Monday, August 22, 2011

preserving the summer // beans

We are finally harvesting bounties from our garden. Cucumbers and tomatoes have been making their way to our table, and I can't find and try new zucchini recipes quick enough. We have plenty of acorn squash & pumpkins hiding beneath the leaves of the vines, and the green beans are finally coming on.
I canned some yesterday!
Well...first, we planted them a few months ago.

And then we built this trellis for them to climb on. I had thought of the design and didn't really know how well it was going to work...

They took to it and started to climb!

They grew up and up, and then blossomed and little beans started to grow.

And they just kept getting bigger and bigger.

And now they're ready to harvest (some are past ready).

Yesterday morning I picked them, cleaned them, cut them...

Then I put them into jars.

Into the pressure canner they went.

I had never used a pressure canner before (only a water bath), and I was terrified. I read the instruction manual from cover to cover, and the important operating pages two or four times. I watched a youTube video. Read the instructions again. And then again. My palms were sweaty and I had the bad kind of butterflies in my stomach when I put the lid on and turned the handles to the locking position. It steamed for 10 minutes, then on went the pressure regulator, and the gauge began to climb. When the dial reached 11 PSI, the processing time began, and I monitored the stove to keep the right was the longest 20 minutes ever!
The timer went off, then so did the stove, and I carefully moved the pot off the heat and let it depressurize and cool off. When I twisted it open, it didn't take long for these little babies to pop and seal.

That's it, only 3 little pints! I may do more in a week or so.
Yes, it was a lot of work, but I'm sure we'll enjoy them much more than store-bought during the winter months.
Tomorrow, I will do beets now that I'm more comfortable with the canner (it was that first time nervousness). We planted lots of rows of them this year with canning in mind. Beet prep is a whole lot more messy than beans.

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