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What is Carrot Jam?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Carrot jam is a type of jam made with carrots as a base. Although the thought of a sweet carrot spread might seem odd, carrot jam actually goes well with a wide range of foods, thanks to the natural sweetness of carrots. The food is particularly popular in Britain, as is carrot chutney, a more spicy and zesty version. Some grocers carry carrot jam, and it can also be made at home. Unlike many other preserves, carrot jam does not require processing in a hot water bath, although it will keep longer if so processed.

Basic carrot jam harnesses the natural sweetness of carrots, making them even sweeter with the addition of sugar and balancing the sweetness with citrus juice, which also acts as a preservative. It is highly suitable on toast and many pastries, and it can also be served as a garnish or side dish with things like grilled and roasted meats. The sweetness of carrot jam complements savory foods very well.

Carrot chutney uses less sweetening, and adds spices like garlic, ginger, chilies, mustard seeds, coriander, or cumin, with vinegar as a preservative. It has a more tangy flavor, and pairs well with Indian cuisine. British chutneys tend to use more sweet spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, with additions such as raisins, while Indian chutneys range more in the savory direction.

To make a simple carrot jam, grate up four cuts of carrots and cook them on medium heat with the juice and zest of a lemon, lime, and orange. Add two to three cups of sugar, depending on personal taste, along with one half teaspoon of salt. Cook until the carrots are suspended in a thick syrup, which will take around half and hour. Remove from the stove and pack into jars for preserving, or just put the carrot jam into a big container and refrigerate it. The food will last for several weeks in the fridge. For a smoother spread, puree the carrot jam after cooking.

If you want a longer lasting preserve, and one which will keep out of the fridge, assemble spotlessly clean canning jars and press the carrot jam into them, leaving about half an inch (a little over one centimeter) of space at the top. Place a pre-heated lid onto each jar, and screw the canning ring on until just tightened. Immerse the jars in boiling water for approximately 10 minutes, ideally in a canning rack so that water can circulate around them. Cover the jars while they are being processed, and then remove them and allow them to cool. The lids should curve inward, indicating that the jars have sealed. If not, reprocess the carrot jam, and never eat preserves of any kind from a jar with a bulging lid, which indicates a bad seal.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By donasmrs — On Jan 22, 2014

Carrot and orange jam tastes amazing. It has a gorgeous color, lovely aroma and it's full of vitamins. But it's difficult to make! I tried it once and the result was disappointing. It wasn't very uniform. It was more like sugar syrup with grated carrot inside. I obviously didn't do a good job.

There is a local grocery that sells homemade jam. They don't always have carrot and orange jam, but when they do, I buy several jars. I will have to ask them for a recipe.

By ysmina — On Jan 21, 2014

@turquoise-- I've actually not seen a carrot jam recipe without sugar. I don't think it will be thick and syrupy like it should be if you don't add sugar. But you might be able to overcome this by adding pectin. It's probably worth a try, let me know how it goes.

My carrot jam/chutney recipe is a little spicy with cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. It comes out quite sweet and is a perfect match with hot and spicy dishes like curry. Although, one could easily eat this on toast for a winter breakfast as well. It's a warming jam because of the spices and the color.

By turquoise — On Jan 21, 2014

Can I make carrot jam without sugar? Carrots are already sweet and I'm trying to watch my sugar intake.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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