I was wondering if packaged baby carrots from the produce section need to be cut up for proper canning. It sure would be convenient if they didn't need any prepping. My garden didn't do so good this year so I need to look elsewhere for my carrots.
Why bother canning store-bought prepped carrots? Around here you're lucky if you can get a 2-lb bag of "baby cut carrots" (which are huge, as big and thick as my thumb) for $3 on sale. Might as well buy canned carrots if you want canned carrots.
Canning your own home-grown, or farm-fresh carrots bought in bulk, yes, I can see that. But I can't see paying more for the prepping just to can an inferior product.
Baby cut carrots are available year-round (and I haven't noticed any seasonal variations in price) if you want them for snacking or cooking. I do buy them myself for lunchboxes (the 1-lb bags tend to have smaller more tender carrots - even though they tend to cost a bit more per lb - and I use any larger ones in stews, etc.).
Agree with the above but if you need some to add to soups and stews you are canning then I could see buying a couple of bags.
But yes I would at least cut them in half to insure proper heat penetration.
In defense of why bothering to can something available year round. I, personally, have no income 6 months out of the year. My business is a seasonal one and I have to do everything right in order to make ends meet. It is my choice to live more frugal in order to do what I want with my everyday. So I learned how to can with interests of saving on groceries in addition to nutritional benefits. Carrots don't grow well in my area. But, year round, a two pound bag of raw carrots will cost $2.79, except at Aldi's where they run sales for the EXACT same product for $.99!! You bet I bought many pounds of them and pressure canned and froze them. Baby carrots as well. Sales sometimes were 3 packages for $1! Year round baby carrots are much higher.
My sister was at Aldi and found baby carrots 3 1 pound bags for a dollar. Her 5 kids love cooked carrots. She bought as many as she could and canned them. While she was there she bought me 10 fresh pineapples for 99 cents each. I canned them even though they are available year round.
My husband is self employed and his work slows in the winter. We went through a couple rough years and I swore "no more". I can anything that is safe to can if I find a good deal on it. I don't buy big cans and break them down and reprocess in smaller jars, that is silly to me and as someone here said - it is a waste of resources.
Enjoy your carrots!
Well, that makes sense - I'd can a lot if I hit sales like that, and certainly if income fluctuated that much season-to-season. Though I wasn't impressed with sweet potatoes I bought from Aldi last year - they went rotten pretty quickly.
I've got to buy a PC this year to prepare for next year. Or maybe (and?) a generator, though a PC is much less $$ ;-). Preparing for Sandy now, going out to buy milk for the weekend, bottled water for next week, and going to start filling some food-grade buckets and quart jars with more water. Last Halloween we lost power for nearly a week - may happen again.
Here's the NCHFP link on carrots - it says slice or dice, and you don't want too large in diameter (though the way I read it, that's a quality issue). I think the stubby carrots I see around here are a bit big for good heat penetration, so I'd slice them into rounds or in half lengthwise to make sure they don't end up under-processed.
Here is a link that might be useful: Carrots
Thanks for the replies. I had been getting carrots at the farmers market for canning but while in Costo I came across a 5# bag of baby carrots already processed for the same price I was paying for larger carrots with dirt on them. It didn't seem like such a bad idea to can some of them.
Does this mean that some of you eat no fresh fruit or veg when money is tight? And do fresh carrots need to be ready-to-eat baby carrots? Main crop carrots, unprepared (which reduces the nutrients) have to be one of the cheapest vegetables available. I just looked up the price of carrots in a main supermarket here. Loose large carrots are 90 pence per kilo. Prepared baby carrots are 6 pounds 50 per kilo i.e. over 72 x the price. A ludicrous mark up for a few minutes with a kitchen knife. And loose carrots taste far better.
Canning would also reduce the nutrients. I can understand canning as an alternative to commercially canned food. But I can't get my head around using canned food as an alternative to fresh. If I wouldn't eat a canned carrot from a shop (which I wouldn't) I wouldn't want a canned carrot from my own store cupboard. I'm wondering if anyone has factored in the cost of jars, rings, fuel etc when comparing canned basic vegetables with fresh. I can't believe they are really a money saver.
I have to admit I pay for the convenience, and baby cut carrots are 1 thing I do buy year-round since 2 out of the 3 people who pack their lunch 3-5 times/week take them every day, and the 1 picky eater will always accept them as a veggie for dinner. We don't eat much else for fresh veggies during the winter - I did grow potatoes this year, but didn't save nearly enough to last us all winter (I was afraid they'd rot), though I will have enough for the next couple of months. I buy potatoes and sweet potatoes, winter squash, bananas pears and apples throughout the winter, and citrus when the price drops early in the year, but we do without tomatoes (except for grape tomatoes in the spring when I just can't wait any longer - they don't taste too bad then), summer squash, berries, etc. until May or so when they start appearing in the stores for reasonable prices. We eat a lot of tomato sauce, frozen veggies, canned beans and some canned fruit while we're waiting for fresh local produce to come back (into our garden or stores). I don't care much for the taste of canned veggies (though my mom prefers canned green beans to frozen).
I did try freezing some tomatoes (not even blanched - hope they'll be OK), zucchini, yellow squash, and green beans (all blanched) this year but again not nearly what we'd need so I did buy about 20 packages (most 12oz) of frozen veggies this week while they were on sale (99cents) to add to what I had in the freezer - now I hope we don't lose power. Also canned some peaches, DD has been eating those for lunch so they won't last much longer, we'll need to buy commercially-canned fruit in the new year.
But Flora's right, it might be less expensive to put away the money spent on the extra produce (even on sale), the lids (assuming you re-use jars and rings), and the electricity/gas and just buy whole carrots with the money you've saved/put away. The time you save not having to can the carrots could be used (when you're not busy working) to wash and cut them.
I know, frozen broccoli, beans, peas are even more expensive (even on sale!) than canned, but I think they're more nutritious than what's available "fresh" in the stores most of the year.
I guess for some it depends on their budget. Those of us who do seasonal work have no regulated income. It's important to have both money saved AND stored food put back. For others (and both) it's the thrill and love of doing their own gardening and preserving. Fresh carrots are great for salads and whatever. But preserved cooked carrots are time saving and suitable for certain dishes. People here in my neck of the woods buy fresh produce when it's in season. Who wants to eat crappy quality produce out of season when you can go to your storage and open a jar of what you got at a great deal??
Carrots and other roots veggies are in season now, and for a while longer. They also store well in the ground or in root cellars without canning. I agree with you on such things as fruit - see my list above of what I tend to buy "fresh" (which actually are stored after harvest) during the winter.
Of course we eat fresh vegetables and fruits during the winter - when finances allow. We don't resort to food stamps or the food banks during the lean times, it is just the 2 of us and we make do with what we have put back.
I also have plenty of grains and beans and dehydrated food put up. We are far from starving. There might even be some chocolate chips and candy some where around here. When some fruits - pineapple for instance are regularly 3.99 each and I can get them for 99 cents they are going into jars or the dehydrator.
This is one of the main reasons we LOVE high tunnels in the winter. We can have almost all the fresh greens, root vegetables and some herbs all winter long.
I truly believe that, in the future, there will be more small high tunnels in peoples yards. I also believe there needs to be more farms with High Tunnels near every city (big or small).
We still can and freeze some things, but with our winter gardens, we don't put up very much. We just switch our diet to fit what we are producing.
Last night it was a Chef Salad with fresh lettuce, carrots, turnips, bacon(from our pigs this summer), tomatoes and bell peppers (almost the end of the season for those last two).
I am sure you know, but baby carrots are just cut down and processed to be almost all the same size. They aren't truly "Baby" carrots. They should be called cut up carrots.
When I told my sister baby carrots were cut down from big carrots she didn't believe me. I asked her if she had ever seen fresh baby carrots with green tops? The look on her face when it dawned on her that what I was saying was true was priceless.
Worth mentioning -
Fresh is not always superior to canned or frozen in terms of nutrients.
Water-soluble vitamins (Vit. C and the B vitamins) are decreased after cooking, but the fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E, & K)are usually not affected by heat; fiber and mineral content is also usually unaffected.
Cooked carrots are actually higher in beta carotene than raw carrots. Cooked tomatoes are higher in lycopene than raw tomatoes.
I would much prefer my home frozen or canned produce to produce that has been shipped across the country and sat at the grocery store for who knows how long.
Also, we have been trying to eat more locally grown, seasonal produce. During the winter, that leaves us with fruit/veg that store well (apples, carrots, potatoes, onions, winter squash) or with canned/frozen products. We tend to have few salads in the winter.
We eat salad or something with greens almost 3-4 times a week all winter long. This is in addition to selling weekly.
Local grocery has 1 lb bags of baby cut carrots on coupon sale this week - 48 cents. There is a limit of one per purchase at that price, but... It "can" pay to watch the sales. ;)
Just bought some (not regular grocery shopping, just picking up milk, OJ, carrots after voting). $3.49 for 2 lbs - but a bunch of 5-6 (12 oz) with tops were $1.99/lb so bagged and precut was a better deal. I told the kids we are definitely planting carrots (again) next year, I just have to figure out what I'm doing wrong since we don't seem to get "baby" carrots, we get "fetal" - maybe I'm planting too late and picking too early?
Now, same store had winter squash 3lbs for 99 cents (lots of stores are 99 cents/lb) so we got 1 huge butternut - would have bought more but they looked like they were picked too early (some still had green streaks from top) and the stems were cut off so I was afraid they wouldn't keep.