I don't usually do much canning in the winter time. It's really all about preserving the local foods for me and there's just not much going on from local farmers in MN right now that needs to be preserved (for vegans at least...For meat and dairy eaters, there are plenty of year-round local foods!)
This year, though, the folks at Featherstone Farm (WI) were really smart about their carrot storage. I'm not exactly sure how they managed it, but they've been supplying Mississippi Market with local carrots since the summer and they still taste like they were just picked!
Doris and Jilly announced that this month's Can Jam was all about carrots, I started sifting through my canning books for a good base recipe. I knew I wanted to pickle them because I never turn down the option to douse something in vinegar, salt and spices. The Dilled Carrots recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving sounded great- basically just a very concentrated vinegar solution and spices with some carrots sticks and garlic.
I really wanted to add in some crushed coriander and cumin because I LOVE how those taste with carrots. So I did.
Here's the basic recipe I used for about 3 1/2 pints:
Pickled Coriander Carrots
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1/4 cup canning salt (will reduce this next time)
6 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. coriander seeds, lightly crushed
1 Tbsp. cumin seeds, lightly crushed
1 tsp. red chile flakes
1.5 lbs. carrots, trimmed and peeled and cut into sticks that will fit under a 1/2 inch headspace in your pint jars and no more than 3/4 inch in diameter.
Get your canner warming up with 3-4 pint sized jars and water to cover inside. Heat the vinegars, water and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil to dissolve the salt. Begin warming new lids.
Once jars have heated, put 2 cloves garlic and 1/3 of the spices in each jar. Tightly pack the carrots in the jar vertically. Ladle vinegar solution over the carrots, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and wipe rims of jars. Place warmed lids on jars and tighten screw bands to "fingertip tight".
Place jars in canner and make sure there's enough water to cover by at least 1 inch over the lids. Bring water in canner to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Then remove jars and allow to cool away from drafts. When completely cool, remove bands, label and store.
***I opted to open one jar of these carrots the very next day to see how they turned out (I wanted to taste them before deciding if I should make more). The verdict is that they're freakin' amazing, but also amazingly salty. Just like the Dilly Bean recipes that I know so well, half the salt is still enough to have a really flavorful product. Or you could rinse the carrots before serving, but that just seems weird.