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Boil some water honey

July 26, 2010
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Welcome back, dear reader. Or should I say dear writer? Old Uncle Milton had a little hiatus while suffering through a battle with the flu. During that time, the green beans in the garden decided to get ripe. VERY RIPE.

So, while your favorite blog writer recovered in bed,  his lovely wife set out by her lonesome into the north garden and picked about two bushels of fresh, delicious green beans. Well, OK, maybe it was 1 3/4 bushel, perhaps I exaggerate just a tad.

Around our house, when we gather over a bushel of produce, it is time to BOIL SOME WATER, HONEY and get the pressure canner ready for business. It means wash a bunch of canning jars, locate the lids and bands, the lid lifter, the jar lifter and break out the canning salt.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here:

Canning is not a difficult process, but it IS easy to get excited and perform steps out of sequence. Performing steps out of sequence makes the process S-L-O-W.  Generally, we like to do our canning efficiently, so we follow these steps:

  1. Pick the produce (green beans)
  2. Ascertain the quantity
  3. Wash the right number of jars for said quantity
  4. Rinse the produce while still outdoors- this removes bugs and most dirt and debris
  5. Wash the produce indoors and sort out the unwanted, blemished or undesirable items.
  6. Boil a huge amount of water, with a canner load of far lids in it. (This takes T-I-M-E)
  7. Process the beans by cutting off the tips, and trimming them uniformly.
  8. Heat the trimmed beans in boiling water for 5 minutes and drain.
  9. Pack the jars, as per the recipe- salt, beans and hot water.
  10. (VERY IMPORTANT) Wipe the jar tops to remove all impurities from sealing surface
  11. Remove lids from boiling water, place one on each jar.
  12. Screw a band over each lid and fasten securely.
  13. Place each filled, covered jar into the canner.
  14. Place the lid on the canner.
  15. Bring the water in the canner up to a vigorous boil, shooting steam out through the escape port for about five minutes.
  16. Place the weighted pressure valve cover over the exhaust port.
  17. Wait for it to *jiggle* vigorously.
  18. Set time for prescribed time.
  19. When time is up turn off heat and allow canner to naturally return to ambient.
  20. Remove jars to counter to set for a day, and *lock down* their lids.
  21. (VERY IMPORTANT)  Test seals on lids on the next day.  Any jars whose lids fail to seal can be refrigerated and/or consumed directly
  22. Store in a cool, dark place.

No thanks to me

But big thanks to those in my family that went on all day Saturday, repeating that process above, until all those beans were put up. It is good, honest work and a wonderful experience for a family to participate in, together. (Sorry, guys you know I wanted to help!)

If you are not fortunate enough to have a big bean patch, you are NOT excluded from putting up your own batch of canned beans!   What you will want to do FIRST is consult with the bible of canning- Ball’s Blue Book of Canning where EVERYTHING you ever wanted to know about canning is mentioned.  Follow their suggestions to the nth degree.

Then head on down to your local Farmer’s Market and get you a good deal on a bushel of fresh, delicious produce.  And Boil some water, Honey!

(Believe me, when winter comes and you warm up a jar of your own canned produce, you will be back here thanking me for this advice.)

Warm wishes,

Milton

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