Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Bean-Abundance

I finally got around to canning some green beans. We grew the Kentucky Wanderers this year- and let me tell you, they wander! I had a hard time staking these beans this year. I would decided too late that it was time to stake them, and they wouldn't grab hold of the pole quite as well as I wanted them to. A few days later, I would come out and they'd have circled themselves around the pole, but slid down into a bunch at the bottom. It was pretty frustrating, and I think I only got the hang of it at the end of the growing season (which is now!) I will definitely grow them again next year, and be better at it! The beans have a wonderful taste and they grew, despite my lack of a green thumb!
I had already blanched a few frozen bags full of beans, so those were waiting patiently in my freezer for me to start canning. Finally I had a plastic grocery bag full of beans, beans I had picked within two days of each other. So I finally determined it was time to can.
I took the grocery bag and sat in front of the tv with my favorite show and snapped the ends off. I love snapping beans. When I was little I used to sit on the back deck with my mom, always in the early morning, both of us still in our nightgowns. And we'd snap the beans she had bought the day before at the farmer's market. She had one of those 1970's yellow strainers, that I think every household at that time had. We'd empty the fresh cut beans into the colander so she could wash them later. I really don't ever remember eating those beans, but I'm sure they were good. And besides, the best part was just hanging out on the deck with my mom on an early Saturday morning.

So I sat in front of my television to snap mine- but I'm having to stay up late at night (because I'm on night-shift), so early mornings just won't do for now.
I washed the fresh cut beans in my colander- no, not the yellow one. I wish!
Then I placed them into a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes.(Notice the lids and bands heating in the rear pot!)

After 5 minutes, I packed the beans into clean, hot mason jars that were waiting for me. Then fill them with the hot cooking liquid, minus 1/4 inch of head space. You also take the non-metal utensil and run it along side of the jars to get rid of any air bubbles. (I was actually very surprised I remembered this step each and every time- there have been a few canning experiences so far this summer, where I have not followed directions very well! And this time I even had a glass of wine in my hands at all times- and I still remembered!)
After that, a 1/2 teaspoon of salt... ... and set the lids and bands.I ended up heating up a bag of frozen beans I had in the freezer to come out with a total of 7 cans of beans, which is the exact amount my pressure cooker holds. Pressure cooked at 10 lbs for 15 minutes and Presto! Canned green beans! I can't wait to taste them!And check out my guide book I was going by! I love the 80's!


*Tip: you might have noticed a milk jug in the background of a lot of my pictures. Its actually a water jug I picked up from the store with distilled water in it, for about $0.76. Since canning can use a good amount of water (especially if you're using the boiling water bath), I like to try and save a lot of it and reuse it. I reuse the water that the jars sit in to keep warm, the water that the lids and bands sit in, as well as the water that is actually in the pressure canner. I fill up the water jug and then water the garden with the recycled water. It can definitely help save on your water bill, and of course recycle itself by giving you tons of yummy fresh veggies for the next thing to can!

4 comments:

  1. HAHA I KNOW!!! I even suggested to RNH that we put a bucket underneath the faucet while waiting for the shower water to warm up- he said it would just be "plain ghetto" to do that. So I gave up on that one!

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  2. You don't remember eating the beans cause you never did!! You just liked snapping them--and I liked having you with me while we snapped them! Too fun!

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  3. Do you remember that yellow collander?!?! Actually- I'm sure you still have it! That thing brings back so many memories!!!

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