Canning Green Beans from the Harvest

canning green beansCanning green beans brings back memories of long summer days and warm sun. Listen for the fresh snap as you prepare the beans for canning, right from harvest. Every speck of work needed for canning green beans will be worth it when you eat fresh all winter long.

First, let’s review some of the basics of preparing vegetables for canning recipes. Vegetables almost always need to be pressure canned. The hot water bath canner that is used to as a food preservation method for many fruits and pickles, does not reach a high enough temperature to preserve the lower acid vegetables. The investment made in a quality pressure canner will last a lifetime.

What Will You Need for Pressure Canning?

Gather your canning utensils and canning jars, and fill the canner to the recommended level according to the instructions. Pressure canners do not need to be filled to cover the jars as the hot water bath canner does. Make sure yu use only jars intended for canning. Reusing other glass jars in a pressure canner can lead to unpleasant breakage and food loss.

Start with clean, sterile glass canning jars from a reputable canning jar company. Look for chips around the rim, cracks and any abnormalities or signs of stress on the glass. These jars should only be used for dry storage or recycled with your household recycling. Gather enough two piece lid pairs. Keep separate. The flat disc lids will need to be clean and possibly sterilized. Wash the rings in warm soapy water, rinse completely and air dry.

What is a Five Piece Canning Tool Set?

In addition to the green beans, the canning jars, lids and the canner, you will want to have a canning tool set. This includes tongs made to lift the hot jars in and out of the canner, a funnel for filling the jars, a magnetic lid grabber and a packing tool. Use the packing tool to assist you in getting the vegetables packed into the jar and measure the required head (air) space above the liquid. Jars come in various sizes and styles. Usually, for green beans, pints and quarts would be selected. Salt is needed, in small amounts in each jar. Be sure to use a pure salt or a salt labeled for canning.

Always Start with Clean Jars

Prepare the jars,before beginning to work with the fresh vegetables. You can choose from two acceptable methods of sterilizing the jars before filling with food to be canned. One method is to run the regular cycle on your dishwasher, which heats the jars and the wash water to a high enough temperature for sterilizing. The other method requires two steps. Wash the jars in warm, soapy water. Fill the canner with enough water to cover the jars, bring the water to a simmer and heat the jars on simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the flat lids and a small saucepan of water. Bring the water to simmer and keep the water simmering until you use the lids. Do not boil the water. The boiling water could damage the rubber seal. Wash the ring portion of the two piece lids in hot soapy water, rinse well and set aside to dry.

canning green beans

Preparing the Vegetables

When you are canning green beans start by preparing the vegetable. Wash the beans and drain. Snap off the ends of the beans and either leave whole or cut into smaller, bite size pieces. At this point, you have two methods of proceeding with the canning. One method is called Hot Pack and the other is referred to as Cold Pack.

Hot pack is preferred for dense vegetables like green beans.  It makes it easier to pack them into jars. Cold pack or Raw pack is used for more fragile vegetables that might be too soft if pushed into a jar. This method calls for the food to be packed in the jars cold, then boiling water is added to the jar.

Blanche and Pack the Beans 

In preparing for canning green beans, place the beans in a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil the beans for five minutes. The beans will still feel firm, but will be more pliable for packing into the jars. Begin filling the glass jars with the beans using a slotted spoon and the canning funnel. I like to use this scoop I found online to fill my jars. It holds one cup so usually two scoops fills the jar.

After the jars are full with a one inch head space, add boiling water to cover the beans. Maintain the one inch head space at the top of the jar. Add one teaspoon of salt to each quart jar and a half teaspoon of salt to each pint. The salt does not need to be stirred into the beans. It can sit on top of the vegetables. The salt will filter down as the liquid is reheated in the canner. Using the head space tool, run the tool around the inside of each jar, along the sides to help release any air bubbles. After all the jars are filled, using a dry cloth, wipe the rim of each jar. This will help ensure a good seal when the lid is added.

canning green beans

Getting the Jars Ready for the Pressure Canner

Using the magnetic wand, grab one lid from the saucepan and place it on the rim of the filled jar.  Using a towel or pot holder to steady the jar, screw on the metal bands that you hand washed and set aside.  Finger tighten the bands. This does not have to be as tight as you can possibly make it, but just snug. Using the jar tongs, place each jar into the canner which has the required amount of water in the bottom. (refer to your canner’s instruction manual.)

Usually the amount of water in the bottom of a pressure canner is only a couple of inches deep. Always read the instruction manual for operation of the canner. The steps from this point are similar but may vary slightly with each manufacturer’s model.

canning green beans

Basic Pressure Canner Operation for Canning Green Beans

Place the filled jars down into the pressure canner. Apply the canner’s lid and set into place. Bring the water in the canner to a boil. Allow the steam to begin to add pressure. DO NOT attempt to open the canner after the water is boiling. Most canners now have safety mechanisms in place that prevent you from opening a canner under pressure.

While the water is heating and the pressure is building, the steam vent is left open. The steam is left to vent for approximately ten minutes, then the weight is applied that came with the canner. The weight closes the steam vent, allowing the pressure to build. At a point, the vent will close and the canner will lock. The pressure should build and the gauge will move up in pressure. Do not start timing the processing until the pressure has built up to 10 pounds and is stable at that level. Begin timing the processing time at that point and adjust the heat to keep the pressure steady. This does take some practice, but you will soon know what works best with your stove and your canner.

Canning green beans require 20 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure for pint size jars and 25 minutes for quart size jars. Always check processing times for your altitude.

The Processing Time is Up

When the time for processing at 10 pounds of pressure is over, turn off the heat. Do not attempt to open the canner. Leave the canner on the stove to cool completely. As it cools, the pressure will dissipate. When the canner is no longer under pressure the locking mechanism will release. The canner will still be hot! Some people leave the jars in the canner overnight and remove them the next morning.

Find a space on the counter to place the jars. Using the jar lifter tongs, place the jars on a towel to cool and rest. Stacking or moving the jars too much at this point could break the seal on the jar, resulting in product that cannot be stored long term. The recommendation is to leave the jars undisturbed for about twelve hours. Safe canning requires that you check the seals on the jars before putting the jars away. To check the seal you press on the center of the lid. If it does not move up and down under pressure from your fingers, the lid has sealed. When you remove the metal ring , the lid does not move or shift. If any jars did not seal, refrigerate and use the contents soon.

canning green beans

How Long Will the Pressure Canned Food Last?

The canned food shelf life is about a year for green beans. Optimize the storage by keeping the jars  stored in a cool, dark, dry space. The recommendation is to store the jars without the metal ring portion of the lid and do not stack the jars on top of each other. Stored this way, there is less chance of the jar having a false seal and staying preserved safely. When ready to serve, empty the contents into a saucepan, add enough liquid to cover and gently boil for 10 minutes.

Once you enjoy the fresh taste of your garden all year long, you will be canning green beans every year. How do you like canning green beans? Here’s a link to more methods for preserving green beans.  I suggest you try the Dilly Green Beans! Do you have a favorite vegetable that you can for eating later?

 

canning green beans




How to Pressure Can Root Vegetables

pressure can root vegetablesWhen you want to pressure can root vegetables for your food storage, it may seem like a big task. Pressure canning isn’t any harder than hot water bath canning and has many benefits.  Only high acid fruits and pickles should be canned in a hot water bath canner. The low acid root vegetable require the pressure canner preservation method for safe long term storage of food. Always use a pressure canning when canning recipes for complete meals, if any of the ingredients are low acid or meat or poultry. Hot water bath canning will seal just about any meal or food.  The pressure canner reaches a high enough temperature to kill the bacteria that could be present in low acid foods. 

Potatoes, carrots and beets may store longer in cool storage areas. They can still take a turn for the worse before the winter months are over. When you employ both methods of a food storage, a root cellar and some pressure canned food in jars, you extend the life of the root vegetables.  Perhaps use the foods in the root cellar first and then filling in with the canned potatoes, carrots or beets. This allows you to eat from your own pantry throughout the winter.  I don’t have a root cellar.  We have tried creating some sort of make shift root cellar using straw, newspaper and an enclosed container.  Some of the foods lasted a little longer than they would normally, but most of the food spoiled before we could eat them.

pressure can root vegetables

Prepare the Vegetables for the Canning Jars 

Carrots, beets and potatoes can all be pressure canned in pints or quarts. Start by washing and removing the skin on the beets and potatoes. 

Beets

Beets peel very easily if they have been oven roasted for an hour.  Cut the greens off leaving about an inch of stem and a small length of root. Place the washed raw beets on a foil lined cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Cover with foil, crimp edges to seal, and put into the oven. Roast beets at 400 degrees F., for about 45 minutes to an hour. Test the beets at 30 minutes to see how done they are. You will want the beets to be firm yet tender. When they are cooked, remove from the oven, and set on the counter to cool down. 

While still warm, but not hot, use your hands to slip the beet skin off the beets. Slice the beets or place small beets whole into canning jars.

Carrots

 For carrots, you can just scrub the vegetable but you may want or need to peel the outer layer using a vegetable peeler.  Slice, dice or chop the carrots into bite size pieces or larger. Place the carrots into the canning jars.

Potatoes

Peel the potatoes. For cold pack canning, you do not need to cook the potatoes first. Slice the potatoes or cut into chunks. Place into the canning jars.

Important!

Do not mash your root vegetables! When you pressure can root vegetables at home the canner used in home canning does not reach a high enough temperature to safely can mashed potatoes, carrots, beets, pumpkins or sweet potatoes.  Can only slices or chunks of these vegetables instead.

pressure can root vegetables

Cold Pack Method to Pressure Can Root Vegetables

Use for carrots, 

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. 

Pack the vegetables into the quart or pint glass canning jars. 

Add the hot water to the jars using a ladle and a canning funnel. 

Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean cloth or paper towel

Place the flat canning lid on the jars and tighten band rings finger tip tight 

Hot Pack Method to Pressure Can Root Vegetables

1. Peel potatoes, wash, cut into quarters, boil 10 minutes in a saucepan covered with water.

Parsnips.rutabagas, and turnips, wash and cut to desired size. Cover with water and boil three minutes.

Beets, wash and roast or boil until the skins will fall off. Cut into desired size or slices. 

Sweet potatoes, wash, dry, then boil or steam until the skin peels off easily. Cut into quarters. 

2. Pack the hot vegetables into pint or quart canning jars.

3. Pour or ladle boiling water into the jars. Cover vegetables leaving a one inch head space. 

4. Remove air bubbles

5. Cap using two piece lids 

pressure can root vegetables

Prepare to Pressure Can Root Vegetables

One thing I really want to pass on to you. Pressure canning root vegetables takes longer than hot water bath canning. This is just the way it is. I have a stove that takes forever to heat up the pressure canner. I do not start this when I have limited amount of time and need to be somewhere else. Using an outdoor gas burner that is deemed safe for pressure canning is another option that would work better for me. I am looking for one of these to add to my canning supplies. 

Each pressure canner will have it’s own basic set of instructions which you should consult before beginning. The top, gaskets, washers and nuts, and all parts should be inspected prior to use. The pressure gauge is attached to the lid with a washer and nut that can come loose. Pressure will escape through here if you don’t tighten it before beginning. I learned this the hard way!

Place the jars into the canner setting them on the rack that is included. Leave space between each jar. Begin to heat the water.  Put the lid on the canner and seal it tight as the instructions describe for your canner.

Can You Put Potatoes, Carrots and Beets into the Canner at the Same Time?

The short answer is no. Each vegetable has a recommended time that it should be maintained at 11 pounds of pressure. (psi)  If you put the beets in with the potatoes there is no way to remove them during the process. Potatoes require a longer cooking time. The beets may become over cooked and mushy in texture. It is better to pressure can root vegetables that require the same amount of cooking time together. 

The Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving lists these suggested pressure canning times for various root vegetables

Carrots –  pints 25 minutes quarts 30 minutes @ 10 pounds pressure

Beets – pints 30 minutes  quarts 35 minutes @10 pounds pressure

Potatoes(white) – pints 35 minutes  quarts 40 minutes @ 10 pounds pressure

Sweet potatoes – pints 1 hour and 5 minutes  quarts 1 hour 30 minutes @ 10 pounds pressure

Parsnips, rutabagas and turnips – pints 30 minutes  quarts 35 minutes @ 10 pounds pressure

Source – Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving 

pressure can root vegetables

Check out this joint giveaway from our site and a few of our friends.  Wouldn’t this make your canning life even better?  I think so. This stove is something I really want to grab one day soon.

The giveaway runs from today, Monday August 22nd, through next Monday at 11:59pm EST (August 29th.) It is open to US and Canadian residents. Please make sure that you enter with an email address that you will check. The winning entry will be verified if applicable. The winner will have 3 days to respond or another winner will be chosen. The winner will be announced within the widget on Tuesday morning within the entry widget.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

pressure can root vegetables

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pressure can root vegetables




3 Ingredient Homemade Iced Cafe Mocha

iced cafe mochaRecently, I came up with three ingredients that make a delicious iced cafe mocha. In the past, nothing I put together for an iced cafe mocha measured up in taste and richness to the high priced coffee shop mocha treats. For a serious coffee drinker like me, it has to be good! Sometimes, the weather gets sizzling and drinking a hot cup of coffee is almost too much to attempt. Usually, I drink the hot coffee anyway, but having an iced coffee with delicious rich flavor is the perfect drink. 

I was shopping at my favorite food market one day, and noticed a bottle of cold brew coffee. I didn’t know that there was such a product. It was just coffee, strong brewed and chilled.  Intrigued, I popped that bottle into my cart. I wasn’t sure at the time what I would use if for, I was just curious. Thoughts of using it to make rich mocha flavored cake or maybe and ice cream dessert ran through my head. 

Fast forward a few days and I had the urge to drive to the local coffee shop for a frozen coffee drink.  But I really didn’t want to go anywhere.  Pulling out the bottle of iced coffee I thought about how I could make it into a cold coffee drink at home. Start small, I thought. You can always add more ingredients but you can’t take them out! I grabbed the organic chocolate syrup and the rich creamy Jersey milk I had recently found at the market.  Wow, is that milk rich. 

Three Ingredient Iced Cafe Mocha Recipe    iced cafe mocha

4 ounces cold strong coffee

3 ounces milk

2 Tablespoons chocolate syrup (make your own chocolate syrup at home with this recipe)

I used my immersion stick blender to mix the drink. This even created a frothy layer at the top. Add ice cubes or not depending on how cold you like the drink.  If you prefer to have a frozen drink, add ice and mix in the blender. 

In my opinion, this is an awesome coffee drink to make at home for very little cost.  Don’t forget to support your local coffee shop when you are out and about. When you are at home, save some money and the trip and make it yourself!

Other Drinks to Make at Home

What’s the latest brew that is getting a lot of buzz?  Mead!  Have you tried making it yourself? It’s really quite an ancient drink that is making a resurgence. Made from water and honey and using fermenting air lock tops, you can try the drink that the Vikings enjoyed!   Learn more about making mead from Grow Forage Cook Ferment.

I drink a lot of Kombucha. It is part of my daily plan to keep my body healthy. Full of vitamins and probiotics, kombucha is actually a fermented drink made from sweet tea. As it develops, the good bacteria consume the sugar, leaving a sugar free, bubbly thirst quenching beverage.  Adding some real fruit juice and allowing a second ferment yields a fruit flavored carbonated drink that is actually good for you. For instructions check this post from My Healthy Green Family

Sun tea is another brewed beverage that is easy to make on your back porch. I like this recipe that makes tea with herbs, and berries, from Fresh Eggs Daily.

Shrubs. I never heard of this drink before the other day. Homestead Honey had a post on making this thirst quencher. I learned it is a popular drink from a couple hundred years ago!  Read more about this drink here.  Or, if you really want to have a soda, Homestead Honey has a recipe for that, too.

iced cafe mocha

 

 




Freezing Eggs

freezing eggsRecently a question was asked concerning freezing eggs after they are hard cooked eggs. I did not know the answer so I did what every other red blooded human being does now, googled it. I was led to the site of the American Egg Board. They have a whole site dedicated to….. EGGS! How to cook, store, freeze, dry, and other ways to use the incredible, edible egg. Yes, they are the ones who coined the phrase over thirty years ago. Wow, I remember that so I must be getting old!

Eggs are plentiful from the layer hens in Spring through early Summer.  You may have more eggs than your family needs so freezing eggs would be a great way to preserve the fresh eggs for winter, when egg laying might taper off.

Ok but back to the question at hand. This question was posed after I shared an article written by my friend Lesa from Better Hens and Gardens. Easy Peel Hardboiled Fresh Eggs. Check it out. IF you aren’t using the steaming method described by Lesa, you are probably fighting to get the shells off the hard cooked eggs.

freezing eggs

 

Baking Eggs for Hard Boiled Eggs

Another way I have tried cooking eggs is to bake them in the shell. You place the eggs into a muffin tin and bake at 350 degrees for half an hour. It definitely works and is very simple to do. However, some drying can occur and I did not find it completely easy to peel the egg shells off. It was a little easier than when I boiled the eggs but still, not as easy as steaming. freezing eggs

Freezing hard cooked eggs is possible with some modifications.

The Egg Board recommends separating the yolks from the whites after the egg is hard boiled, steamed or baked. The whites may become watery and tough when frozen.

I am not sure why you would need to do this step recommended by the Egg Board, but I will quote it here for you.

“You can freeze hard-boiled egg yolks to use later for toppings or garnishes. Carefully place the yolks in a single layer in a saucepan and add enough water to come at least 1 inch above the yolks. Cover and quickly bring just to boiling. Remove the pan from the heat and let the yolks stand, covered, in the hot water about 12 minutes. Remove the yolks with a slotted spoon, drain them well and package them for freezing.”

I don’t know why you need to re-cook the yolks before freezing them but hey, I am just passing on the info.

freezing eggs

Freezing Eggs Before Cooking

Can you freeze fresh eggs also?  Yes and many people use this method to store eggs from the hens’ high production times.  Our egg production is highest in Spring and early Summer.  As we approach fall and the fall molting period, eggs can become scarce.  Freezing eggs during the Spring ensures we will have eggs available for fall baking.

Simply break the eggs into a bowl and whisk gently. Adding a quarter teaspoon of salt per cup of whisked eggs, will help keep them from being grainy after freezing eggs.  Using a tablespoon to measure, scoop out three tablespoons of the whisked eggs.  This is the approximate measurement of one whole egg.  I like to use large ice cube trays but you can also put small custard cups on a cookie sheet and put the egg into those.  

Pop the eggs into the freezer.  When frozen completely, remove from the ice tray or custard cup and store in a freezer container or zip lock freezer bag.  When you need eggs for a recipe, thaw and use as normal.  For more info on freezing fresh eggs visit this post from Fresh Eggs Daily.

There you have it folks! For more information from the American Egg Board, you can visit their website. It has lots of information and activities including a fun little egg knowledge quiz.

Enjoy!

For information on why fresh eggs from the coop sometimes look strange, and if they are safe to eat, take a look at this post with a print out ready chart.

 

Pin this info for later!

freezing eggs

 




Most Amazing Carrot Cake

A Recipe for Comfort Food and Old Fashioned Goodness in Carrot Cake 

carrot cakeWhat happens when you take fresh carrots, homemade applesauce, and the ingredients most often associated with cake, and mix them together?  After baking, you have the moist, rich, delicious dessert we call Carrot Cake.  This recipe is an old fashioned cake recipe, using lots of fresh ingredients.  There is no skimping on goodness with this carrot cake!  Don’t be alarmed at the amount of goodness!  After all, it’s dessert with lots of veggies and fruit tucked inside.  

My recommendation for putting this cake together is to gather up all the ingredients on your counter and measure out the amounts.  Since there are a lot of items to include, this system will help you avoid leaving out any of the goodness.  

I am not a fan of raisins or nuts in baked goods, so in my cake they are left out. The nuts and raisins are optional though, so I encourage you to use your own creativity on that topic.

Old Fashioned Carrot Cake 

Gather the ingredients

3 cups of flour

2.5 cups sugar

4 medium sized carrots shredded to make to 2 cups of shredded carrot

1 Tablespoon baking soda

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs

1.5 cups cooking oil

1 cup of unsweetened applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

(8 oz walnuts or 4 oz raisins and 4 oz walnuts) optional

confectioners sugar for glaze

 

In a small bowl, beat the eggs slightly, add the oil and vanilla extract.  

In large bowl or in mixer bowl combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients.

Stir in the shredded carrots, applesauce and any other ingredients desired.

 

Grease and flour a 10 inch bundt pan.  (you can use this recipe for two layer cake pans too.  There may be enough batter left over to make a couple of muffins!)  

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit

Bake the Carrot Cake for an hour and twenty minutes.  (80 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.  

Cool the cake for ten minutes in the pan.  Invert the pan onto a cooling rack and cool completely.   

When ready to glaze and serve, transfer to a serving plate.  Mix the confectioner sugar with about 5 tablespoons of water and mix completely .  Drizzle the glaze over the cake.  

Alternative serving idea

Cream cheese frosting or butter cream frosting

 

carrot cake

Looking for more rich decadent dessert recipes?  I love this one from Joybilee Farm  Meyer Lemon Bundt Cake