I love growing my own food in the garden to can, but let’s be realistic for a few minutes. There are times when there is a “crop failure” and you simply do not get enough of one item to can up for your family. There are also those that are unable to grow a garden. It could be that you live in the city and do not have the space, or perhaps you are renting and your landlord will not allow you to modify the lawn to accommodate a garden. Or perhaps, because of family life and job, there are simply not enough hours in the day to get out there and do the extra work it takes to plant, nurture, water, and harvest a garden crop. It happens. No two families are the same. I could sit here and preach to you about how it can be done, in 15 minutes a day, everyone has 15 minutes a day….but who would I be kidding? Certainly not you! Many people MAY be able to do this in 15 minutes a day….but YOU may not be one of them.
Or, perhaps, like me, you have a major crop failure this year. Yes, I have no green beans….or carrots….this year. But, there are other ways to get your hands on produce to can. That in itself will eventually be a blog post of its own, but for now, just know there are many ways to get fresh produce to put up for your family in the freezer or to can without having to grow your own garden. One way is to watch for produce sales. That is exactly how I came to have 20# of fresh raw carrots.
In our area in Southwest Missouri, we have a chain of stores called Aldis. they are becoming more widely known and are moving outward throughout the county. They are currently in 36 states and 16 other countries. From my perspective, they are very likely to change the way America shops. They are very inexpensive in the scheme of things. They offer wonderful fresh products, boxed goods, dry goods, dairy and meats. I remember when I would shop there for canned goods and go elsewhere to get any meat, dairy, or produce we might need, but not anymore. They have it all at this point, and still remain much cheaper than competitors. They also have wonderful sales. I bought those carrots for 49 cents a pound. So, for less than ten dollars, I have enough carrots to last Papa and I all year long. That may not sound like many, but considering, for the most part it is just the two of us, and he is not fond of cooked carrots, it will be plenty. I could re-phrase that, and say it will be enough for ME for the year.
Regardless, that is the story behind my carrot canning for 2016. So, let’s move on the process I used to turn 20# of raw carrots into 41 pints of home canned goodness.
I failed to get pictures of wiping the rims and placing the lids and rings. Just be sure to remember to wipe the rims of the jars of any debris before placing the lid and ring. May use vinegar water, but I usually just use a damp cloth unless the jar is filled with something extremely thick or sticky. Place flat lid on jar, add ring and tighten, finger tight before placing in the canner. Be sure to use appropriate rack in bottom of canner along with recommended amount of water. For more details on these pressure canning steps, see the post on Pressure Canning Corn.
In addition to the simple method explained above, you can also hot pack your carrots, buy placing them in a large pot and bringing them to a boil or near boil for 5 minutes and completing the process as described. Carrots can also be canned in a sweet syrup, using 2 cups water, 2 cups water and 1 cup orange juice. I’ve not tried this one yet, but it comes with rave reviews, and I believe it would make excellent candied carrots. Just heat and top with butter and cinnamon for a wonderful winter treat.
Watch for more ways to provide your family with wonderful, chemical free, home canned goodness without having your own garden. A big part of Modern Missouri Pioneers is helping everyone bring some of the ways of yesterday into their lives today. Start where you are, and enjoy the journey.