Today I'm going to post about something new... canning! Over Labor Day, we visited my in-laws and I knew it was my chance to get some hands-on experience. My mother-in-law is a domestic diva. She cooks, cans, gardens, cleans, quilts and sews like a pro. She picked the fifth round of beans from her amazing garden and asked if I wanted them. Of course I said yes. So we spent the afternoon snapping beans and canning. And it was much easier than I thought it would be.
-Pressurized canner. Because green beans are a low acid food, they can't be cooked in a normal pot like most fruit and tomato based foods can. A pressurized canner allows the food to get hotter to kill any bad stuff in there that would make the beans go bad.
- Glass pint canning jars with screw-on rings
- Canning lids (the flat part that goes inside the rings
- Canning salt
- Canning tongs
- Cooling rack
- Lots of fresh, delicious green beans
Step 1: Snap the pointy ends off of the beans and break them into about two inch pieces or whatever size you prefer. Wash the beans.
Step 2: Gather jars and wash them. Place 1/2 teaspoon canning salt in the bottom of each pint jar. Regular salt is iodized and makes canned goods turn brown, so it's worth it to buy canning salt to preserve the beautiful green color. Here is the kind we used:
Step 5: Start the water in your pressurized canner boiling on high heat. This big pot only had about an inch of water in the bottom. I would read the instructions that came with your pressure canner to find out how much water you should put in there--usually about three quarts.
Step 6: Place the canning lids in to warm up a bit. This helps soften the rubber to insure that all cans get a good seal. We used this little blue magnet-on-a-stick to pull the warm lids out of the water. If you don't have one, I'm sure you can improvise.
Step 10: Using canning tongs, carefully remove each jar and place it on a cooling rack. Be sure to keep them all upright and not to jostle them too much. While the jars cool, they make a popping noise each time a lid seals. You can tell if a lid is sealed because the center bulges down/in a little bit. If after a few hours, a few cans have not sealed, place a new lid on and do the cooking process over again.
Here's the finished product:
With three adults and one two year old helping, it took about an hour to snap all the beans. It took about 40 minutes to prepare all the cans. Then it was just cook and cool time. The freshness of the product and the satisfaction of knowing I canned the food myself (with a lot of help) are definitely reason enough to do this again next year.
And just a side note, don't you love the orange countertops? You should see the bedroom that has matching shag carpet! Hee hee...
If you have questions, I'll do my best to answer them. Well, in all honesty, I'll call my mother-in-law and ask her and then tell you what she said.