Monday, September 14, 2009

And The Fun Never Stops

Or at least it hasn't yet! :)

A few more canning adventures to share today. I mentioned the dill that I got from my parents that was picked out of my grandparent's garden in South Dakota...did you get all of that? I put it to good use in the traditional way by canning dill pickles and also canning dilly beans. We used to do big whole pickles when I was growing up as well as bread and butter pickles. I threw caution to the wind and canned dill pickle spears! And I've never had pickled dill beans, but it seems to be a very popular thing and I love dill so I figured I'd give it a try. So, Nettacow you were right that pickles were in the picture! But beans, who would have thought? Tons of canners all over the place, that's who. Now for enough time to pass so I can crack open a pint and give them a taste!

First things first, here is the recipe I used for Canned Dill Pickles. Here is my big bowl of cucumbers all cut up and ready to become pickles.

This gave me enough for 7 pints of pickles and a few left for eating as they were. I really tried my best to squish them in the jar as tight as possible which is why they wouldn't win any blue ribbons at the fair. But even so, aren't the jars cute all ready for their brine?

The beans and pickles required a bit of garlic so I got to work smooshing and then peeling some cloves. Hopefully it doesn't affect the flavor too much, but I find that it is SO much easier to peel garlic when you've smashed it with the knife first.

Then I washed the beans and got them ready for a quick 3 min steam. I did this with the frist pints I canned, but when I came back a few days later to do some more beans I picked up at the farmer's market I skipped this step. I figure they are going in a boiling water bath, so they are getting as cooked as they need to be. Any one have any thoughts on this? Will my other jars be terrible?

The key to good steaming is to stop the cooking process ASAP. So after the 3 minutes was up they headed into an ice water bath.

I bought these at the farmer's market as well. I cleaned out this vendors green beans ($1/lb) and to equal 2 pounds I needed a few yellow ones as well. I did a couple of jars all green and a couple mixed.

A hill of beans!

Okay, so the disappointing thing. I haven't gotten a picture of them afte they came out of the water bath. It was late, the lighting was bad, I was hot and tired. Need more excuses? :) I will get one though. And then I'll show you that a girl can learn and how much prettier my next set of dilly beans were. There is a trick to packing green beans into a jar!

Have a great day,



  1. I'd NEVER have guessed dilly beans - do report back when you try them!

    Regarding your garlic, I'd think smooshing it would be BETTER because it would impart more garlic flavor into your brine and thus into the pickles (and beans). The only problem I could see would be if it were too garlicky - I wouldn't think you'd be crossing that line, though.

    The tiny bit I know about blanching/steaming is that it kills off (?) a certain enzyme and stops the aging process. It seems that you should do it especially if you're freezing, but since you're "cooking" them while in the canner . . .

    Actually, I've been reading that beans should go in a pressure canner - we were talking about that this morning while I was proofreading at the newspaper. One of the employees actually tried oven canning beans (yikes!) and another mentioned that she'd covered a story of an entire family that died of botulism (sp?). Good grief, it's no wonder that people are getting out of canning food anymore!

    Anyway. I do wish there was a better way than having that hot stove and all the humidity in the air. Hubs has a turkey cooker burner that runs off propane that he bought to brew beer . . . maybe I ought to look at moving my canning outside? I think it's too disconnected to do it that way, though . . .

  2. I've read that beans are also only to be pressure canned if they are just being done as canned beans. Same with corn, peas and most other regular vegetables, besides tomatoes. I'm sticking with pickle type things for that very reason! I am loving canning (other than the heat) and am excited for what a good thing it is for my family. However, I also want to be smart about not causing illness or death in those I love! And I do not own a pressure canner at this point. They scare me a bit, without reason I'm sure, but for now I am sticking with freezing vegetables that aren't tomatoes or pickles!

    I'm jealous of those homes that had outdoor kitchens for the summer...those women were smart! Although I'm sure they were awfully hot while canning, they could at least escape it when they went back in the house. I think I'd be considering that turkey cooker burner very seriously!

    They are saying we are going from the 80s to the 60s overnight here. Crazy weather!


  3. Acidic items can be water bathed. Via natural sources (fruit, tomatoes & a few other items). Most high acid food a bit of lemon juice is added as "insurance" of acidity. Low acid foods can be water bathed ONLY if they are in vinegar (5%), typically in a 5 to 1 ratio (but use a recipe). All other items need to be frozen (blanching burst cell walls & prevent enzymes from decomposing), or pressure canned.

    I love my pressure canner! But I grew up with my mom using one. They are not hard. I would recommend getting one with a gauge on top (to watch the pressure). As long as you follow directions, open with pressure at 0 - it's very easy & safe. Find someone in your area to show you the ropes! I highly recommend it!

  4. Thanks for the advice/information Andrea! I figure that my hesitation at pressure canning is more of a fear of the unknown more than anything else. Our freezer is big enough right now, but if we start buying local meat in bulk than I will need the freezer for that and the other veggies will need to be canned.

    Isn't it interesting how we gravitate towards what we grew up with? I'm fairly comfortable doing the canning after years and years away from it because I spent many summer days seeing my mom can. But she only used a water bath, so that is what I am doing too!

    Good luck with your canning.