Spicy Garlic Carrot Pickles

These spicy garlic carrot pickles are full of flavor and perfect for snacking or serving alongside (or inside of) sandwiches.

Spicy Garlic Carrot Pickles

At the end of last year, when we first got wind of the fact that we might be moving cross-country, I pretty much halted my canning efforts altogether. I hated to do it; I was missing out on raspberry, apple and pear season (though I still made an exception for my pear ginger preserves!), but I knew that moving full jars of preserves is a lot more complicated than moving a bunch of empty jars.

Full jars of preserves can’t go on the moving truck, for one thing. At least not if you are moving in the middle of winter – since the trucks aren’t temperature-controlled, the preserves could freeze and break their seals or jars. So of the two cars we drove to Minnesota in December, about 3/4 of the storage space in one of them was taken up by ten boxes of finished preserves, jams and jellies. It was a bit of a pain, but every jar arrived intact, so it was worth it.

Now that I have all my jars, canning pots and other necessary tools unpacked, I was able to embark on my first canning project since September this weekend. I started with something easy: these spicy garlic carrot pickles. They are so, so quick to make – the most time-consuming part is waiting for the water in the canning pot to come to a boil. Beyond that, the process is slice carrots, boil brine, pack jars. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, and boom! You’re done!

I thought about making dilled carrot pickles, but seeing as I still have four large jars of dill pickles left from summer, it seemed unnecessary. I wanted to mix up my flavor profiles!  So I went with a red pepper flake and garlic combination for a spicy, aromatic pickle. These carrot pickles will be perfect for serving on or alongside sandwiches, or just eating straight out of the jar when we want a crunchy, flavorful snack.


If you aren’t a fan of spice, you can cut back on the red pepper flakes a little bit – you’ll still get lots of garlic flavor. However, you can not safely increase the amount of garlic in each jar.

You may use distilled white vinegar in place of apple cider vinegar here. The color of your brine will definitely be clearer, though the vinegar flavor will also be stronger. I like using apple cider vinegar because it has a more mellow flavor. Do not substitute another type of vinegar unless you know for sure it is at least 5% acid.

Spicy Garlic Carrot Pickles

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 3 pint jars

Spicy Garlic Carrot Pickles

These spicy garlic carrot pickles are full of flavor and perfect for snacking or serving alongside (or inside of) sandwiches.


  • 4 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup pickling salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3 cloves garlic, halved
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2” thick sticks and trimmed to fit your jars


  1. Prepare for canning: Wash the jars and flat lids. Put the jars in the canning pot and cover with hot water. Heat over high to bring to a boil and keep the jars hot.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring the vinegar, water, salt and oregano to a boil.
  3. Line the hot jars up on a folded towel.
  4. Put 1/2 teaspoon pepper flakes, 2 garlic clove halves (so a full clove) and a few peppercorns into the bottom of each jar.
  5. Pack in the carrot sticks, leaving a generous 1/2" of headspace.
  6. Pour the hot brine over the carrots, again leaving 1/2" of headspace.
  7. Use a clean towel to wipe any vinegar off the rims, then top each jar with a lid and a tightened ring. Place the jars back in the canning pot and make sure they are covered by at least 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes.
  8. Remove the lid from the canner and turn off the heat. After 5 minutes, transfer the jars to a folded towel and allow to sit, undisturbed, for 24 hours. Check the seals of the lids after 1 hour. If a seal has not formed, refrigerate the jar immediately.

PS: New to canning? Here are all the tools you’ll need. And here’s how to get started with hot water bath canning, step-by-step!

PPS: I also made this creamsicle jelly from Food in Jars this weekend. Dan loves the orange + vanilla combo, so the jelly was a big hit!

Garlic Scape Pesto for Freezing

After months of waiting for something – anything – other than salad greens and root vegetables to show up at the market, new produce is finally starting to roll into the farm stands. We’ve gone from having nearly nothing available to having so much produce come in, I can hardly keep up with all the canning! So far, I’ve canned over 16 pounds of strawberries, frozen 4 pints of chives and processed 2 pounds of garlic scapes into pesto.  This week, I plan on picking some more strawberries, a few sweet cherries and possibly some sugar snap peas as well. I love this part of summer!

Garlic Scape Pesto // Savvy Eats

Usually, pesto recipes call for pine nuts. But have you tried to buy pine nuts at the store lately? They are crazy expensive – usually more than $25/pound. While they are delicious, I just can’t justify the cost when I’m processing pounds of basil or garlic scapes at a time. I used to leave them out entirely when I made garlic scape pesto, but the end result was usually a little too sharp and spicy, and it was missing something texture-wise.  So instead, I’ve subbed in sunflower seeds – it adds a little meaty crunch to give the pesto more substance, and helps mellow out the flavor a bit.

Garlic Scape Pesto for Freezing

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Garlic Scape Pesto for Freezing

The Parmesan cheese and sunflower seeds serve to mellow out the sharp tang of the garlic scapes, resulting in a slightly spicy and very flavorful pesto. Serve it over pasta, mix it into a grain salad, or enjoy it with chicken.


  • 1/2 pound garlic scapes
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Chop the scapes into 3" pieces. Pulse them in a food processor a few times.
  2. Add the olive oil, Parmesan, sunflower seeds, lemon juice, salt and process until the pesto forms a coarse paste.

Make Ahead and Storage

To freeze the pesto, pack the pesto into 1/2 pint jars, leaving 1/2" of headspace at the top. Pour a thin layer of olive oil over the top, just enough to cover the pesto. Put the lid on the jars and freeze.