Carrots

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Goodness, I am still posting a day late! I do not like it! Sigh. It is in my power to change it. Maybe later… that is how this cycle of late posting started!

Sometimes it takes me a while to get up to speed, and food preservation is one of those activities that gets easier the more time spent. The last ten pounds of carrots were peeled this morning. As I prepared the cutting board to chop them up for cooking in the pressure canner, I remembered that I had a far easier way to deal with chopping bulk vegetables. The food processor!

I bought my food processor back when I was a Home Economics teacher in the public school system. It is a Cuisinart, the largest model at the time, one of the original machines. It was an ambitious purchase for a young woman, living in a small apartment, but I never regretted it! It has been in steady use for over 35 years. About fifteen years ago a replacement bowl was purchased, the first one simply wore out from frequent use.

This Cuisinart came with slicing attachment disks. So, I set it up with the largest slicing disk, and in three minutes I had sliced the whole ten pounds of carrots.

Slicing the carrots with the Cuisinart.
CuisinartCarrotSlice

The sliced carrots went into the pressure canner, with four cups of water, the canner was closed, the weight gauge placed on the lid and the heat turned on. This time it took about twenty minutes to bring the pressure up to fifteen pounds, then the heat was turned off and the canner was left to cool till the gauge read zero. After removing the lid, the fully cooked carrots were gently scooped out of the liquid and put in a colander to drain over a bowl. The cooking liquid went into the soup pot, another stone soup with dumplings for dinner.

When the carrots cooled I spooned them into 12 plastic cups, placing the cups in a cake pan which when fully loaded was set into the freezer to flash freeze the carrots. When they were solidly frozen I dipped the cups into hot water, one by one, tapping the bottoms of the cups to release the carrot pucks into a plastic bag, to be stored in the freezer until use.

The sliced, cooked carrots are ready to go into the freezer. They were cool when I put them into these plastic cups, I always try to avoid letting hot food come into contact with plastics. They were purchased as “disposable” cups about twenty years ago. The advantage to them for this kind of freezing project is that the bottoms are a bit flexible, which means they can be pressed to release frozen contents. Glass just would not work as well for releasing frozen contents easily. Hmmm… I wonder if there are silicon cups that would do this job equally well. Something to explore on a slow day!
CookedCarrotFreezing

All of this was accomplished by 9:30 a.m. this morning. When I finally sat down to enjoy a cold glass of water, the sun was shining and we were well into another beautiful autumn day.

Terra called this morning, from an apple orchard! She and a friend were picking at a “pick your own” apple farm, and she wanted to know if a half bushel of apples would make a good amount of applesauce. I told her it would, but since I could not see the size of the apples I couldn’t really guess how many apples it would take to fill a one litre jar with applesauce. I could tell her that it cooks down significantly, the volume of apples is not the same as the volume of the resulting applesauce from those apples.

There was a lot of rain here, and north of here, last weekend. The storms explain why our power was out when we arrived home at the country house late Sunday night. North of the country house, in the area where our camp is located, there were serious problems with rising waters. In fact there were a good many roads there that were not “car passable”. There were creeks running over the roads, and some sections of various roads were washed out. Harriet and Hogan happened to be at their cottage on Sunday, and she told me that the creek just down the road from their cottage was running six inches deep across the road. We haven’t been to the camp to see how it fared during this extreme weather, we have our fingers crossed that all is well there. We will have to drive up to check on it soon, and to check on Granny and Grandpa’s house as well, which is high and should be dry.

Left to right, five one litre jars of Chili Sauce, six 500 ml jars of Tomato Pepper Salsa, six 500 ml jars of Tomato Salsa. This might last six months, but perhaps not, Attila loves acidic foods, and loves this Salsa. I am a big fan of the Chili Sauce.NOTE: I am still using the bulk pickling spice I purchased more than 25 years ago. It had no preservative in it, and is still providing excellent flavour in the Chili Sauce. The current pickling spices on the market today all contain preservatives, and I am allergic to them. Soon I will have to make my own pickling spice. It seems gratuitous to me, to be adding preservatives to a product that can maintain its quality for more than 25 years without any preservatives. Are they thinking this stuff needs to last for thousands of years?!?!? I am a little miffed at the companies that use preservatives, when none are needed for a reasonable shelf life of the product. Concentrated lemon juice is another product laced with preservatives, for no reason other than extending an already long shelf life. Really, who wants to buy concentrated lemon juice that is a decade old?

ChiliSauceSalsas

Worldly Distractions

Weather

14°C
Date: 8:00 PM EDT Wednesday 24 September 2014
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 103.2 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 13.6°C
Dewpoint: 13.3°C
Humidity: 98%
Wind: ESE 5 km/h

Quote

“Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it’s just the opposite.”
John Kenneth Galbraith
1908 – 2006

You know, I find it difficult to fathom that John Kenneth Galbraith was actually an Economist! The one’s I met while in graduate school bore no resemblance to him, intellectually or philosophically. I have always enjoyed Mr. Galbraith’s writing, and his insights. I wonder if what I “hear” when I read his words are actually what he was “saying”. All too often it is the case that fine words are stealthily crafted to cloth the beast of the machine, the wolf in sheep’s clothing, so to speak. I truly wish I could have met the man, face to face!

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5 Responses to Carrots

  1. WendyNC says:

    Maggie, I really and truly wish I could come spend a day working in the kitchen with you and learning, hands-on, the knowledge you have acquired about processing and storing food. I do well enough with cooking, but would love to learn more about doing the beans and the chili.

  2. Maggie says:

    Wendy, that would be so much fun!

    One of the things about the home preservation of food is that it is extremely time consuming. I didn’t do a lot of it when I was holding down a full time job, I just did not have the energy to tackle five hours of focused effort after working for eight hours, and driving for more. I am so very lucky right now to be able to devote so much time to preserving, particularly when there is a learning curve involved with the new pressure canner.

    I wonder if working women could manage small “canning groups”, get together for a full day of canning together, in a large kitchen setting, with enough stove tops to run multiple canners. What a blast that would be, to work together during harvest season, in great company, experienced and inexperienced, to produce a winter’s worth of canned vegetable. I live in a fantasy world I think, but it is lovely in here! Still, you would think that with all the lonely people in the world, such an activity would have a lot to offer. Ahem, I guess there is a little bit of failed social engineer in me, lol!

  3. I’m a little caught on preservatives in lemon juice. I know that we’ve ‘lost’ a bottle of lemon juice in the refrigerator at one time and when we found it about 6 months later it really had gone bad, turning brown, so looks like those preservatives aren’t working too well.

    Sorry to hear that you’re allergic to some preservatives. I can be reactive to sulfites, I have trouble breathing after having consumed them, and you can find them in all kinds of places: wines, on salads keeping the lettuce green. Not good. 🙁

    DH and I would take his (non-bio) daughter out apple picking for many years, when she was younger. It was a fun thing to do with kids. Also took the grandkids last year, when they were staying with us while their parents were away at a wedding. Now we don’t do the apple picking anymore as the prices for the apples are quite a bit higher than what you pay in the grocery store for similar quality.

    Hope your camp has faired well in the the weather.

  4. Maggie says:

    Teri, something must have changed with the production of lemon juice, if sulphites couldn’t keep it going in the refrigerator. We buy lemon juice without preservatives, at a premium price, and lasts six months without significant loss of quality. That is the thing with processed foods, you really can’t tell what your getting these days.

    I know what you mean about the farm grab, their prices always used to be much lower than supermarkets, even twenty years ago, now they are more. When I visit the pick-your-own farm and see a huge farmhouse totally renovated, or a huge new home, or no home at all because it is large corporate farm, I know why the farmer is looking for high prices. When I grew up in farming country in Ontario, farmer’s were not looking to maintain a top-of-the-line lifestyle, with labour purchased from third world countries, just a good lifestyle, employing local teenagers to help with the seasonal work loads. It is sad to see the extreme changes in the food supply in Ontario, I watched it happening and each and every attempt to set things back on an even keel was co-opted by the flash and glitter of big business.

    I see home gardening becoming more acceptable and desirable, just to have access to good quality food at reasonable prices (the cost of seed, soil, water, and growing). Of course, with only 20% or less of the population living in houses, this is only going to benefit those of us affluent enough to afford some kind of a yard. The other 80% or so of the population is urban and living in high rises and other types of yardless buildings, where substantial gardening is not an option. We purchased our seedlings this past spring from a young fellow who started the seeds himself in his basement, but too many for his own use. His entire front yard was vegetable garden, beautiful, as his back yard was completely shaded by trees. He said the neighbours were positive about this, but I have heard that in some places the neighbours react negatively and seek legal action against people growing food in their own front yards.

    I am very keen to grow vegetables in the front yard at the little house, but we will have to wait until we live there to manage it, so maybe never, lol.

    It will be interesting to see how the camp fared in the storm. The property next door has a stream running through it, but our camp lot is very high by comparison, so the runoff would have to be significant indeed to affect us. We are hoping the driveway wasn’t swept away, because we just finished paying for it!

  5. TopsyTurvy (Teri) says:

    I’ve had veggie gardens in my backyard at other houses. I was not amused when someone came in the gate and cut the seed head off a large sunflower just as it was ripening! So now I’d never have a veggie garden anywhere other than a well-fenced, secure yard.