Canning carrots is a great way to preserve carrots, take advantage of store sales, or just can the carrots from your own garden. Learn how to can carrots with a pressure canner for easy sides, soups, and more.
Last November I found an amazing deal on organic carrots and I grabbed up 100 lbs. A few days later they were all safely canned into quart mason jars and ready to be consumed.
Flash forward to today and I'm down to my last few jars! We use these carrots all the time.
A jar of carrots, a jar of potatoes, a jar of green beans, and some roast chunks makes a really easy soup for a fast dinner on busy nights. I even toss them over a raw roast with a few uncooked potatoes before cooking for a perfect Sunday lunch.
And if you just want to have them on their own, sauteed in butter then glazed with honey is a wonderful side dish for most any meal. So when you're looking for great deals on food and you see those carrots on sale, grab them up and get to canning!
Canning Carrots in a Pressure Canner
Carrots are a great thing to have on hand for soups, roasts, stews, and even by themselves as a side dish! And since they usually go on sale in the fall, this is a great time to stock up and can enough for the whole year.
As with all vegetables, carrots have to be pressure canned. If you have never done that before, it can be a little overwhelming and even scary to thing about trying!
Rest assured, it is a simple process that you can quickly master. Read my step by step guide on pressure canning if you are new to the process - this post will not be as in depth.
Prepping Carrots for Canning
Before you can even start heating your pressure canner, you need to get your carrots ready for canning.
You'll need to cut the stem end off each carrot, peel, and rinse each one, and then cut them into the size and shape you want to have as a finished product after canning.
For us, this means cutting some in smaller soup rounds (or coins) and leaving others in 2" length pieces for use in roasts. You can cut them into whatever size and shape you'd like though, and you can even use baby carrots to avoid the peeling and cutting process.
A note on peeling: While you can scrub all the dirt off of your carrots and leave the peels on, I wouldn't recommend it. The carrot peels have a very unpleasant, stringy and firm texture after being canned and unless you have tried it before and know you'll like it, I would recommend peeling.
Raw Pack or Hot Pack?
Whenever possible, I raw pack vegetables. It completely removes a large part of the canning process, and generally (at least in my opinion) produces a higher quality finished product. But which is right for you?
Raw pack canning carrots means that you would pack the freshly peeled and cut carrots without cooking them. This eliminates the need for an extra pot of water on the stove, and reduces your time involvement as well. However, there are some down sides.
When raw pack canning, you aren't able to fill the jars quite as full since the carrots would still be fully firm and raw. For me, this trade off is worth it, but you'll have to decide for yourself.
Hot pack canning carrots involves blanching the carrots in the boiling water for 5 minutes before packing into your jars. The rest of the canning process is the same as raw pack canning. The upside is that you can pack more into the jars, and reduce the number of canning loads you might have to process.
Both raw and hot pack canning have their pros and cons, and it's truly up to you which you prefer. I like the time saving factor that raw packing provides, but in reality, either method will result in safely canned carrots!
3 Tips for Canning Carrots Successfully
I've spent the last 25+ years canning food for my family, and here are a few of my favorite tips for canning carrots.
Tip 1: You can peel and cut your carrots up to a week before you are ready to can them. I don't always have a full day available for canning, so sometimes I like to break the steps up, and this is one of my favorite tips. Simply prep the carrots and then put them in a large covered bowl, or into baggies until you are ready to process.
Just make sure you let them sit at room temperature for an hour or so before canning them, this is to avoid temperature shock as they go into the jars. That's the only broken jar I've ever had - putting cold carrots into a hot jar!
Tip 2: If you raw pack your carrots, make sure that water is not at a simmer when you lower the jars down into the pressure canner. Doing so can also cause temperature shock that results in broken jars.
Tip 3: When using home grown carrots, or carrots from the local market, make sure that you remove any roots or hairs (peeling does this automatically) before canning. Those little bits create an unpleasant finished product.
Canning Carrots FAQ
We've had a few questions about our home canned carrots and I wanted to add them to the post!
We don't usually have them on the shelf for more than a year, because we eat them all... However, home canned carrots, when properly canned in sterile jars in a pressure canner, should last at least 5 years.
If you store them in direct sunlight that time will be reduced. But if you keep them in a well-stocked pantry, you should be fine.
The USDA even says that canned food is good forever, as long as the seal is intact, however some of the nutritional value may be lost.
Generally, I like to peel them because I don't like the texture of canned carrots with the peels still on.
However, it's up to you.
I had one reader who was very concerned that I didn't insist on peeling before canning. Something about botulism. The only problem with that is that the entire point of pressure canning is to kill botulism and other bacteria.
If we don't believe it kills those things, then why even do it? But we do, so the peels are fine if you want to leave them! :-)
Not any more mushy than boiled carrots are! So, if you've ever had carrots in soup or as anything where they are cooked in water or broth, then you will know what to expect.
I've actually found that home canned carrots are fall less mushy than the carrots end up being in soup... so, there you go.
This is optional, but I recommend it. The carrots are very bland without and salting them after they have been canned does nothing, in my experience. You can reduce the amount of salt to your liking however, as it is just a flavoring and has nothing to do with the safety of the canning process.
On average, you need about 2.5 pounds of carrots per quart jar when pressure canning. However, this can vary based on the size and shape of the carrots and how tightly you pack them into the jar.
How to Can Carrots
- 12 pounds carrots
- Peel your carrots and rinse them to remove debris. You can leave the peels on if you want, but I don't recommend it. See the FAQ for more information.
- Slice and dice your carrots into desired pieces or leave as rounds if no more than 1 1/2 inches thick. You can also can small carrots whole.
- Pack prepared carrots into hot, clean jars. Leave 1 inch headspace.
- Add 1 tsp salt to each quart jar. This is optional, but I recommend it. The carrots are very bland without and salting them after they have been canned does nothing.
- Ladle boiling water over carrots, leaving 1 inch headspace.
- Remove air bubbles with a plastic canning knife. DO NOT use a metal utensil as it can create a score line that will cause the jar to break under pressure. Add more water to the jars if removing the air bubbles caused the headspace to be more than 1".
- Clean the rims of the jars with a hot, clean towel. Add lids and rings.
- Process pints for 25 minutes, quarts for 30 minutes at 10 pounds pressure in a pressure canner.