Friday, February 19, 2010

February Can Jam: Carrot Relish

I must say, when the February Can Jam feature ingredient turned out to be carrots, I was not excited. I am no carrot enthusiast. I do love a good, fresh springtime carrot from the farmer’s market, but those days are many weeks away. Inexperienced as I am in the ways of preserving, I still thought it was silly to go out of my way to can something out of season that I don’t like. But I did it anyway, in the name of education and condiments!
Relish veg crisping up

I considered pickled carrots, but aborted that idea after thinking about woody, wintertime carrots. Eventually, after getting a pickling book from the library, I settled on the idea of a relish.

Now, this was a silly idea too, as I’ve never been into relish. I made a hot pepper relish in the summer which was pretty good, but couldn’t name you another relish that I’d volunteer to sample. But I did it anyway.

cooking the relish

I settled on carrot-onion relish, and the preliminary tasting yielded a pretty sweet, carrotty concoction. I’m going to let it sit the recommended 3 weeks and try again, and I will update you then.

Carrot Relish, ready to process

Meanwhile, if you like the sound of it and want a jar (and you’re in town) let me know!

Carrot and Onion Relish
Adapted from The Complete Book of Pickling by Jennifer MacKenzie

8 cups shredded carrots
2 cups finely chopped onions
2 small yellow hot peppers, finely chopped (this is my only mod)
2 tbsp pickling salt
1 ¾ cups sugar
2 tsp celery seed
1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cider vinegar
1 tbsp minced garlic

1. In a large non-reactive bowl, combine carrots, onions, peppers, and salt. Cover and let stand at a cool room temperature for 2 hours.
2. Meanwhile, prepare canner, jars and lids.
3. In a colander lined with cheesecloth, working in batches, drain vegetables and rinse well. Drain again and squeeze out excess liquid. Set aside in colander to continue draining.
4. In a large pot, combine sugar, celery seeds, thyme, pepper and veingar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to medium-high and add drained vegetables and garlic; return to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring often, for about 15 minutes or until vegetables are translucent and mixture is slightly thickened.
5. Ladle hot relish into jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace as necessary by adding hot relish. Wipe rim and place hot lid disc on jar. Screw band down until fingertip tight.
6. Place jars in canner and return to a boil. Process for 10 minutes (add 10 minutes for Calgary). Turn off heat and remove canner lid. Let jars stand in water for 5 minutes. Transfer jars to a towel-lined surface and let stand for 24 hours.

carrot relish on pita


  1. I think your relish looks really appealing. I think the canjam may give some of us a chance to reassess our preconceived tastes. I really want to give your recipe a go. Here's to next month....

  2. Please hold a jar for me I think it world make a super first step in an excellent coleshaw.

  3. I wasn't too excited either when I learned that carrots were the focus of this month, but I was pleasantly surprised after having made 2 jams. Hope you'll like the relish after the recommended 3 weeks!

  4. Mmmm looks yummy! I'll bet it tastes good too! :)

  5. Forget journalism Zoey. You should be a chef.