Gleaning season has begun and I now have 5 burlap bags to process. I have several things I plan to make with them, but the simplest one is plain ole canned carrots. I don’t do anything special to them, I prefer to do that when making dinner. This makes canning them easy and cheap. Since I got the carrots for free, and am barely using any salt, the most expensive part is buying the lids for the jars.
The advantages of canning vegetables is that you are saving freeze space for other things. Freezing requires blanching which is simple, but you have to be quick and allow the vegetables to dry to prevent them from freezing together or ice crystals forming on them. I will freeze some to be used when making casseroles for the freezer, but I mainly can them. The last advantage is that if you live in a area where the electricity regularly goes out,ou don’t need to worry about food getting thawed and needing to be tossed,
the big question is, how much carrots do you buy per quart? It takes approximately 17.5 pounds to produce 7 quarts of carrots. A full pot of 9 pints would require approximately 11 pounds. If buying by the bushel, keep in mind that is 50 pounds worth. The average suggested serving size of canned carrots is 1-2 a cup per person.
When preparing fresh carrots I prefer to leave the skins on. I don’t mind the texture and there are a lot of nutrients right under the skin. This means peeling them takes them away. But when it comes to canning I think peeling is a necessity, since this is just my opinion you can leave them on. Just be sure to thoroughly scrub the skin so there is absolutely no trace of dirt on them.
Once the carrots are peeled I cut into 1/4 inch rounds. You can dice or cube them if you like. That is the beauty of canning, you make it how you like it. Place them into a jar leave 1 1/2 inch head space. The carrots will swell when cooked so if you overfill the jars you won’t have enough liquid or they will end up touching the lid. I add 1 teaspoon canning salt to each quart sized jar, (1/2tsp for pints) but again this is my preference. You can cut it down as much as you want as it isn’t required. When used during cooking salt amplifies flavor so adding it now means I won’t when I prepare them. Many just leave the salt out completely.
If you intend to add the jars to a pot of hot water, the water going into the jars needs to be hot. I tend to do cold packing so I make up jars all day and have them all processed by the end of the night. This means I can add cold water straight into the jar. If you add cold jars to hot water you risk it shattering. Whichever method you prefer, follow the recommended guidelines for cleaning the jars, lids and rings. Leave 1 inch head space on the jars and be sure to remove all bubbles. Wipe the rims with a wet paper towel, place on the lid with ring and tighten finger tight.
Process pints 25 minutes and quarts for 30 minutes in a pressure canner. Vegetables MUST be done in a pressure canner to ensure they are safely processed. Be sure to use the correct pounds of pressure for your altitude.
Allow the canner to vent for 10 minutes before adding the weight, do not remove the weight until the pressure is back down to zero. I let t canner set for 10 minutes before removing the lid and another 15 in the canner to cool. Letting the jars sit in the hot water for a bit helps to prevent water siphoning out. Place in a towel to cool for a full 24 hours before removing the rings. Throughly wipe down the jars and date each of them before placing I the shelf.
Wasn’t that easy? Now you have carrots with no sugar added and as little salt as needed for your diet or preferences.