Simply Resourceful

Simple ways to be more conscious about how we use our resources.

Canning Carrots and Using a 41 Qt. All American Canner

The day started with only one simple task: preserve carrots.  Little did we know how much of an undertaking this was going to be...

This year we were a bit over-zealous with the carrot patch.  Last year, all of our root crops rotted with all the rain.  Thankfully we had enough jars left from the previous year that we managed to have enough carrots to last us through winter.  The idea of preserving a little extra because of next year's uncertainty is something I find very important in homesteading.  
This year's varieties: Danvers, Dragon, and St. Valery

Pulling root crops is so satisfying---you just never know how big the carrot will be!

There is a dual benefit to using the broadfork at this stage.  It helps find carrots that were missed during the first picking and it loosens the soil for buckwheat planting.  The soil doesn't stay bare for long!

That's a lot of carrots...

For Mother's Day this year I received the Bron Mandolin and a pair of cut resistant gloves.  While I cleaned the carrots, Jon cut them, and Paul put them in bowls.  Thank goodness for the help...a lot of work for one person!

This year Jon splurged and purchased the All American 41.5 quart liquid capacity canner.  There are many aspects about this canner we like: 
1. Made in Manitowoc, WI  
2. No rubber seal to replace  
3. It can process 19 quarts and 32 pints at one time!  

For six years I have used a seven quart canner, but Jon wants to save time in the kitchen and keep the heat from the canner outside during the hot, humid days.

The only negative aspect about this canner is its sheer size and inability to fit on my current glass-top stove. We threw around the idea of an open fire, but that adds an entirely different challenge with keeping pressure constant.  Jon and I would prefer not to use propane but short of getting a new range our choices were pretty limited.  In the future, we would like to have an outdoor kitchen with a sink hooked up to a grey water system and an old stove just for canning.  Until then, we are using the current set-up. 

It was a long grueling 13 hour day of processing carrots from start to finish.  Paul was a great helper and found ways to entertain himself.  This kid loves to build and design structures like this carrot castle!

I prefer to push through large projects in one day rather than extend them into the next day.  It was satisfying to wake up the next morning to all 73 quarts sealed waiting to be wiped down and stored.  

I think we have enough carrots to last us awhile, don't you think?  A few weeks ago Jon planted 2 rows of Solar Yellow Carrots for a fall harvest.  Jon just can't resist trying new varieties!  *sigh*  I think Jon and I can agree upon one thing: only plant carrots for fresh eating next summer. 




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About this blog

A weekly update on our adventures of trying to be more self-sufficient by using resources wisely. We explore a variety of topics that most broadly fit in the "Homesteading" category, i.e. beekeeping, organic gardening, edible landscaping/fruit forest, food preservation/canning, woodworking, soap-making, and environmental stewardship.

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