OK. This photo is of a snap pea, not a green bean. My camera recently broke so there are no bean photos for the moment. If you squint your eyes a bit, the pea will lengthen and look bean-like. I promise.
We harvested our first green beans this week! Oh the joy and deliciousness! It was pretty much unanimous around the table last night that green beans just picked and steamed with a bit of butter on top is one of the best vegetables of all time. Yum.
The beans currently ready to be harvested are just a trickle right now. By the end of this week, it will be an onslaught. This means I need to start thinking about canning. I don't actually can plain green beans. Canning green beans means using a pressure cooker and, to be honest, this device frightens me. Something about amazing high pressure and boiling water and glass...call me a wimp. Maybe someday when I'm older and more mature, I'll be able to handle it. Besides, everyone around here prefers frozen green beans. So, we'll freeze a bunch.
The beans we do can are pickled first. Dilly Beans. Yum. Big Yum.
Dilly Beans might just be a Midwest thing because I'd never heard of them until we moved to Wisconsin, but those little things are tasty and easy to can. No pressure cooker is required because Dilly Beans are pickled. Pickling involves vinegar which is an acid and high acid foods like tomatoes and pickled things don't need a pressure cooker.
All of this canning stuff was foreign to me four years ago when my dear friend Jessica took me under her wing and taught me to can. Her lessons opened a whole new world to me and have allowed me to help feed my family well. Jessica is a kitchen adventurer, too - she can use a pressure cooker.
I'm not going to attempt a "How to Can" blog post because the internet is filled with great sites that can teach you all you need to know. I do plan to post about the things we're canning here on the Farm, including the recipes. I'd also be more than willing to teach someone how to can if you live in the area or want to fly in for a visit...hint hint hint...to those in the West or South. Just ask - canning with other folks is great fun!
Back to my thoughts about getting ready to can...I've acquired more jars in the past few months so things are looking good in that regard. I think I have about 50 quart sized jars and 30 or so pint jars empty and waiting in the basement. Now my thoughts have moved to lids.
The lids on canning jars are what make the seal. They are metal and have an inner rim of reddish plastic which heats up and makes the seal on the jar. Very key in the whole process. However, the lids are the one thing about canning that has bothered me. They aren't reusable. One use and you have to toss them. This seems to fly in the face of canning where you grow or get fresh food, grab a jar and rim (both reusable), do some work and are rewarded with a useful thing of beauty. When you get hungry and pop off the top on the work of art, you've got to throw said top away. It just doesn't seem right.
OK. The lids are reusable for some things. I could use them to make some sort of punch art Christmas ornament with a ribbon hanger glued on. But I don't and I probably won't...ever. So, then I've got that guilt to live with.
BPA in them. Something I prefer to avoid, if possible, when feeding my crew.
All in the Tattlers seem to be a good investment. Besides, I'll get non-crafty guilt monkey off my back, too.