We were lucky enough to receive an entire box of bagged baby carrots (leftovers from a weekly food donation in our town). The best option is to can them.
Both daughters expressed an interest in hands-on learning about canning. I set Older Daughter to washing jars.
I set Younger Daughter to sorting carrots. Because these carrots were past their prime, some had turned to mush in the bags. Don't let the mush intimidate you! There are a lot of good carrots in there. We just needed to sort the good from the bad.
Washing the mush off the good carrots.
Mushy carrots destined for the compost pile.
When canning vegetables, it's best to hot-pack the jars, so I needed to boil the carrots.
While they were heating up, I took the time to glue together the bodies of some crooked tankards destined for shipment to the Kansas City Renaissance Faire, thus insuring an unbelievable mess on the kitchen table.
Filling the jars with carrots using a wide-mouth funnel:
Filling the jars with hot cookwater (you can see the steam rising):
Adding a teaspoon of salt to each quart:
Wiping the rims:
Putting on the lids...
And the rings:
Into the canner. While my canner holds 18 pints (in two layers), it only holds seven quarts at a time:
The pressure starting to build:
Lydia lying faithfully at our feet while we work:
Target pressure (10 lbs) achieved. We hold this for thirty minutes.
First batch out of the canner.
Testing the seals. After the jars cool a bit, press the lids. If the lid "clicks," the seal is not complete and it's best to refrigerate that jar and eat it soon. But all the seals completed.
Ultimate yield: twenty quarts. This is the sight that led my oldest daughter to exclaim, “I like this! It makes me feel happy and safe.” Out of the mouth of babes.