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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Canning Beans

Two summers now I have planted green beans for canning, only to have my crop destroyed by insects. This week I was finally able to can some, thanks to my fall planting.

I went out to the garden earlier this week and picked an overflowing bucket full. I know that it isn't nearly the amount that other people get, but I was excited. I was mainly doing an experiment to see if beans planted for fall would be better than my summer crop, without using chemicals still. Being able to can some would just be a bonus to my experiment.

As it turned out, the gallon of beans that I picked were clean and without insect damage, so I was able to can 3 quarts. I had wanted to put them in pints, which would have given me 6 jars, but I forgot that I was needing to by more lids for my jars and only had 3 left. Thankfully I was able to fit all of my beans into the quart jars, and we will just save them for when we have guests over. I still have lots of beans on my plants too so I will probably still be able to can more as pints.

I now plan on doing fall beans again in hopes that every fall will produce this nice of a crop. I don't know if this year, with its higher than normal day temperatures, is an exceptional year for fall plantings, but I do know that the cool nights stopped my insect problems. I have now had my first opportunity to can some beans.
Tools of My Trade

Beans must be pressure canned due to their low acidity in order to kill all bacteria that would cause dangerous food born illnesses. They can be safely canned by using the recommended times and pressures given for your altitude. I have a couple older Mirro pressure canners given to me that work wonderfully, and my mom has a newer one that she loves as well. If you do some asking around, you might find someone who has given up canning and has one available, or you can look for one like the one pictured below. It should hold around 9 pint jars or 7 quart jars.

I also have some canning tools that are invaluable. The wide funnel helps keep messes to a minimum when filling jars. When I heat my lids, I just drop them into the hot water of my canner and then lift them out with the magnetic wand. The jar lifters are great for getting those hot jars out of the canner as well. You can buy these tools separately at many stores, or you can purchase them in a kit which contains other useful canning tools, such as the one pictured below.

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