Friday, September 30, 2011

Home Economics

20100728_0030.jpgBeans, beans, the musical fruit. Wait. Beans aren't a fruit. Okay, never mind. We've canned a lot of beans this summer and hopefully there will be more to can in just a few days. We planted another crop near the end of summer and it looks promising.
_MG_0365.jpgThese little munchkins can't be kept out of the kitchen, so why not put them all to work? They love helping, although a big bowl of beans can't get a bit monotonous. They don't always make it to the bottom of the bowl. The little ones tend to stray away after not too long.
_MG_9547.jpgWhile you and the children are snipping and cutting beans your jars should be in a pot or dishwasher being sterilized. Cut up all of beans then grab one of hot sterilized jars without burning yourself. I'm not good at that and my hands are pretty beat up from these jars among other things. Fill the jars with your beans.
_MG_9548.jpgWe have this super amazing electric hot water dispenser. It's perfect for tea and oatmeal in the morning. The kids can make their own oatmeal in the morning and I can sleep in for a few more minutes. 
_MG_9549.jpgUsing that hot water fill the jars leaving a 1-inch head space. We don't want any explosions in the canner.
20100728_0040.jpgYou should also have your jars simmering on the stove in a small pot. We want to make sure they are sterilized and aren't carrying any bacteria on them.
_MG_9552.jpgHere, the jars are filled with beans and hot water and ready for the canner. You can also add a little salt to each jar if you'd like.
_MG_0374.jpgPlace your jars in the canner. Make sure the water covers the jars by at least 2-3 inches.
_MG_0376.jpgPlace the lid on your canner and let the water boil. You won't have the weights on the canner yet and should see a steady stream of steam coming out.
20100728_0046.jpgOnce you place that little weight on your canner you want steady pressure. Since I live at high altitude I need to keep the pressure at 13 pounds.
_MG_0382.jpgWhen your processing time is finished let the pressure come all the way back down to zero. That will take awhile. Then remove the weight to release the rest of the pressure. Once that is done you can take the lid off the canner. Pull your jars out and just admire the beauty of your work. Set the jars on a kitchen towel to cool. The water inside may still be boiling. It's pretty cool to watch. Then listen for the popping sounds. It's like music to my ears to hear the jars sealing themselves! That's it. Pretty easy, don't you think?

Canning Green Beans

1. Prepare jars and lids for canning. Check for cracks, nicks and uneven rims. 
2. Wash green beans and trim ends. Cut beans into a uniform size.
3. Carefully fill canning jars with beans. Add 1 teaspoon of salt if desired. Fill jar with hot             boiling water leaving 1-inch headspace.
4. Wipe rim and threads of jar clean. Place sterilized lid on jar. Screw band down evenly and firmly. 
5. Place jars in pressure canner. Add boiling water if necessary. The water level should be about 1-inch above the jars.
6. Put lid on canner and turn to lock in place. Adjust heat; bring water to a boil. Leave vent open until steam has escaped steadily from vent for 10 minutes. Put weight on vent.
7. Bring pressure to 10 pounds, or 13 pounds if you’re in Denver. Keep pressure steady during entire processing period. Process pints for 20 minutes, quarts for 25 minutes. When processing is complete, turn off.
8. Let canner return to zero pressure naturally. Wait 2 minutes, then open vent. Unfasten lid. Remove lid. Let jars sit in canner 10 minutes to adjust to lower temperature. Remove jars from canner and set them upright on a dry towel to cool. Do not retighten bands. Let jars cool 12-24 hours.
9. After jars have cooled, check lids for a seal by pressing on the center of each lid. If the center is pulled down and does not flex, remove the band and gently try to lift the lid off with your fingertips. If the lid does not flex and you cannot lift if off, the lid has a good vacuum seal. Store in a cool, dry, dark place.


Esther said...

I need a pressure canner. I can beans too, but I process in a regular canner. That takes 3 HOURS!

I need a pressure canner. :-)

Jo Ann said...

Since October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss month, I wanted you to know that I'm thinking of you as you remember your precious Jonathan.