Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Canning Carrots

One of the easiest thing in the world to can is carrots.  And the great thing about canning carrots is that you don't have to wait until the summer to can them.  Whenever you get an incredible price on carrots is the right time to do it!

For me, one of the biggest problems I have is that unfortunately we have a tendency to waste food.  When I purchase one of the standard size cans of veggies from the store, we always have some of the veggie of the evening left over and it always ends up in the trash which irritates me to no end.  I have checked in the past into trying to purchase smaller cans of veggies.  The problem is that a lot of the stores in my area don't carry the smaller and the smaller cans I feel are pretty expensive so I opt not to purchase them.

I had to stop at Wal-Mart today to get dog food and I noticed they had pretty good size bags of carrots on sale for $.88/each.  I purchased two and decided it was time to get the pressure cooker out and put it to work. 

No in canning, typically most stores carry 2 sizes of jars, pints and quarts.  Well if a regular 14 to 16 ounce jar of veggies leaves us with left overs that end up in the trash, I certainly wasn't going to use quart size jars so I decided to use the pint size jars and I think they are going to be perfect.  I ended up making 8 jars of the 2 bags.  My husband looked at the jars and said he thought they were going to be the perfect size for us and if we had company come over we could just open another jar.

Fortunately I had plenty of pint sized jars left and a package of lids as well so I didn't have to pay any money for either.  Remember when you start canning that you will dish out some money in the beginning to purchase items needed, such as jars, lids, pressure cooker, etc., but the cost will definitely be worth it over time with the money you will save at the grocery store. 

1)  In canning you always need to "sterilize" your jars, bands and lids.  No exception.  Put a pop of boiling water on the stove, drop the jars, bands and lids into it and get busy cleaning your veggies.  I let my items boil for a good 10-15 minutes.  No risking any germie guys.

2)  With carrots, I like to slice mine.  I have a Faborware 5 Blade Mandoline Slicer which I think every kitchen should have.  It can be used for so many things and is a definite time saver for canning.  I simply peel the skins off the carrots and use the slicer to slice the carrots up to the thickness I desire.

3)  After you slice your carrots you will want to cook them for just a little bit.  Get a big pot, drop your sliced carrots in it, cover the carrots with water and bring to a boil.  Once it is boiling, simmer for 5 minutes and you are now ready to can the carrots.

4)  Fill your jars up to 1/2 inch of the top with carrots.  I use a wood spoon handle to gently push the carrots down to take up space and get rid of the air pockets.  Then ladle in the water you used to cook the carrots.  Remember the jars will quickly become very hot as you are pouring in hot contents so please be careful.  Ladle in the water to 1/2 inch from the top of the jar.  Put the lid and band and be sure not to over tighten.

5)  Now you will put the jars into your pressure cooker.  I don't have a little canner rack yet so I just put the extra bands I have in the bottom of the pressure cooker and it works like a charm.  You don't want your jars sitting directly on the bottom of the pressure cooker.  Normally you should pour a couple of inches of boiling water into the canner, but I always cover the pints with water to make sure and get full coverage.  I have never had a problem doing it this way.  I bring my pressure cooker up to full pressure (this begins your cooking time) and keep it there for 10 minutes.  In all honesty, according to the pressure cooking time table, you only need to keep it there for 2.5 minutes but I believe that is probably geared more towards vegetables that have been completely cooked.  Never had a problem with the 10 minute range and they taste great.

So for today and the total cost of $1.76 I put up 8 pints of carrots which equals $.22/pint.

As I said above, your jars and bands can be used time and time again if you take good care of them.  The lids always need to be replaced after use.  They can usually be picked up at Wal-Marts, K-Marts, etc. as a pretty reasonable price.  Don't forget to check the Ball website for possible coupons.

And remember, any time carrots go on sale is a great time to can them.  The cost ends up being cheaper than store bought in the long run.
This post is part of the Becentsable Gathering Compensated Affiliate

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