I’ve been canning carrots like mad and boy, are they ever nice this year. They’re plenty sweet, crisp, and have few lumps, bumps or extra arms and legs. I’m in a groove now. First I soak half a five-gallon bucket full of carrots in cold water to soften the dirt on them (I don’t want that dirt to go down the drain and into the septic tank. It doesn’t break down and over the years it could create a layer of sand on the bottom of the septic tank.) Then I hand rinse them, rubbing off the dirt, in the same bucket as I take them out one by one, transferring them into my big kitchen sink half full of lukewarm water. On one side, I float my big bread bowl and one at a time, I rub off any clinging stains then, over the bowl, I pare off the skins slightly with an old-fashioned potato peeler. After rinsing the peeled carrot, I cut off the stem end far enough down so I don’t get the green (bitter!) circle around the core, then either slice or chunk the carrot right into my clean canning jars. Add a bit of salt and boiling water and process. It’s that easy and fast too, even though I’m doing it single-handed.

I first soak half a bucket of carrots in fresh water to soften and remove clinging dirt. It helps our septic tank so it doesn’t retain a layer of sand on the bottom.

Today I had to carry many jars of canned carrots down into the basement pantry as I have another bucket of carrots ready to go first thing tomorrow morning. Whew, I love to fill up those vacant spots in the pantry!

Our pantry shelves have very few empty spots now and the carrot section is filling up fast!

I’m also madly saving seeds from our many pumpkins and squash varieties. My friend, Dara, stopped by and I had Will cut open one of the Iran pumpkins. Those gorgeous sea-foam green pumpkin-like squash with salmon streaks have the absolute thickest meat of any we grow. She couldn’t believe it. We sent her home with a big chunk which she’s going to use in a recipe to take to church Sunday. A whole squash would feed two congregations!

Just look how thick Iran’s meat is! It surprises me every year.

Minnesota deer hunting season opens this Saturday and David is gearing up to hunt. He goes down to his brother’s hunting shack by Sturgeon Lake to hunt with “the boys.” As they, in their zone, can take either a buck or doe this year, I’m hoping David brings home the bacon (or venison, that is). Of course, we’re also taking in two nice steers to butcher on Monday so it isn’t like we need the meat, but we sure like our venison. It makes the best stew in the world. So cross your fingers for David! I’ll be canning carrots. — Jackie


  1. I keep threatening to go deer hunting so I can save the backstrap out and can the rest. Canned venison is my absolute favorite! It’s so good ground up with pickles, onions and mayo for sandwich spread. Or just breaded & fried. And of course, stew, stroganoff and a dozen other ways.

    • I hear you, Lorna. Although we have plenty of beef and chicken, we always love a good variety of foods, including our venison.

  2. The buck’s on the way. He got one opening morning. Think of all that canned venison stew meat!! Of course we’ll fry some up fresh too.

  3. The more you show me the canned stuff done in a pressure cooker the more tempted to learn. Hope David has a good hunting season. You and Will take care of yourselves and keep up the good work you are doing.

    • Oh Kathy, PLEASE give pressure canning a try!!! It’s SO easy and safe too. Pick up a copy of my book, Growing and Canning Your Own Food. It’s got step by step directions for tons of different foods and if you get scared, CALL ME! I’ll walk you through it.
      David got his buck opening morning. So we’ll be making lots of jerky and stewing meat to can.

  4. Haven’t been able to can last couple years and we are running out of our delicious applesauce. Hope I can get help from my husband to can some next year when the 3 kinds of apples are available. They make the most delicious applesauce ever and no need to add sugar to sweeten it. I have to look up the names of the 3 kinds every time its time to get them.

    • I love home canned applesauce too! I don’t have to add sugar to our Chestnut crab apples when I sauce them either. SO good!

  5. Jackie, those canned carrots look beautiful. Yes, it sure feels satisfying knowing one has an abundance of food preserved to carry through over the winter until next harvest. I love to can but the jars look so pretty that I always just want to keep them to admire and have to be stern with myself to open and use them.

    • I hear you! I’m not a jewelry kind of gal but I love looking at all those “jewels” in the pantry too. It feels so good just to know all that good food is right at your fingertips, no matter what.

  6. Good luck on the deer. We wash our carrots in buckets outside. Canned all we had room for and put the rest in the root cellar. None of my crew had any luck on moose or caribou. The winter caribou season is open fore a long time yet but the herd moved through and is a couple hundred miles away. The positive side a family friend called and said get ready. He droped a moose quarter on my cutting table! I enjoy reading your posts.

    • Yeah, I usually dump them out on the lawn and hose them off. But this year it got into the teens and the wind was blowing…and it only got colder. So I moved on to plan B. David got his buck opening morning; lots of jerky and venison stew in the forecast!! Yum, a moose! My favorite meat in the world. I’m so jealous.

  7. Never thought about the dirt in the septic. My husband has some screens from the dishwasher at school that we put our topped carrots on and turn the hose on them. Keeps a lot of mess out of the house. We have one of our daughters coming home for the weekend to hunt, so it will be nice to have at least part of my kids home. We love fresh backstrap at our house and canned venison for gravy. Yum! Good luck everyone!

    • I usually dump my carrots on the lawn and hose them off. But this year it got so cold so fast I had to change plans. David’s bringing his buck home tonight so we’ll soon be having butterflied backstrap frying in butter and onions. Sigh…. Life is good!

  8. Jackie: I had asked you about pinto beans, and you noted on an order what you used. I have misplaced the note; would you please tell me again what you use so I can order some? Thank you very much!

    • My favorite pinto substitute is Iroquois, a black and white pole bean that has terrific flavor, much better than common pintos.

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