On Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays the local farms bring their wares. Today I was able to find carrots that traveled no more than 50 miles. Now other than the carrots I grow in my front yard, you can't get any more local.
I did grow carrots this season, but I did not grow enough to can for the winter, so I am supplementing my crop with those of a local farmer. Four dollars for a couple of glorious bunches. The stall worker asked if I wanted to top the leaves, but I give those to the chickens for a treat, so I said, "No. Thank you!" and was on my walk back to the office.
I love a beautiful carrot and these are some lovely carrots, and sweet!
I scrubbed the carrots down and then gave them a peeling, scrubbed them down again and plopped them into a bowl of cold water as I got the jars and lids ready.
I gave the peelings to the chickens which made them even happier! I like happy chickens, that means they lay happy eggs which make my belly happy!!
I like canning veggies in pint jars because I feel that is the right amount for two people most of the time. Less waste than opening a quart and then not finishing it. Others might prefer quarts.
I will usually slice my rounds about a half inch thick. Does that mean they are all a 1/2 inch? No. Some are 3/4 of an inch and others are 1/4 inch. It all evens out.... (bad joke, sorry)
Anyways, I get my carrots sliced up and I put a kettle on to boil. I figure if I do not have to ladle hot liquids if I don't gotta then I wont.
I pour my carrots into a hot empty jar (sadly I do have to add the empty jar part...) and pack them in tight until they squeak.. Then I add about a half teaspoon of salt and poor in my hot water from the kettle. Easy Peasy!
Vegetables in order to be canned safely must be pressure canned.
If you have not added any kind of acid, such as lemon juice or vinegar and are simply strait canning vegetable with a water base then the vegetables MUST be processed in a pressure canner in order to make sure all pathogens and bacteria have been killed.
A water bath canner will work for jams, jellies, pickles, pie filling and such because fruits are generally high in acids, you have added an acid; such as vinegar or lemon juice, or you have used a large quantity of sugar. These factors retard bacterial growth on these items.
Unfortunately with vegetables they are lacking in acids and in order for them to be safely canned only the high heat and pressure of a pressure canner will sufficiently kill the natural bacteria that can grow out of hand.
And now that I have sufficiently scared you...
You will now process the cans at Ten lbs in your pressure canner! For pints you will need to process them for 25 minutes at ten pounds and for Quarts, 30 minutes.
Make sure to read the instructions for your pressure canner. Most now-a-days are very easy to use and you should have very little fear of the exploding pressure canner of olden days. The ones made in the last 30-40 years are very safe. Be a little wary of your grandmother's pressure canner though, the ones that have clamps. As long as you keep an eye on the pressure you will be fine.
Do not try to remove the lid when it is still processing or until the pressure gauge has dropped down to zero. When you go to take the lid off, do not be surprised if it makes a POP sounds.
I tend to remove my jars once the pressure has been released and let them cool on the counter. Other people leave them in the pressure cooker to cool down inside. Both work.
Be very careful, the jars are scalding hot and will be for a while. You will know that you are properly sealed once you hear the ping of the lid and the top is firm. The sounds of the pop/ping of the lid sealing is one of my most favourite sounds.
When you are ready to pop open your canned carrots in the winter, look into the jar closely. Is there any growth along the top or sedimentation that looks iffy on the bottom? When you pop open the jar does it smell funny? If there is ANY doubt, throw it out.
Botulising yourself is not fun. Don't even chance it.