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Putting Back (more) Beans

August 11, 2010

So, why do they call it “Canning” if you are putting the food in Jars?  A lot of the food we buy from the grocery store comes in cans, and some comes in jars. Why has no one invented a home canning process that actually uses cans?

Packing beans into jars for the pressure canner

In the photo above, you see the packed jars with beans, salt and hot water in them, waiting for the lid and screw band to be added.  The lids are in the hot water bath canner, the black kettle, on the camp stove.  The jars with lids are in the pressure canner.  Noter the lugs on top, which allow the gasketed lid to drop on and then be rotated, firmly sealing the lid to the kettle.  And in that handsome hand is another jar of beanie-goodness going into the canner.

Outdoor canning on the cmap stove

We had our doubts if the propane coleman stove could deliver enough BTU’s to heat that big kettle, and also generate enough heat to bring the pressure up.  It took a good long time to heat the water bath canner kettle up to boiling, but we had time as we washed and cut the beans.  And it left our kitchen free of that unwanted, additional steam and heat.

Pressure canner on camp stove

Above is the whole (makeshift) operation.  The pressure canner is on the heat, with the lid on, and with the 10# (PSI) weight sitting on the exhaust port.I don’t see steam coming out, so this photo must have been taken as we brought it up to pressure.

Completed jars in *cool down* mode

When the jars are removed from the canner, they are hot and under pressure.  In the photo above you will note that they are placed on boards.  The cooling process transfers heat away from the jars, and as this happens, the pressure also is reduced.  As the pressure comes back to atmospheric pressure, the lid is pulled down tight to the jar.  That is what keeps it sealed.  Typically, when we remove the jars from the canner, we place them where they will not be disturbed for at least 12 hours.  One of the wonderful sounds during cool-down is the “Ping” of the lid as it slightly deforms downward at the instant of sealing.

This batch was a 100% sealing rate.  That does not always happen, and the way one tells if the jars are sealed is to gently tap the lid with a finger.  If the lid snaps, UH-OH! , you’ve got an unsealed jar.  The unsealed jars then go into the refridgerator, and are consumed in the immediate future, like within about 3 days.  Otherwise, they go on shelves, in a cool, dark place and last for a good long time.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this putting back story, with all the delays before I actually got it entered for your reading pleasure.  Please drop into the comment section and tell me what you think.  And if you are going to join the growing community of people *Putting Back* their own remember to consult a reference like the Ball Blue Book of Canning;  follow those instructions meticulously, and you will be richly rewarded during the cool season!

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