Monday, 20 September 2010

Preserve the Harvest - Pressure Canning Carrots

Is pressure canning new to you? Me too. Scary? Only if you haven't done it before. Pressure canning is the only safe way to can low acid foods like carrots, beans, even meats. I have a system for getting over your fear of new gadgets though. Simply unpack said gadget, in this case the pressure canner, and let it sit in plain view for one week. I had mine sit out on the dining room table. After a week you will be much more comfortable with it, and, since you also left the booklet out in plain view, you are now very familiar with the instructions.

I had the opportunity to review the Presto 23qt Pressure Cooker and Canner for Cookware.com (CSN Stores)
Stats:
  • 23-Qt liquid capacity
  • Easy-to-read gauge automatically registers a complete range of processing temperatures
  • Air vent/cover lock allows pressure to build up only when the cover is closed properly and prevents the cover from opening until pressure is safely reduced
  • Presto Pressure Canners also double as water bath canners for preserving fruits, jams, jellies, pickles and salsas
  • Canners are constructed of extra-strong, warp-resistant aluminum and are suitable for use on regular and smooth-top ranges
  • Includes cooking/canning rack and complete instruction and recipe book
  • Mason Jar Capacity: 24 Half-Pints, 20 Pints, 7 Quarts
Lemme tell you. It is big! And strong, and remarkably easy to use. In fact I now think pressure canning is much easier (and less steamy) than the water-bath canning that I am used to! I pressure canned some lovely local carrots and I feel like a super-hero. Look at those pretty jars! The canner is great, and a good deal for your buck. Presto is a respected name in pressure cookers and canners and I felt this one was very well designed.
For my carrots:
Some sources say to add salt, others didn't, so I compromised and added ¼ tsp kosher salt and also added in ¼ tsp spices to each jar. Two jars had cumin seeds, two had dill seeds, two had black peppercorns and two had fennel seeds. Yum!


PRESSURE CANNING VEGETABLES
Pressure canning vegetables is the ONLY SAFE METHOD for canning vegetables.

Young, tender, fresh vegetables, slightly immature, are better for canning than those which are overripe. As a rule, vegetables are best if canned immediately after picking, since flavor decreases upon standing and often unpleasant color changes take place. Avoid bruising vegetables because spoilage organisms grow more rapidly on bruised vegetables than on those that are unblemished.

Wash and prepare garden fresh vegetables as you would for cooking.

To raw pack vegetables, simply place the prepared vegetables into clean, hot Mason jars and cover with boiling water.

To hot pack vegetables, precook in boiling water until heated through. Pack pre-cooked vegetables into clean, hot Mason jars and cover with boiling water. Whenever possible, the precooking water should be used as liquid to cover the vegetables after packing into Mason jars. However, there are a few vegetables, such as greens and asparagus, which make the cooking water bitter and undesirable to use.

When packing vegetables, leave 1-inch headspace in Mason jars.

Foods may be processed with or without salt. If salt is desired, use only pure canning salt. Table salt contains a filler which may cause cloudiness in bottom of jars. Add 1/2 teaspoon canning salt to each pint jar, 1 teaspoon to each quart jar, if desired.

Follow step-by-step directions for your pressure canner. Process specific vegetables according to the following recipes.

When canning food in regions less than 2,000 feet altitude (dial gauge canner) or 1,000 feet altitude (weighted gauge canner), process according to specific recipe. When canning food in regions above 2,000 feet altitude (dial gauge canner) or 1,000 feet altitude (weighted gauge canner), process according to the chart below.


ALTITUDE CHART FOR CANNING VEGETABLES

ALTITUDE

DIAL GAUGE CANNER
Pints and Quarts

WEIGHTED GAUGE CANNER
Pints and Quarts

1,001 – 2,000 ft.

11 lbs.

15 lbs.

2,001 – 4,000 ft.

12 lbs.

15 lbs.

4,001 – 6,000 ft.

13 lbs.

15 lbs.

6,001 – 8,000 ft.

14 lbs.

15 lbs.
Processing time is the same at all altitudes

CARROTS
Wash thoroughly and scrape young, tender carrots. Carrots may be left whole, sliced, or diced.
Raw Pack—Pack raw carrots tightly in clean, hot Mason jars, leaving 1-inch headspace.
Hot Pack—Cover carrots with boiling water, bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes. Pack hot carrots in clean, hot Mason jars, leaving 1-inch headspace.
Cover with boiling water leaving 1-inch headspace. Adjust jar lids.
Dial Gauge Canner—Process at 11 pounds pressure - Pints 25 minutes and Quarts 30 minutes. For processing above 2,000 feet altitude, see chart for recommended pounds of pressure.
Weighted Gauge Canner—Process at 10 pounds pressure - Pints 25 minutes and Quarts 30 minutes. For processing above 1,000 feet altitude, see chart for recommended pounds of pressure.