Sunday, July 4, 2010

Canning Happens

Happy 4th of July! Today I slept in, finished a book that I was reading, fed my worms (the compost was getting a little stinky), and planned for my new class that starts on Monday. Then with the rest of the afternoon ahead of me, I decided that it was time to do some canning.

I know that the experts say that you should only can produce that was picked the same day, but since I am canning the produce that I have grown, I need to wait until I have enough to can. So my produce has been picked all week and may be up to 7 days old. I figure that if I went to the grocery store to buy produce, it would be at least that old. I guess we'll see how it tastes. I had 1 lb. 10 oz. of pickling cucumbers and 2 lbs 6 oz of green and purple beans. Not enough for a full batch of anything, so I decided to make a half batch of dilly beans and a half batch of dill pickles. To make the dill pickles, the cucumbers needed to sit in a brine for 2 hours, so I set that up first. My in-laws got me a pasta put with a colander that fits in the pot. It was perfect for keeping the cucumbers under water.

Next I had to get the water in the boiling water canner boiling. That can take 45 minutes if it is full of water. I put 7 pint jars inside the canner to sterilize them. Then I started the pickling liquid for the dilly beans. My dilly bean recipe comes from my aunt Cindy, but I add more crushed red pepper because Jason and I like spicy pickles. While the pickling liquid heated up, I sliced the ends off of the beans and cut them so that they would fit into a wide-mouthed pint jar. My recipe calls for fresh dill, but I only had dried dill. I hope that it works all right.

All of my ingredients ready to go

Once the water in the canner started boiling, I could fill the jars. I packed them full of beans, with a piece of garlic and jalapeƱo in each one (they both are from our garden as well) and then filled the jar up with the pickling liquid. I had a minor set back with the dilly beans. One jar broke when I put it back in the canner. I couldn't fish out all of the beans so I did the rest of my canning with beans floating through the water. Oops! Once the jars were filled and the lids were on, I put them in the boiling canner for 15 minutes.

Filling the jars with beans

The boiling canner with sterilized jars

Oops, one jar broke!

Filling the jars with pickling liquid

As the dilly beans were finishing, the 2 hours that the cucumbers needed to sit in the brine was up. I quickly prepared the pickling liquid for the dill pickles. I needed to sterilize more jars and add some more water to the boiling canner. After filling the jars, and processing them for 15 minutes, I had 4 pints of dill pickles.

Jason and I get to spend the rest of the 4th together, watching movies and hanging out! He get's the day off tomorrow, and I only work in the morning. I hope that everyone has a fun time with friends and family!

Letting the jars cool

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