?  Really?  Carrots?!?  Nervously, I had to double (& triple) check.

Carrots challenged me. It’s not that I dislike carrots…I just don’t adore carrots.  (Exception being a heavenly pot roast).   I like munching on them sporadically.  I enjoy them as a vehicle for getting many dips to my mouth.  But if I’m going to can something, I want awesome-ness.  What to make?

I needed it spicy and pickled.  And versatile.  I adapted a recipe I found at Knit Tidbits and here.   I chose this recipe because 1). carrots & lots of them, 2). she said she used it (drained) on cream cheese and crackers…which I LOVE doing with hot pepper jelly & thought this sounded rockin’, 3). I could imagine them as a taco topping, and 4). I envisioned the final product on a Bakesale Betty’s fried chicken sandwich.

Carrots are a low-acid food and thus need some special TLC when attempting to hot water bath process them.   Unless you are fond of botulism, which I will assume you are NOT.  This is a tough one to ponder for a compulsive recipe-tinkerer like myself.   Carrots demand a level of precision. Shudder!

So, a lot of googling, searching, reading later, I finalized my plan for the carrots.  The bottom line in pickling is that you can modify spices & sugar, but you can not change the basic amount of veggies or vinegar. That ratio must stay the same.

The original recipe below, with my adaptations in bold and ( )’s.   I don’t like green peppers and wanted it spicy, so I substituted them providing roughly an equal amount of hot, spicy & sweet peppers.  I decreased the red peppers because I added some cabbage in about the same amount.

Spicy Carrot Relish/Slaw

18 carrots

4 green peppers (I used 1 big poblano, 5 or 6 jalapenos and 6 smaller sweet peppers)

4 red peppers (I used 2 red peppers & 1/2 head green cabbage)

2 onions

1/2 cup salt (pickling salt)

3 cups sugar

6 cups vinegar (must be 5% acidity)

2 T mustard seed (I used brown mustard seeds)

2 T celery seed

2 T coriander seeds

~~~~~~

•Grate carrots in food processor.

Food processors rock!

•Seed and thinly slice all peppers.  Gloves. Wear Gloves. Really. Thinly slice onions & cabbage.  Mix together with salt in a large bowl.

Look at those colors! Sweet with heat!

Ready to "rest"

•Drain vegetables.  There will be a lot of fluid.  Put remaining ingredients into a large pot, and add vegetables.

All salted up

•Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Check to make sure jars have completely sealed. Yield: 8 pints-ish (*I need to get more jars. I’m out. So I yielded 1 pint and 10 half pints and 1 giant jar for the fridge)

Awesome tattoo. I mean, lookie at the jar filling!

Outta the bath!

Word of warning:  If you open a jar and it is in a funk, or looks ‘off’, or is in any way deemed questionable…just don’t eat it.  No one needs to die over pickled goods.

Get a fork & let's go!

Lessons from the Jam: Edition 2

I think that recipes for pickling low acid food should probably have key ingredients in actual measurements than quantity. Think cups, grams, ounces, etc. Something measurable.  The size of a carrot/pepper can vary significantly from one to the next. To be safe I chose organic produce that seemed average size. Nothing too small or too big. Envision Goldilocks.  Just right.

Hopefully that did the trick!

I tasted this on a spicy oven-fried chicken sandwich and the flavor combination was amazing. I did, however, realize that if you want fried chicken you should actually fry your chicken and not bake it.  It just isn’t the same.

I had this (drained) on crackers with cream cheese and it was deliciously & problematically addictive.

I can’t wait to try it on a pulled pork or barbeque pork/chicken sandwich!

Carrots= Success! When I make this again I might spice it up a bit more. I’ll decrease the red peppers and add more jalapenos (or a hotter pepper) and keep the small sweet peppers. The spicy-sweet was fantastic.

The BEST! I can't stop eating it!

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12 Responses to Can Jam- February Edition: Carrots

  1. Kate says:

    Good lord, that cracker situation looks divine!!!

    I love that we all photographed our food processors (because they flippin’ rock) for carrot massacre. I’ll try this recipe out for sure. Thanks for pre-bedtime giggles.

  2. Julia says:

    Of course you are a convert–look how good that is! Yum. Nice work, well explained.

  3. ohbriggsy says:

    these are delicious! i agree that weight is better than quantity for these kind of recipes. what gives? i hope we can bbq and enjoy this this summer! great work meg!

  4. ap269 says:

    I agree on the actual measurments, even though I’d say cups aren’t real measurements. Yes, for liquids they are, but for everything else? I mean, when the recipe calls for 2 cups of grated carrots, you can squeeze them in there or you don’t… That’s a big difference. So I think actual weight measurements are the best.

  5. Travel Mommy says:

    Oh, my goodness, my goodness – I had the extreme pleasure of tasting the carrot relish last night and it is absolutely wonderful!!!! I am going to steal a jar and take it back to California.

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