The first jar of anything I ever canned was pickled carrots, which I made 3 or 4 years ago at an afternoon workshop at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. I don’t know if they still offer the workshop but if they do its worth taking for any nervous but aspiring canners. Classie Parker is a total riot, teaches with vaudvillian flair, and is extremely passionate about canning. Plus, her relaxed but professional approach immediately dispels any notions that home canning brings you within a spoons throw of a dire case of botulism.
But that was long ago: and in the intervening years I’ve managed to put up a good number of sauces, pickles, preserves, relishes, and pantry staples. What I barely managed to do in the interim was eat those carrots. I don’t know why but those pickled carrots never had much appeal. (I did finally eat them a few months ago, they were ok). So you can imagine how I felt when confronted with Dorris and Jilly‘s february can jam challenge food of the month: carrots… I was a bit lost to say the least. Until I found Mary Anne Dragan’s Well Preserved. I know, I know, I need another canning book like a fish needs a bicycle, but she had four good recipes for carrot concoctions. I immediately purchased the book. It vaguely occurred to me to upchallenge myself and make all four recipes just to see how they all were, fortunately the thought passed. And Kate at hipgirls already tried the marmalad(y) so we can all see how well that turned out.
And so, without further ado: my carrot and coconut chutney (recipe after the jump)! I made it straight from the book for the first time and basically I think its really good… it made me want to break out the Madhur Jaffrey, find a large mango lassi and make my own naan (even though Noerah says you need a special clay oven (or a tandoor) to really make naan properly – but this chutney kind of makes you want to build a new clay oven!). The only changes I’d make next time would be to keep the carrots in slightly bigger chunks, increase the ratio of coconut to carrot and make it a little less spicy (only because I’m a sissy), other than that, its great.
Carrot and Coconut Chutney (from Mary Anne Dragan’s Well Preserved)
(this makes half the recipe – about 4 pint jars)
- 12 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 orange
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 1/4c brown sugar
- 3/4 c cider vinegar
- 1/2 c flaked coconut
- 1/4c chopped dried apricot
- 1 Tbs grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 Tbs mustard seed
- 1/2 Tbs dried chili flakes
- 1/2tsp salt
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
Cook the carrots until soft and then mash roughly (leave fairly large pieces).
Peel the lemon and orange zest and chop very thin. Remove pith from the fruit and chop the fruit finely (discard seeds)
Combine sugar, vinegar and zest in a medium pot and bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer 30-40 minutes, stirring often (during final 10 minutes of cooking stir constantly to avoid burning)
Remove from heat, ladle into prepared jars and seal and process in hot water bath for 10 minutes.
–By Talia (and photos by Noerah of course!)