Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Potatoes, Peas, Carrots & Onions

I had asked Duane to bring me more potatoes from the Farmer's Market.  I had bought 50 lbs. two weeks before, dehydrated some and canned the rest.  I really like the canned cubed potatoes for convenience, and as a bag of potatoes from the store will go bad before I use them all, it makes sense to have them in jars in the pantry where they will last a long time.

This box of potatoes I wanted to can a little differently.  I am particularly fond of both beef and chicken stew over homemade biscuits.  So I wanted to can the vegetables together in the same jar for this use.  It is kind of my version of convenience food.  Open a jar of canned vegetables, another of canned beef or chicken cubes, toss in a little tomato and some homemade gravy mix and by the time the biscuits come out of the oven, the stew is ready.

Before Duane and Becky left my place on Saturday, Duane asked me if I wanted him to go to the grocery and pick up the carrots, peas and onions that I planned to can along with the potatoes.  I figured that he and Becky had already done way more than enough for me, bringing me all the goodies from the Farmer's Market, so I said that I would take care of that Monday.  His reply was, "Mom, would you rather spend Monday on the bus going to the store and hauling your groceries up the stairs by yourself, or would you rather have us do it so you can work on these vegetables!"  And because I am not a completely stupid woman, I handed him my grocery list.

I peeled and cubed some of the potatoes, peeled and sliced carrots and heated two large bags of frozen peas.  Then I layered the veggies in quart jars and processed them in my pressure canner.  I got 28 quarts of stew mix veggies, with a little bit of carrots and potatoes left over, which I bagged up and popped into the freezer.

I had planned to add chunks of onion in each jar as well, but on thinking it over, decided that the onion would probably turn to mush in the pressure canner.  So I peeled the 10 lbs. of onions, sliced them thin, crying like a baby the whole time, and filled my dehydrators with the sliced onions.  This is what 10 lbs. of onions looks like in my big 9-quart stainless steel bowl.

That amount of onions filled all seventeen dehydrator trays.

I put them on the table in my bedroom and shut the door.  I like the smell of onions, but I am not too sure that my neighbors do, although I have done this many times without anybody complaining about the smell.  But an open window near the dehydrators and the closed door help to contain the onion odor.  I let the dehydrators run all afternoon and overnight, as I like the taste when the onions caramelize a bit while drying.

This is what 10 lbs. of dehydrated onions looks like, in my 2-quart bowl.

If I want raw onion in a dish, this is not going to work, but for any kind of cooking, I just toss in a handful and they rehydrate really well.

I still have probably two-thirds of the 50 lb. box of potatoes left and I will dehydrate them later.  Right now there are 5 big bags of apples, right around 60 lbs. of them, waiting for me.

I really do love the Farmer's Market!  Duane says that he won't take me there next year unless he has a pickup and a hand truck.  I wonder why he said that.


  1. Wow Vicki - you aren't going to have any room - we know where to come for dinner:)


  2. Yep, Staci. Storage is becoming a problem. I'm having to get really creative in finding room. But on the up side, I shouldn't have to go to the grocery much over the winter. And I have been known to share with family!