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Putting back green beans

August 10, 2010

a.k.a. Canning Green Beans

Well, greetings dear reader.  We picked one of the hottest days of summer to pick our green beans, and ended up with a full bushel basket.  We love to eat fresh green beans from the garden, but I guar-an-tee you there would be too many leftovers if we cooked all those,  That meant they would have to be *Put back* or preserved for later use.

Green beans - the initial washing

Something a little different

Being that it was so stinking hot, we opted to try something a little different.  That is, perform the whole process outside, so as not to heat up the house.  Normally, we wash the beans outdoors, and sort out the blemished, oversized, undersized and generally undesirable (less than perfect condition) at the picnic table on the back patio.  Then we would move the operation indoors, but not this time.  In the photo below we are cutting the washed beans into jar sized pieces, which is about an inch long. Now every step of the way we cull beans. Our chickens just love us for that, as they get all of them that we don’t can.

Cutting beans for jarring

In the photo above, the good cut beans are placed in the bowl or kettle, and the tips and rejects are placed in the red basket.  The salted peanuts in the shell, well, there has to be some reward for performing this work, eh?  After cutting off all the tips of the beans and slicing them into 1″ pieces we want to pack them into jars.  At this point in time, the jars were in the house in the dishwasher.  And in the background, a big kettle of water was heating on the camp stove.  LOTS of boiling hot water is required in this process.

We were doing the *cold pack* method for this batch.  Basically, one packs the cold beans into the jars, adds a teaspoon of salt, and then ladles boiling hot water into the jars, within an inch of the top of the jar.  During this time, the lids are being sterilized in the boiling water.  They are lifted out with a magnetized little wand, and after wiping the jar tops, the lids are placed on the full jars.  Then the bands are screwed on and the jars stacked into the pressure canner.

Packing the jars in the pressure canner

This recipe calls for about 4″ of hot water to be added to the pressure canner.  We used pint jars this time, and thus were able to add a second layer of jars above the first.  Then the lid is fastened in place, and the canner placed on the camp stove. Then you wait.

When the canner exhaust port starts emitting a steady stream of steam, then you start timing.  Ten minutes of steam release from the canner insures all air being evacuated.  Then the 10 p.s.i. weight is added to the exhaust port and you wait some more.  During this waiting period the pressure is building up. When the weight starts jiggling vigorously then you start timing again, for pint jars 20 minutes is required.

After the twenty minute pressure cooking time the heat is turned off and the rig is allowed to cool, still under pressure.  Typically the cooling period is about an hour, then one can take the weight off, and (hopefully) there is no gush of pressurized steam, or the quick depressurization could release the seals on the jars.  A special jar lifting tool, like a giant pair of pliers, is used to lift the jars out of the canner, and onto a cooling rack.  Then we repeated the process for another batch.

A spatula releases air bubbles from the jars before the lid goes on

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