Posted by: poofergirlsperspective | September 4, 2008

Beans … of the canning variety

Awhile back I shared with you that I had a bucket of beans.  Well folks, that little bucket turned into heaps and heaps of beans.  I can’t believe how many have come from the garden … especially since I was certain that we would be bean-less after the hail.  But nope, we have lots and lots of them. 

Generally we freeze the beans and I did that … about 20 quarts are in the freezer.  Loren prefers to freeze them because he believes that you retain more of the nutrients with the freezing process as compared to the canning … and, it makes sense.  And so I would have frozen the rest except that one of these guys … or most of him anyway … now occupies the majority of that freezer. 

This batch of beans had to be canned to save on freezer space since I am really hoping to freeze some corn in the next week or so.  Turns out that this new farm girl hasn’t ever canned beans before.  The past three summers since being a part of Loren’s life and therefore this farm, I have only been a part of the freezing process and so it has been a learning experience.  I have canned lots of applesauce, spaghetti sauce and all other sorts of sauce, but not any beans.   Thankfully the process is much the same … with just a few differences.

What have I learned?  Well, just looking at this picture of my first official batch of canned beans I have a few observations. 

 

First, I learned that I didn’t put enough water in a few.  Ooops.  And, speaking of water, filling the jars with boiling water is a not my favorite step.  I tried to use a tea kettle which worked great except I didn’t have enough water for all 7 jars.  The second batch which is cooking away as I type, I filled a large pan full of water and had to ladle it in each jar.  Let’s just say that I was reminded that boiling water is a tidge hot!

Second, I learned that I could have probably stuffed even more beans in each jar.  Loren said “stuff as many in as you can” and I thought that I did … but I can see now that I could have been a bit more forceful with those beans in a few jars. 

And third, not that you can tell this from the picture but I can tell from this picture that in general … canning a batch of beans takes a long time!  These 7 jars were a good two hour project, and I already had the beans cleaned and cut!   It’s all that heating up the canner and then cooking then and then cooling the canner back down … just plain old time consuming. 

In a few short hours … which seems like an eternity at this late hour I will be all done with these 3 batches and there will be 21 pretty jars of green beans canned on the counter.  There is something really great about preserving food that I never knew before becoming a farm girl.  It comes with a sense of pride and accomplishment that you just can’t get from buying a can of beans from who knows where at the grocery store.  So tonight, I am thankful for the beans, even though they are a bit of work and not even my favorite veggie they will be here to nourish us in the cold winter months and I would be silly not to appreciate that.

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Responses

  1. How well I remember canning….never since I was married, but for about 6 years from my parent’s 5 acre garden. It may have just seemed like 5 acres. :) Moving from California to Minnesota from the suburbs to a small farm at 15 was quite the change. We had an outdoor toilet at first, and heated water for everything. I know this sounds like Little House on the Prairie, but it was actually close to ‘low land’ so there were a million mosquitoes and they carved a garden out in the tall grass and we had to weed (with a teenage work crew I think we may have balked some!) Then when we grew all that produce, dad set up a wood stove in the old garage and we canned LOTS of vegetables. We would pinch the ends off the beans and break them into pieces outside, take them inside to wash and pack them into jars, and back outside to can them in the water bath which took a long time. Mom didn’t really like pressure cookers as I recall. With 10 children I’m sure having all those beautiful jars in the basement, along with canned meats on occasion, and beef and more veggies in the freezer, they could at least feel ready to brave the winter and know we would eat well. :) I respect your work ethic and I know you will enjoy your beans immensely come January.

  2. Gorgeous beans, Poofer! They look like jewels. What a lot of hard work for you. But between the tons o’ beans and the clean wood stove pipe, you should make it through winter just fine. :)


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