Pickled Baby Carrots: An Alberta Prairie Favourite
I got married the first time when I was still wet behind the ears at twenty-two. Had my birthday in August and was married in September. We packed up everything we owned. It all fit into a car with a small hitch-covered wagon behind and moved to Lethbridge in Southern Alberta. We arrived in the fall in time for University but I had my head wrapped around the harvest. Though I am a city slicker, my roots are buried deep in this black and fertile Canadian prairie earth. It was my grandma Maude who taught me the value of gardening.
The Spring of our first year in Lethbridge I rented a massive garden plot from a sweet woman. Breathing in that youth is intoxicating.
I remember the carrots. We planted Sweet Nantes. They are still my favourite. I over-planted on purpose. Thinning was a joy. The tenderlings were crunchy and juicy and flavourful washed under the sputtering hose in the heat of the hot sun. As the carrots grew, I pickled my first batch. It was flawless and effortless. The carrots didn’t take much scrubbing and the work went fast. There is nothing like the satisfaction acquired through the production of one’s own food supply. I learned that at a very young age.
Pickled Baby Carrots: My Pickled Carrot Story
The second batch was an entirely different story. The little carrots came out of the ground riddled with groves that were embedded with dirt that scrubbing did nothing to dispel. Throwing them away would have been blasphemous. Eating them wasn’t possible crusted with dirt. I had to use a very small knife to scrupulously clean around every single grove so each was perfect for pickling. It took hours and hours and hours. I wasn’t happy. Yet, no one was making me do it. I was driven to achieve my goal of pickling all of these baby carrots. I had planted far too many and this was so time-consuming, yet I could not bear to waste them and as poor students, we could not afford to give them away. It was such a gruelling experience that I never made pickled carrots again. Wasn’t that the quintessential irony!
Pickled Baby Carrots: The Return of the Pickled Carrot to Our Home Pantry
In later years, I would buy carrots pickled with a little sugar and hot spice at The Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market. They were so delicious but each quart cost me ten dollars! I wouldn’t sell them for less if I made them but that is a lot of money when I knew I could do it myself for a fraction of that.
When I read Kevin’s post about pickling his carrots, the primal urge to prepare for winter and to return to the traditions of my family motivated me to take action. The memory of me sitting in that expansive Lethbridge garden, 8 months pregnant, cleaning carrots one by one until each was pristine, side aching, skin sunburnt, seemed to beckon.
So, I decided to pickle me some carrots! I was excited!
Pickled Baby Carrots: Pickling Carrots
Start with garlic. Not any garlic. The best garlic you can find. That kind of garlic.
I don’t grow carrots in my garden as it is not large enough but there are several favourite vendors that sell small bags of my favourite Nantes carrot in pristine “ready to pickle” condition. No need to spend hours cleaning them!
I do grow my own dill. Love growing herbs and having such a lovely variety at my fingertips throughout the growing season is very empowering. The jars were ready, my Sun Dog Organics garlic was ready. The vinegar was ready… and I just stepped outside and selected my dill: “better if young rather than mature-seed-like” Kevin advises. Young seeds with some young fronds work well.
Did I tell you this was easy? Clean the jars, clean the garlic, clean the carrots (all takes just minutes) then fill the jars. That is it. Oh, boil some water to top it off and boil the lids in another little pot at the same time. You know the drill. If not, the little flat part of the lid with the rubber on it needs to be boiled for 4 to 5 minutes just before the boiling water is poured into the jar and sealed.
I only made five jars, each costing about 3 dollars. That is a win-win for me. Growing my own would make them under a dollar a jar. Try them! They are delicious and addictive. Good to be addicted to pickled carrots, right?
Other ideas for preserving at this time of year:
- Oven Roasted Tomatoes (I freeze these; they are umami-packed and scrumptious)
- Apricot Jam (so easy and exceptional)
- Roasted Red Peppers and Ajvar (I freeze the roasted peppers for winter salads)
Pickled Baby Carrots Recipe
A Canadian prairie pickle that is very easy to make, delicious, nutritious and economical.
For One Pint of Pickled Carrots
- 1 clove garlic, best quality
- 1 small bunch fresh young dill (young head of stalk)
- 60 grams or 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1 tbsp pickling salt
- baby carrots to fill jar, cleaned (Nantes are my fav)
Place dill and garlic into each jar then carefully pack with carrots until reasonably snug
Boil rubber lids in water for 4-5 minutes immediately before using
Add salt and vinegar into each jar and fill with boiling water ensuring there is nothing on the rim of the jar or on the rubber of the lid
Place the hot rubbered side of the lid onto the top of the jar and hold to secure with one finger and gently screw the lid onto the jar (tighten lids the following day)
Store in cool dark place as waiting a few weeks improves the flavour and texture
You may hear popping as the pickles cool and contract the air inside of the jar, pulling the thin lid down into the jar in a concave position; that's a good thing!
5 Star Foodie says
I haven’t actually tried pickled carrots, very neat to make them at home! I will bookmark for the time when I finally decide to conquer the pickling and canning challenges 🙂
Awesome, Val! I just started getting into pickling and made a quick bread-and-butter pickled batch of carrots (I had extra brine after the cucumbers). It came out great, and now I am on a kick.. I’ll have to try out Kevin’s mom’s recipe and let you know how it comes out.
Heavenly Housewife says
LOL… Beavie. Perhaps he has discovered the secret of eternal youth… pickling ;).
I love this post :). I have always wanted to try canning, but I am afraid something will go wrong and I’ll get little “extras” growing in my jars. I really would like to try canning apple sauce from my trees (I get so many apples).
Omg! LOL at the last shot of Beavie and about taking this preserve thing too far!!!!!!
I’ve been to some Loblaws in Toronto and found them much better kept than Suoerstore. The biggest problem I have with superstore is that their produce doesn’t always seem to be as fresh as it can be. Also, we eat a lot of Asian veggies that superstore doesn’t carry, so we shop at Lucky 97 or T&T for that. Superstore is probably my third choice as well.
I love any kind of pickled veggie. When I was pregnant with K, I think I easily went through one jar of pickles in one week. All I craved was pickled stuff. If I knew how easy it was to pickle your own stuff, it would’ve saved me sooo much money 😀
Stella talked a bit about Xylitol in this post:
Which she also linked to another post that talked more about Xylitol. That’s interesting stuff. I’d like to know where we sell that here. Maybe Plant Organic? Always learning through food blogging 😀
I am going home tomorrow and I will be making my Pickled carrots next week. It is the same recipe as Kevin’s mom. I haven’t made them in years, but they were a favourite at our house. Thanks for inpiring me.
Joan Nova says
I admire your obvious passion which, apparently, is not new or a fad thing. LOL-Beavie.
bellini valli says
Pickled Beavy…hmmmmmm. I am going to get on with my canning this weekend. I haven’t canned in years so this gift from Loblaws has been the push!!
That looks great. I wish I was motivated enough to preserve :D.
I laughed hard at the Beavie shot: classic. Glad you tried it and hope it worked out. Do keep in mind that I know folks that tend to get carrot gluts – so if you’re into them, I may be able to hook you up in the future..
Mary Kay says
I’ve never pickled carrots before, I’m new to the whole canning my homegrown foods! When you want to eat the pickled carrots, do you cook them up at all as a side dish or eat them straight out of the jar like a pickle?
Valerie Lugonja says
Hi Mary Kay,
You would just open the jar and you will find the carrots still crisp and crunchy as the day they were picked from the garden. You are to eat them as a pickle, not as a canned vegetable… so no cooking, just from the jar, and then refrigerate after opened. DELICIOUS!
Let me know if you try them.
Jessica Cyr says
You don’t process them?
Valerie Lugonja says
They keep very well as they are with the hot seal.
I can’t wait to try making these carrots – mine are almost ready. Could it be a universal recipe for beets or cukes? Thanks!
Valerie Lugonja says
Beets, possibly, but not cucumbers. They are a completely different consistency and need a very different approach.
Let me know how it goes!
Gabrielle A Hone says
How long will these keep for?
Valerie Lugonja says
Mine kept about a year….