Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Some thoughts about efficient home canning...

I started canning in 1976, the summer our second son was born.  I remember when he was 2-weeks-old, sitting in a chair nursing him, snapping green beans and watching the pressure canner all at the same time.  I was one determined momma! 

Here I am, 41 years later and that baby is, of course, 41 years old.  Still canning... 

I have learned how to do it in a way, that for me, is quite efficient.  If I can set up my system carefully, it makes it so much more streamlined and enjoyable.  I want to walk you through it.  Today I canned 14 quarts of my "World Famous Chili Beans."  ;)  I have had 27,168 hits on that page as of right now, so I think they must be world famous at least fairly popular.

Last night, I washed and picked over 8 pounds of red kidney beans to soak in my huge stock pot with water and a few glugs of lemon juice.  Then I went and retrieved the quart jars I was planning to use, washed them carefully and put them on a towel to drain.  I mixed up the seasoning mix, and gathered the lid rings and caps.  Everything was clean and ready to go.

So, today, I drained those beans (only a 24 hour soak - not as long as in the original recipe - I was in a hurry), rinsed them, put them in clean water in the stock pot and boiled them for 30 minutes

In the meantime, I got everything else ready, putting the spice mix and salt into the jars and heating up the caps.

The pads in the foreground are to set the hot pot of beans on.  Here are the caps and rings:

Here is a trivet and my magnetic wand for picking up the hot caps out of the water and also a clean, damp washrag for wiping the rims of the jars before applying the caps.

I then prepared the pressure canner by adding 3 quarts of water and a little vinegar and the rack for the bottom.  I filled the jars, applied the lids and put 7 jars into the canner, and since these are quarts, after exhausting for 10 minutes, I processed them at 10 pounds pressure for 90 minutes.

After sufficient cooling, I placed the finished jars of chili beans on a folded towel on the counter.

This is two 7-quart batches.  I had quite a lot of beans left over.  I think next time I'll just use 7 pounds of beans instead of 8... but don't worry, the leftover beans will get eaten with brown rice, home canned salsa and sour cream... oh yum.

My point is... plan your work and system.  First, wash, dry and put away all of your dishes and start with a clean kitchen.  Then clean up as you go.  It's so much more fun that way! 
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