Canning is a year round endeavor for me. As jars are used and emptied it seems as if there is always something waiting to go back in them. For today there were carrots that I had caught on sale and after making several dishes the remainder needed to be dealt with. So it was time to put them in jars.
For those of you who have not canned before you can follow along in the Ball Blue Book on page 67 under Carrots. If you are new to canning this book is the first place to start. It is sort of the canners bible.
The First thing is to wash, peel, and slice your carrots. As you can see these carrots were trying to sprout.
Next thing place your pressure cooker on the stove and put in about 2 inches of water and turn on low to heat the water. Place another large pot on the stove of water to boil. This will be poured over your carrots in the jars as a packing fluid. I also put a small pot of water on to get warm and put my lids in the water.You do not want your lids to boil but are rather heating them and then keeping them warm until they go on your jars. While all of this is going I take clean jars and heat them to sterilize them.
I have heard of many people doing this differently. Some run them through the dishwasher on a sani cycle. Some put them in a low oven on a cookie sheet to keep them warm. For me personally I put them in a large pot and pour boiling water over them and put the lid on the pot to hold the heat until I am ready to use them.
I know from experience that my canner will hold 9 pints easily and that is about the amount of carrots that I have to be canned. .
Once your large pot of water on the stove is at the boiling point I turn it off. Then I take my carrots and place them in the hot jars. To each jar I add half a teaspoon canning salt.
Fill jars 1" from the top rim of the jar. The blue tool you see there measures the distance from the rim of the jar.
Then pour boiling water from your big pot over the carrots and salt in the hot jars. I dip a large Pyrex measuring cup full and then pour it into my jars.
The other end of this flat blue tool goes around the edge of the jar helping to release trapped air bubbles in your jar. Do this to each jar. (Do not use a metal knife)
Then I take a clean coffee filter and wipe off the rim of the jar to clean any food particles or salt off of the rim. If not these can prevent your lid from sealing properly. (coffee filters leave no lint)
Then place hot lids on clean jar rims. This can be done easily with a small tool that can be purchased with a magnet on the end made just for this. No burned fingertips.
Now place the hot sealed jars in your pressure cooker with the hot water in it. Never place hot jars with boiling water in them into cold water in a pressure cooker. They will break! You always want to heat your water before the jars go in. Also notice the tool for lifting jars. A must for canning.
Most pressure cookers only require from 2 to 3 inches of water in the bottom. Your pressure cooker should come with directions. Some cookers may vary.
Now put the lid on your pressure cooker. This is a dial gauge pressure cooker. See the gauge in the middle, this measures your pounds of pressure right now it is on zero. The small pipe sticking up on the right is a vent pipe. The small round circle in front is just smaller than a dime and is the safety valve. Right now it is in the down position. I now turn my stove to medium high heat and you want to heat the pot until heavy steam comes out of that vent pipe for about 5 minutes.
Now place your pressure regulator over the vent pipe. The pressure regulator is that small round weight with a little black handle on top. This blocks the steam from escaping and now your steam is building in your pot. Look in the very front and you see where your little dime size safety valve has popped up. The gauge here is now on about 2 pounds pressure.
In this picture your gauge is now on 10 pounds pressure. You want to hold this setting by adjusting your burner down if it starts climbing higher. Carrots need to cook at 10 pound pressure for 25 minutes. At the end of 25 minutes turn the eye off completely and walk away. ( Do not take top off until your safety valve has dropped to the original down position and your gauge in on 0 pounds pressure. Now remove your pressure regulator off of vent pipe. Remove lid carefully. Remember there is still a small amount of steam in the pot that will rush out when the lid is opened so open away from your face.
Remove your jars and place them on a folded towel to protect your counter or table.
When you first take your jars out the lids will have a small dimple in the top just like when you put them on the jar. (don't be surprised if they seal as you are taking them from the pot)
As they cool the lid pulls down and that dimple disappears. When it does it makes a pinging sound. Music to my ears when my jars start serenading me. I usually let my jars sit overnight to cool completely. Then I remove the rings and make sure all my lids have pulled down or sealed. Then my jars are washed down with warm soapy water to remove any residue from cooking then dried. I write the name of the contents and the date. From there they go into my pantry to be stored where it is cool and dry.
Blessings from The Holler
The Canned Quilter