I received a wonderful offer today from a dear friend and colleague. A hands-on canning lesson with fresh Blue Lake bush beans from her husband’s garden. The photo below captures about half of his very productive garden. He is growing okra, summer squash, beans, broccoli, tomatoes, eggplant, basil and I am sure I am missing at least a few more.
The Ball canning recipe book was open on the island and 6 quarts of beans were cleaned and snapped in a large bowl. We used a colander to submerge a portion of the beans into boiling water for 5 minutes.
The 1 quart canning jars fresh out of a 180 degree hot water bath are started with 1 tsp. salt before being packed with freshly cooked beans to 1″ from the top of the jar. The cooking liquid is then ladled in to the same 1″ from the top. Long sticks are used to remove air bubbles by compressing the cooked beans inward from the jar and working all the way around it a couple of times.
The liquid is topped off to 1″ again and the neck of the jar cleaned to prepare it for being sealed.
The hot lid is added fresh from the hot water bath (180 degrees) with tongs.
The lids are screwed on hand-tight and jars are packed into the pressure cooker.
The recipe instructions for the pressure cooker are very specific. Eventually the pressure reaches 10 lbs and the beans are cooked another 25 minutes.
At the end of a couple of hours of wonderful company and conversation and a bit of vino, she had canned green beans and I had more experience and comfort with canning.
On top of the lesson, she generously shared 2 quarts of the newly canned beans as well as some of their fresh garden bounty. I thanked her by graciously inviting myself to an upcoming tomato canning 🙂