Saturday, July 26, 2008

Green Beans

For some reason I like the flavor of canned green beans.  I also love them fresh and eat them like crazy off the vines and bushes.  I grow a lot but not really enough for any serious canning. I'm sure in a week I'll be tired of eating them every night but still, I only have enough to put up a jar or two of pickled green beans.  I read an article the other day in the Oregonian that used some rosemary and lemon slices in with the pickled green beans that sounded good and I think I'll do that.

As an update.  You pickle green beans because they are low in acid.  Once you add the vinegar to them (and follow a tested recipe for that - you can order good simple primers from OSU Extension or get the blue book.  Mirador Community store has some), you have "acidified" them which makes them safe for canning in a boiling water canner.  That is a process distinctly separate from a pressure canner that gets temperatures inside the jar to 24o degrees as opposed to a water boiling canner that only gets temps to 212 degrees.  And you need the pressure canner if you are going to can your green beans without vinegar.  

Actually, that is the same with all vegetables.  They are low acid and fruits are high acid.  Low acid foods, unless properly acidified (adding vinegar or proper fermentation -- a whole other story) must be canned with a pressure canner.  You can freeze them of course but I never like the way frozen beans taste.  Except my Romano green beans which I do like frozen but only when I cook them first with tomatoes and onions and garlic and herbs and what not.  Then I just freeze up that stew and defrost it in winter when I'm ready.  I really like them.

But for off the shelf eating I like canned green beans and probably will cook them up with a little bacon when the time comes.  Oh gosh, I'm so country but I like it.  So I'm going picking with mom and marge on tuesday and pressure canning up a ton.  And as a head's up, Preserve will be offering a pressure canning class on August 13th that will be sure to fill in a heart beat.  I guess if there is interest in the group I can offer another workshop at my home separate from Preserve proper.  Let me know if anyone is interested.

Oh yeah, I'm talking to the portland urban homesteaders now.  I get so confused.  There is my website and my column on Culinate and  the pdx urban homesteaders and now this blog.  You kids! I still remember using mag cards before computers were the rage.  But that is a long time ago particularly in a world where one year offers so many changes.

And maybe that is why I like growing food and preserving.  It keeps me grounded in a world of tides and seasons.  My body, mind and spirit thanks me for it.

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