I canned some beans! You can can, too! :giggle
One of the reasons I'm canning lately is because I'm the only one who eats here. Well, Aldous and William do eat *some* food, but in very small quantities. Buying small packages of food is expensive and wasteful, so I've been canning in smaller jars than usual for a family of four. My latest endeavor was beans. Beans are pretty cheap, and my kids will actually EAT beans. These pint jars are the perfect size for a meal for us, too.
First thing on canning day, I drag out all of my paraphernalia.
Once I get all organized, I don't use all of this stuff, but I drag it all out to plan. That gigantic blue bowl in the back is a 5lb bag of beans I soaked overnight with a bit of white vinegar. Notice the time: not quite 8am.
The boys and I took a short trip to Elliot's hardware, which was out of EVERYTHING except jars, so I just make do with the seal that's on my pressure cooker. It's still working totally fine (I take care of it) but it's 5 yrs old and figured if I was picking up jars, I'd get a new seal, too. Elliot's was out of all the seals but the most uncommon kinds. All of the most common ones were gone. I have a 12qt Mirro pressure cooker/canner with a weighted pressure gauge, not a dial. I wanted one with a dial for about 5 minutes, until I read that you should have it calibrated by the country extension agent annually. hmmmm, too high-maintenance. AND you have to stay right by it and LOOK at it to make sure the pressure is good. you can hear the weighted cooker all over the house.
I washed all of my jars in the dishwasher. I leave them in there (hot) until I'm ready to fill them.
While the jars were washing, I rinsed the beans in the sink, draining off the soaking water.
I put the beans into a large pot, added the beans, then 3 inches of water above the beans. Actually, I used part ham broth I had made earlier in the week from boiling some ham scraps and bones, discarding the fat from it once it cooled. In any case, the total broth was 3 inches above the beans. I boiled these 30 minutes.
While the beans were boiling, I got water started in the pressure canner to boil (also three inches) and got the lids heated in a small pot on an electric burner. Having everything in a line like this makes it faster and easier for me. Make sure you put the circular rack in the bottom of your canner, so the jars don't sit on the bottom.
Once the beans have cooked 30 minutes, the water in the pressure cooker is starting to boil, and the jars are done, I start filling them. Most instructions say to pull only one jar at a time from the dishwasher, but I do three at a time because I have a lot of practice and I'm fast. I added a bit of ham to each jar, two big ladles-full of beans and then broth to the bottom of the screw threads in the glass (about an inch from the top). Put on a lid, then screw on a band.
Place the filled jars immediately into the simmering water, then get more jars. Continue until the canner is full. Mine holds 8 of these wide mouth jars.
Here are my lids. I have a little wand with a magnet on the end to pull them out with. You'll still probably burn your fingers, though.
My full canner! Put the lid on and let it boil. Once it boils, let it boil for 10 minutes with the steam escaping from the vent on top. After 10 minutes, put the weight on 10lbs, reduce heat to medium, let it build pressure, then reduce to med-low to maintain an even pressure. Process for 75m for pints (or 90 for quarts). At 75mintues, turn off the heat and let the pressure reduce naturally. Don't take off the weight, or do anything to speed it up. After about 30minutes or so, take the weight off, and when steam stops coming out of the vent, remove the lid, being EXTRA careful of the hot steam. Use canning jar tongs to move the jars to a rack to cool. Do not disturb (mainly because the jars will burn you)
Here's what the correctly pressured weight should sound like. It should "jiggle" 3 to 5 times every minute. If it's a loud, steady, aggressive hissing coming from the weight/vent, reduce the heat. The heat can be pretty low once the pressure is built up adequately.
The beans in the back are finished in the pressure cooker, and the ones in the front are about to go in! Notice the difference in appearance after processing.
When all of the jars have cooled (overnight, in most cases), wash the tops of them, and take off the rings to wash and dry and store. Use a permanent marker to put the date on the lid, and the contents if it's not obvious.
A random cool pic of the super hot beans still bubbling and boiling in the jars.
Now, it's your turn! Can some beans!
at 10:55 PM