How to can carrots

I bet your first question is, why can carrots?  Sure they are available at the store year-round.  Sure they are cheap to buy.  Sure you can also get canned carrots at the store.  Ok, I think I just talked myself out of canning carrots - just kidding!

Carrots are so easy to grow in the garden.  We eat lots of them fresh, right out of the ground.  The extras I can to use during the winter in stews and soups (just add them at the end because they are already cooked and soft).

Here are the canning steps for making 7 pints, which is one round of pressure cooking in my canner.

1.  If you are at a Farmer's Market or the grocery store, choose uniform carrots that are about 1 - 1 1/4 inch in diameter.  If you grow your own, then you take what you can get and love it!  I don't worry about the amount because I use whatever I have.

2.  Wash, wash, wash.  All the dirt has to be removed.  I use a scrubber to take off as much as I'm able before peeling. 

Washed carrots 

4.  Trim and peel.  The greens usually just twist off, but you may have to cut with kitchen shears.  Peel and then rinse again.  You'll be amazed how much little dirt pieces were still there.

 Peeled carrots

5.  Start the water boiling.  Put one large pot with 8 cups of water on the stove and bring to boil.  Put another large pot on the stove and add the canning jars and lids, fill with water and bring to boil.

6.  Slice.  You can do this how ever you want.  I like mine as medallions, so I slice in 1/4 inch pieces.  Some people like cubed, but that is too much cutting for me.

 Sliced carrots

7.  Place the pressure cooker on the stove (you now have 3 of the 4 burners going).  Add the amount of water that is required for your cooker.  Mine takes 8 cups, but each pressure cooker is unique so make sure you know what your's needs.  Bring to boil.

8.  Using tongs, bring out the jars.  Pack the carrot medallions into the jars, leaving 1 inch head space.  (Note - if you don't leave enough head space, the jar will break.)

9.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to each pint jar (1 teaspoon per quart).  Ladle in the boiling water, leaving 1 inch head space.  Use a spatula or butter knife to remove any bubbles.  Secure lids.  This step needs to be done quickly to keep everything hot and prevent contamination.

10.  Place the pints in the pressure cooker and put the lid on.  (Hopefully, you have already read the instructions for your pressure cooker.)  When the steam is coming out steadily put on the weight and the pressure will start going up quickly.  When the pressure is about 2 pounds below what is need, turn down the heat to low.

11.  Pints of raw packed carrots need 25 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure.  You will have to babysit the cooker to make sure the pressure stays steady.  Adjust the temperature by just a little to make the pressure go up or down.

12.  When the time is up, turn off the heat, move the pressure cooker to the empty (cool) burner and let the pressure come down.  This can take a while, but you need to let it all cool by itself.  When the pressure is at zero you can remove the lid.  Make sure lift the lid away from your face or the steam will get you.  With tongs, lift out the jars.  Let them cool to room temperature.  Listen for the lovely sound of lids popping :-)

Finished carrots

13.  Any jars that don't seal should be eaten within the week - put those in the fridge.  The others will keep for a year - put those in your pantry.

14.  Never use a jar if the seal is broken or if the top is bulging. That means there is contamination in the jar.

Happy canning!

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