Thursday, October 3, 2013

Canning potatoes and carrots together

I like to can taters and carrots together in quart jars.  This makes it easy to throw together a stew at a moment's notice by adding either beef or chicken (Which I also can when I'm able to find it on sale). The veggies came from our garden and had to be scrubbed and rinsed several times to get the dirt off.

This is the first year that I've been successful at growing carrots and potatoes.  I'm sure this has to do with the raised beds that my husband made for me in the spring.  I think the earth here is just too compacted for things to grow well directly in the earth, especially root veggies.  So I've converted to raised beds, earth boxes and grow bags and had great results.
I have a love/hate relationship with my mandolin slicer.  They make evenly sliced veggies very quickly, which is great for canning--but dang, are they sharp!  If you cut yourself on one of these it will hurt a lot and take a long time to heal.  I slice those last few inches of carrot by hand to avoid getting cut.
There's a lot of photos of carrots because I am so proud that I grew them myself!
While I'm cutting up the veggies, I let the canning jars come to a boil and leave them at a gentle boil for at least 15 minutes.
I usually just use plain water and a teaspoon of canning salt to cover the veggies when I can them. So I set a pan of water on the stove to boil at the same time that I start sterilizing the jars, then turn it down to simmer to keep it hot until everything is ready.
I fill each quart jar about 2/3 full with cubed potatoes that I parboiled for 5 minutes and then rinsed.  I do this because potatoes release starch into the water when they cook and I've found that when I can them raw, the water looks very cloudy and unappetizing as a result. When I parboil them for just a few minutes I find the finished product looks clear and a lot  more appealing.
I fill the remaining third of the jar with the sliced carrots, add a teaspoon of canning salt or kosher salt, and add boiling water to cover the veggies, leaving 1" head space in the jar.  I removed air bubbles, add the lids and rings and process in a pressure canner at ten pounds of pressure for 40 minutes, after letting the canner vent for ten minutes. 
This is a time saver