"Commentary from the Countryside"
Thoughts on current events,
history, homesteading, preparedness, real food, and anything else I find interesting, from a cranky, middle-aged woman's common-sense perspective.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Canning beans

I finally got some beans out of my garden, the lovely "Dragontongue" beans that are yellow and purple and have no strings.  Last summer was the first time I grew these beans, and they quickly became a favorite due to their meaty heft and good texture that doesn't get woody when the beans get big.  I didn't have quite enough beans to make it worthwhile to get out the canner so I bought some nice green beans from my Amish neighbors and set to work. 

I much prefer "frenched" beans to cut beans, so after thoroughly washing the beans and cutting off the ends, I run them all through the frencher.  I have this giant colander that I feed the beans into from the frencher, making it easier to rinse off all the bits of seeds.

(Sometimes the best things can happen simply from being in the right place at the right time.  I was given this colander and quite a few other kitchen gadgets just because I was helping out a woman who was downsizing her home prior to moving.  Fun!)

After the beans are all frenched and rinsed, I stuff the jars.  I pack them in pretty tightly but make sure to leave a one inch headspace.  I cover the beans with hot water and use a plastic knife or wooden handle to make sure the air bubbles are all out.

Then I use a clean, damp cloth to make sure the tops of the jars are clean.

Then it's time to put the lids on, that I've had simmering in warm water to slightly soften the rubber sealant.
I love this little gadget!  Very simple, just a magnet at the end of a plastic handle, but it makes it so easy to get the lid out of the hot water without burning my fingers, or risk scratching the lid with tongs.  I tighten the rings just finger tight, and load the jars into the pressure canner.

The canner has a locking lid with flanges that fit like a tongue and groove when I twist the lid shut.
Not locked
Locked and ready to go
I follow the instructions in the canner manual for venting the steam and monitoring the heat so that the weight is happily jiggling, and process the beans (pint jars) for twenty minutes at ten pounds of pressure.  It can all be a lot of work, but to me it's worth it to have fresh, high quality beans preserved without chemicals and packed in glass instead of cans that may have liners that leach compounds into the food.  There's a wonderful sense of accomplishment, looking at a pantry shelf stocked with food I've preserved!

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