Fall Canning with Kindergartners: Pickled Carrots, Salsa, Rosehip Applesauce

Working halftime this year has been quite a blessing, as it leaves my mornings open to enjoy time with Wylder and Selma while Sawyer is in kindergarten. So far this fall, much of my "free time" this fall has been eaten up by peeling, chopping, and processing the bounty that Alaska's midnight sun has brought us this year with my two youngest kids.

One of our favorite treats to make and enjoy all year long are pickled carrots.

Pickled Alaskan Carrots

Ingredients

Fresh Alaskan carrots

Apple Cider Vinegar

Organic Sugar

Salt

Garlic Cloves

Fresh Dill Sprigs

Bay Leaves

Whole Pepper Corns

I didn't note proportions on the above ingredient list because it all depends on how many carrots you have to pickle!

Make the brine according to the following ratios:

1 1/4 cup water

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 T salt

I generally at least quadruple the recipe, adding 5 cups water, 4 cups apple cider vinegar, 1 cup sugar, 6 T salt, and about 4 bayleaves and 1/2 cup peppercorns.

Recipe

Run the pint jars through the dishwasher so they are clean and sterile. Place a few dill springs and 2-6 peeled garlic cloves in each jar.

Next, wash and peel all your carrots. Chop off the tops and cut them into approximately 4-inch sticks. Pack each jar with carrot sticks.

While you are packing your clean, warm jars with carrots, bring the brine to a boil on the stove. Ladle the hot brine into the jars, leaving at least 1/2 inch headspace. Place the lids on the jars and screw the bands on.

Now it is time to seal the jars. Fill a large pot with water (I use my pressure canner). Stack the jars on top of the rack. Bring the water to a boil. Please note that this takes awhile! Plan on being home at least an hour. Once the water has reached a rolling boil, start the timer for 10 minutes processing time. Once the jars are done processing, turn off the burner and wait for them to cool.

After you remove your jars from the water, wait 12-24 hours to check the seals, as the sealing process will continue even after you have turned off the burner. If after 12-24 hours you have a jar or two that have not sealed, you can refrigerate and eat those first, or you can reprocess them so that they do seal. Enjoy your tasty treat!

Salsa for Everyone!

Another great thing about working half time is that I am available to volunteer in Sawyer's class. Wylder and I get to spend one morning a week with a great bunch of kindergarteners, and once a month we plan a cooking/canning project. In September, these industrious group of kiddos made and sealed mild salsa and in October, we will be canning rosehip applesauce.

These projects would not be possible without the generous support of our wonderful community! A huge thank you to Tracy Veal at Wilderness Greenhouse for donating over half of the tomatoes for the salsa, and to Esa Woodland at The Tips, Homer Golf Course, for donating the scrumptious apples!

Photo : Katie Boone

Ingredients

40-60 red and green tomatoes

6 bell peppers

4 onions

1 bunch cilantro

Several cloves garlic

Jalapeno peppers to taste

1.5 cups lemon juice

Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

This recipe makes about 20 pints of salsa depending on the size of the tomatoes.

Recipe

Optional: Blanch the tomatoes by adding them to a pot of water right after it boils and allowing them to cook for about 30 seconds, just long enough for the skins to crack and begin to peel. Dump them into the sink, douse them in cold water, and slip the skins off once they have cooled.

Rough chop the tomatoes or put them in the food processor for 10-30 seconds. Place the mixture into a strainer and stir and press them until much of the liquid has drained. Pour the tomatoes into a large bowl.

Next, chop the peppers, onions, garlic, jalapeno peppers, and cilantro and add them to the tomatoes. Stir, add the lemon juice, and then the spices to taste.

Ladle into clean, warm jars, leaving about 1/2 inch headspace. Use a rubber spatula to remove air bubbles, and clean the rims with a damp cloth. Place the lids on the jars and screw the bands on.

Now it is time to seal the jars. Follow the same process as above to hot water bath the jars of salsa, and process them for 15 minutes. Then, pop a lid and grab some chips :)

Rosehip Applesauce

Super yummy on its own, or on waffles, in granola, yogurt, etc!

Ingredients

6 cups peeled and chopped apples

2 cups rosehips (cleaned)

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup honey or maple syrup (optional)

zest and juice of a lemon

1/2 teaspoon salt

cinnamon to taste

Recipe

In a saucepan, boil the rosehips until tender. Use a blender stick or food processor to puree, then strain the mixture through a colander back into the saucepan (to remove rosehip seeds). Add the apples, sweetener, lemon juice and zest, salt, and cinnamon.

Boil until apples are tender, adding more water if necessary. Puree the mixture again, and then ladle into clean, warm jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Hot water bath to seal following the directions noted in the pickled carrot recipe above. Process for 15 minutes. Enjoy your fall bounty!! XOXO

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