I love to garden. It’s one of my favorite things about summer. I even really enjoy weeding which my husband finds strange. I think it’s therapeutic, which is funny because as a kid I hated it. It took me all day, sometimes all week. I hated it so much. But now since it’s my choice and I have my own kids who get to help in this wonderful experience I love it, I really do. The reason being is because we get to enjoy the fruits of our labor. I don’t have to go the store when I need an onion or a carrot. I just walk myself out the back door and dig up what I need, wash it up, cut it, cook it and eat it. It’s that simple.
Even better is that with some of those amazing things I have planted I can preserve them. I am not saying that I am a master at this. In fact, I had some problems with this carrot preserving that I am sharing with you today. This wonderful path that we are on called life, allows us to make mistakes and learn from them and I for one learned a valuable one.
So my thoughts on persevering anything is this: It’s starts out great. It’s fun. It’s so fulfilling. I love it. By the end I’m thinking, “Why did I start this? This was so stupid? How much more is there? Why did I plant so much?” Here’s the my problem: Why does everything have to be ready at the same time? Can’t it spread it’s self out a little bit better? It seems I finish one fruit just as a vegetable gets done and then the cycle repeats itself. It’s a good 6 weeks of canning, freezing and drying.
Now let me tell you why I DO it. You should see my pantry. I love looking at the shelves and getting the sense of satisfaction knowing that I did that. I didn’t go to the store and pay for it. I did it. All by myself. From start to finish. And while I hated it. No, loathed it, from about the middle to the end, I have a year of more supply of home-grown food waiting to be used and that my friends makes it all worth it.
So carrots. We love them in our house. They are delicious and I remember hearing as a girl that they are good for our eyes. So how great is it if you can just grab a bag out of the freezer or a can off of the shelf for a meal if you need it? Pretty great.
I have 2 recipes that I have used before and I tried canning carrots for the first time for this post. I’m just going to share with you what I learned, some tips, and recipes so that you can try them. I will tell you the reasons that I did my carrots the way that I did.
This recipe is great when I don’t have a lot of time for dinner or haven’t thought about what I am cooking. It tastes delicious and I can throw it with some chicken and rice and have a healthy dinner in no time and I didn’t have to peel or cut them. And the kids love them too.
32 Cups of Carrots-washed, peeled and sliced
1 Cup of Butter
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 TBS Salt
6 Cups Water
Quart size freezer bags
Put in a big pot and bring it to a boil for 5 minutes. Have a sink full of ice water ready. After 5 minutes is up place pot in sink of ice-cold water. Scoop out of pot and place in freezer bags and remove all air. Be sure to date bags. I like to put on the bag how many cups of carrots I put in there.
Shredded Freezer Carrots
I have told you that I love soup when the weather turns colder but sometimes I fail to make them because of all the prep work that goes into it. This great way of preserving carrots makes soups a snap. I have a hamburger soup recipe and a ham and potato soup recipe that call for shredded carrots and I’ll be making them a lot more now that I have these handy and ready to just toss in.
Wash and Peel Carrots
Shred Carrots-I use this and it is amazing and gets them shredded in no time.
Quart size freezer bags
Fill a pan 2/3 full of cold water and bring to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice-cold water and keep it in the sink. Blanch the carrots by putting them in the boiling water for 2 minutes after the water has returned to a boil. Drain the carrots in a colander and pour them immediately into the bowl of ice water. Press the colander down on top of the carrots in ice water to keep all the carrots submerged. Soak the carrots for 2 minutes. Pour the carrots back in the colander and then put them on a paper towel and pat them dry. Refrigerate them for 30 minutes so they that are fully dry are chilled before freezing. Place the carrots in airtight freezer bags or containers. Remove all the air as you seal the bag. Place in freezer. These will keep for a year.
This next way of preserving carrots was a doozy for me.I love carrot cookies and when my sister-in-law told me this is how she makes her it made sense that this was how I wanted to try to make mine so this was my trial run. I had my fair share of problems with it but in the end I was victorious and proud of myself. It is canning carrots. First thing first: You can not, I repeat CAN NOT warm bath carrots. Maybe you already knew this but for me I wasn’t sure. I found different things on the internet. If you have for some reason warm bathed a batch you have 24 hours to reprocess them or they are ruined. Just a good FYI. So with that being said carrots are one of those products that MUST be pressure canned-not even sure if that’s the proper term. It is due to the acid level in the carrots. Once again good lesson for me.
Carrots-washed, peeled, sliced
I did the Raw-pack method. Wash all your jars and make sure that they are clean and ready to be used. Place your lids in a pan with water and put them on to boil. Place a pan of water on to boil, enough that you will be able to fill your jars after the carrots are packed in. Fill hot jars full of carrots tightly leaving 1 inch from the top. I like to shake them around to make sure that there isn’t any room for them to move. They shrink when they are pressure cooking. I didn’t add salt but it is at this point that you can, 1 tsp is enough. Once your water is boiling add it to the jars leaving one inch head space. Wipe the rim, place lid on and screw in ring until tight, not too tight though. Place jars in pressure cooker placing water half way up the jars. Lock lid on and allow pressure to build. My recipe was 10 lbs of pressure for 25 minutes. Once pressure has built start your timer. When 25 minutes are up remove from heat and allow pressure to decrease and lid to unlock. Remove from pressure cooker and wait for them to seal, it may take up to 24 hours . Once seal you can store them. Use within a year.
There you have it my fun-filled carrot week, yes it took me a week. That was while being a mom and trying to get kids where they needed to go, but the good news is I did it and I am proud of myself. I can look at what I’ve accomplished and know that every time I pull a jar or bag out that it came from our garden and that I made it with my hands and it has a whole lot of love sweat and tears in it. And I can’t wait for next year to start this fun journey all over again.