We set up an outdoor canning area in order to keep the kitchen clean and cool. I didn't relish the idea of lugging in produce across the new wood floor, cutting, slicing, dicing, washing, then blanching, draining, chilling, etc... and having that mess in the kitchen. And since I'm pretty messy while cooking, a lot of it would have ended up on the floor.
Now, this outdoor "kitchen" is nothing more than a tent with a couple of folding tables, a gas grill with side burner, a fire pit and a couple of folding chairs. Nothing fancy by any means. But having it set up outside, I can run the hose and wash produce and dump the water in the grass and it flows right down into the garden, and I don't have to think about all that water going into the septic tank.
I can peel and just fling the discards right into the pig bucket or on the grass.
The burner on the gas grill works well for heating water for blanching or even canning. I canned carrots in the pressure canner on the burner. To can the carrots, I used the so-called "cold pack" method. The hardest part about the whole process is the peeling - it took what seemed like hours.
I had some old seed I was trying to use up and figured it wouldn't germinate well so I seeded quite heavily. I never did get around to thinning them out and before I knew it I had a million medium sized carrots. Obviously, peeling lots of small carrots takes longer than peeling one large one.... Lesson learned here. I did manage to can up 32 pints of carrots, and froze quite a lot, not to mention ate a lot of them fresh. Frankly I don't want to see another fresh carrot for a while....
Anyway, I cut the carrots into the size pieces I wanted and filled the clean jars. Meanwhile, I brought a pot of water to boil on the grill burner. I dropped my canning jar lids in that water to heat them. When the water came to a boil, I moved the pot over to my work station. I used the hot water to ladle over the carrots in the jars, filling to within 1" of the top. Then placed a jar lid and ring and placed each jar in the canner. After filling all the jars with the boiling water, I added 3 quarts of the water to the canner and set the canner on the burner to heat up.
To save on propane, Marc set up a makeshift fire pit. He found broken chimney blocks from a chimney that had been removed from the house years ago and used them to fashion a spot for me to place a big pot or canner. Wood is free and propane definitely is not. In the pic above I'm blanching corn on the cob. I blanched enough corn for 28 dinners, then more squash and zucchini, and finally about 5+ pounds of green beans, all for freezing, in one session. I can't imagine the mess all of that would have made in the kitchen.
I keep a bottle of dishwashing liquid by the hose and when I'm done I wash everything and store all my supplies in a commercial food grade "lug" - ready for the next canning session.