Our life living off the land in our log cabin, breathing fresh mountain air, and getting back to basics.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

My First Attempt At Canning Green Beans

I've been excited about being able to experience canning for the very first time...so far it's been a comedy of errors and I thought you'd laugh along with me as you hear of my escapades.

I got a pressure canner from my friend Bertie, but I couldn't find the pressure gauge...she said "isn't it in the pot?"...I said no and went on a search to every possible retailer in town that might possibly carry parts for this canner.  I had failed to get the model number (an important piece of information when looking for a replacement gauge), so when I got home I turned the pot over to get the model number and I hear this clunk..."hmph" I say to myself and open the lid...there sat the gauge...it must have been under the jar rack.  "Woo hoo, I'm on my way to canning my beans!"  I had to ask several friends what pressure to use, because our elevation requires 12.5 lbs of pressure, and the gauge only has 5, 10 and 15 as options.  My friend Patti who writes Osage Bluff Quilter told me her husband the Blacksmith and the Canner of the family said "15, I always can with 15 lbs of pressure".  Awesome, now I can begin!!!

Johny and I harvested more beans this morning and along with those we collected over the past few days, I cleaned, cut the ends and tried to string those with strings...this would be one of those funny situations that is funny now but won't be funny for anyone eating the beans because I don't seem to have the knack of getting to those strings without tearing the entire bean apart...so some of the beans still have strings...I figure that's OK, more fiber!...but I will warn anyone otherwise enjoying what is bound to be awesome canned beans.  Here's my beans, ready for jarring.
I'm giddy at this point, excited to have the first jar filled with beans. 
I have enough for 4 quarts.  While cleaning, cutting and filling the jars, I've been boiling my water...I pour the water over the beans, add 1 teaspoon of salt, use a rubber spatula to get any air out from around the beans and place the seal and ring on the jars.  Don't they look lovely?

I put them in the canner with the required amount of water and watched for the steam to begin to escape the vent (this is the point you are waiting for to time the steaming pot for 10 minutes before putting the gauge on to begin the actual canning).  I'm giggling out loud at this point...and then I hear the lid kind of jiggling and realize steam is escaping from the sides of the pot and water is spewing from several spots...this should not be occurring.  I turn off the heat, let the pot cool a little, remove the lid, check the rubber seal...it looks like it fits, but obviously it isn't working.
Now I'm almost in tears...I'm so disappointed...what to do now?  I have 4 jars of somewhere between blanched and cooked green beans, but obviously continuing to can under pressure is not going to work without a new rubber gasket.  Johny and I discussed it, and decided to pour the beans out, cool them off and freeze them as I've done with others.  Not a total loss!  As I'm doing this, two of the jars make that awesome popping sound as the tops of the jars seal...this makes me giggle again...
 ...so I'm saving those two jars to keep in the fridge and we'll eat those next time we have beans.  Not a total loss, I'm glad we could save those beans...definitely a learning experience...and fun along the way!

I'm hoping we still harvest enough beans that I get to can some.  In the meantime, it's time to look for a new rubber gasket! 

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,


Osage Bluff Quilter said...

Before you go buy a new rubber ring, you might try oil the ring. what that does is refresh it.

I would be Bertie hadn't used the canner in awhile and the ring was dry!

I hate to hear that it didn't work :(

Lise said...

Great idea Patti, I will do that! Can't hurt! I was very disappointed that it didn't work, but I did learn a lot. Thanks for the suggestion, I'll let you know how it goes!

Dad/Pepere said...

Success is not measured by heights achieved but by obstacles overcome! Congratulations. Hugs!

Lise said...

So true dad...love your wisdom and you:) Hugs back!