Mexican Pickled Carrots

May/June 2014

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This Mexican-style pickled carrot recipe is great for topping tacos, tostadas and/or quesadillas or as a side to any South-of-the-border entrée. These spicy carrots are also delicious added to a bowl of soup or tossed with spring greens, feta cheese and just a drizzle of olive oil.

Mexican Pickled Carrots

Makes: About 8 cups, for 32 servings

Serving Size: 1/4 cup

Active Time:

Total Time:

Equipment: 4 1-pint (2-cup) canning jars, canning equipment


  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pickling salt or fine sea salt (not iodized)
  • 3 pounds small spring carrots, sliced on the diagonal 1/8 inch thick
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 2 fresh jalapeños, sliced into rings 1/8 inch thick
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican, divided
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seed, divided
  • 2 large cloves garlic, halved


  1. Before starting the recipe, gather the needed equipment (see Tips).
  2. Prepare 4 1-pint (2-cup) canning jars and lids: Wash in hot soapy water and rinse well. Place the rack in the pot and place the jars, right side up, on the rack. Add enough water to fill and cover the jars by at least 1 inch. Cover the pot and bring to a boil; boil, covered, for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat. Keep the jars in the hot water (with the pot covered) while you prepare the recipe.
  3. Meanwhile, place the new lids in a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to a gentle simmer. Very gently simmer for 10 minutes (taking care not to boil). Turn off the heat and keep the lids in the water until ready to use.
  4. Combine vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a 6- to 8-quart nonreactive pot (see Tips) and bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the carrots, onion and jalapeños; return to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, remove the sterilized jars from the water and place on a clean towel (if they’re placed on a cold surface, the jars could crack). Place 1/2 teaspoon each oregano and cumin seed in each jar, along with half a garlic clove.
  6. Fill the jars with the vegetables and pickling liquid to within 1/2 inch of the rim. Wipe the rims with a clean cloth. Use a lid wand (or tongs) to remove the lids from the hot water. Place lids and dry rings on the jars. Tighten until just finger-tight (won’t move with gentle pressure) but don’t overtighten.
  7. To process the filled jars: Using a jar lifter, return jars to the pot with the warm water, placing them on the rack without touching one another or the sides of the pot. If the water does not cover the jars by 1 to 2 inches, add boiling water as needed. Cover the pot and bring to a boil; boil 10 minutes, then turn off the heat, uncover the pot and leave the jars in the water for 5 minutes. Use the jar lifter to transfer the jars to a towel, with some space between each jar. Let stand, without moving, for 24 hours. (If you do not want to process the jars in a boiling-water bath, you can refrigerate the pickles for up to 2 months.)
  8. After 24 hours, unscrew the rings and test the seals by pressing lightly on the center of each lid. They should have a slight concave indentation and neither yield to your pressure nor pop back. If a seal is not complete, you can process again in boiling water or store any unsealed jars in the refrigerator.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Store at room temperature for up to 1 year if processed in a water bath.
  • For this recipe, you will need the following canning equipment: 4 1-pint (2-cup) canning jars with rings and new lids; a canning pot with a rack or a large pot plus a heatproof rack that fits into the bottom of the pot; jar lifter; lid wand or tongs to help remove lids from hot water; and a clean cloth to wipe the jar rims. Canning equipment is available in hardware stores and at canning (complete kits $43-$75).
  • Be sure to use a nonreactive pan, baking dish or bowl—stainless-steel, enamel-coated or glass—when cooking with acidic food (citrus, cranberries, tomatoes) to prevent the food from reacting with the pan. Reactive pans, such as aluminum and cast-iron, can impart off colors and/or flavors.


Per serving: 20 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 5 g carbohydrates; 1 g added sugars; 3 g total sugars; 0 g protein; 1 g fiber; 81 mg sodium; 132 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (77% daily value)

Carbohydrate Servings: 0

Exchanges: 1/2 vegetable

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Recipe Categories

Ease of Preparation
Total Time
More than 1 hour
8 or more
Preparation/ Technique
Cinco de Mayo
May/June 2014
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