I wonder how many people still engage in canning. It seems like a dying art and not too many people know about it or how to do it. I know, though, it’s something my family has done for years and I really enjoy it. Also, now that my girls are old enough, I can involve them.
I remember helping my grandmother and mother when they were canning tomatoes, green beans and hot peppers. It’s nice knowing where your food comes from and that it’s fresh. Some of the things I can are salsa, green beans and vegetable soup. And I’d like to try and do more. When I was first married, my grandma gave me canned meat for my very first pot of vegetable soup. I have to say, that was the BEST vegetable soup I ever made, even to this day.
When canning it takes a lot of preparation and time. You have to wash the jars and sanitize them, making sure you have enough rings and lids. You have to prepare the vegetable or whatever and then place it in the canner.
Since I’m working on green beans right now, I thought I’d share how I do them. Once everything is washed and ready you pack the jars full of beans to the rim, leaving a little bit of room at the top. Then, depending on if pint or quart, you add canning salt: a half a teaspoon for a pint and one for teaspoon for quarts. Then fill the jar with water to the rim. Place the lids and rings on, screw the rings fairly tight and place in the canner.
Also, make sure you have the correct amount of water and vinegar in the canner. Turn the heat on high and, once pressure starts to build, the valve will pop and you can put on the shaker to seal in the pressure.
Once you’ve reached the desired pounds of pressure -- which is 11 pounds for beans -- you set the timer and keep an eye on it to make sure you regulate the heat, keeping the pressure where it needs to be. Pints are for 20 minutes and quarts are for 25 minutes.
Once finished, you let the canner sit until the valve has gone down and the pressure gauge is at zero. Then remove the lid and place the jars on a towel to let them settle. It’s neat to hear each pop once they cool down because you know that they are sealing. I really hope my girls will continue this old-fashioned tradition when they get older.