I Think I Can!

Heather_Barnes
Senior Reader
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My son loves green beans.  He does not get this from his mother. 

 

This year my Farmer-In-Law planted three rows of green beans.  After my days of butter beans and squash, I thought my time in the garden was done.  I was wrong.  I drove by the garden the other day and saw that it had been bushogged, except for three rows of green beans.  It seems the plants decided to produce after all. 

 

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So here I was with a 5 gallon bucket of green beans my Farmer-In-Law picked for my son.  What's a good farm wife to do?  Time to break out the Ball Blue Book.

 

First, let me tell you how I got to this moment....starring at a 5-gallon bucket of green beans sitting in my kitchen floor.

 

Three years ago I decided I was going to take a canning class so I could can fruits and vegetables and make strawberry jam for everyone's Christmas gifts.  I'm a farm wife after all, so isn't it a requirement that I have this skill?

 

I should mention here that prior to taking this class, the only experience I had with canning was cleaning out the old smokehouse at my great-aunts house after the last of my granddad's sisters passed away. I'm pretty sure some of those cans of unidentifiable canned food were older than I was.  You can see that I was an excellent candidate for a canning class.

 

I took a series of classes at my local North Carolina Cooperative Extension office where we made strawberry jam (or jelly, I'm still not clear on the difference), green beans and something else.  I really did pay attention and took great notes.  But in between that class I had a baby, which meant that many items in our small house got packed up and moved to the shed.  I could find the canner (pressure and hot water bath), find my jars (the wrong sized ones of course) but what I couldn't find was my Ball Blue Book.  The Bible of canning.  I'm sure it's in a box.  I'm just not sure which box. 

 

Of course this was just the excuse I needed for a trip to Target.  A gal can't can green beans without quart sized jars and the Ball Blue Book. I would like to say that I only bought those two items, but seriously, it was a trip to Target. 

 

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So, back to this bucket in my kitchen at 7:00 on a Friday night.  With no jars.  No Ball Blue Book. And a meeting all day on Saturday.

 

I sent an SOS text to my Aunt Kathy, who I want to be like when I grow up.  Literally I sent this picture and message:

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"What do I do with all of these green beans?"

 

Thankfully she replied and informed me that I could snap the ends off, wash them and put the green beans in the fridge until I had time to can them on Sunday.  So it was me, a bucket of beans and HGTV.  Farm wife Friday night. 

 

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Carefully following Kathy's instructions, I snapped the ends of my bucket o'beans, snapped them into smaller pieces so they would fit in the jar, washed and stored my bounty in the fridge.  Until Sunday.  Did I mention I had a meeting Saturday?  And that I needed jars and my canning Bible?

 

Fast forward to Sunday.  My trip to Target netted me the supplies I needed plus 10.8 things I didn't.  Time to prep....

 

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I've got my jars, my green beans, my canning Bible, directions for the canner and a scale.  Plus a toy car.  Who cans green beans without a toy car?

 

We don't have a dish washer so I had to sterilize my jars by boiling them.  Then it was time to fill the jars (thanks My Farmer for helping!), add water, get the air bubbles out and wipe down the lids before putting on the lid.  I missed a few of these steps on my first 6 jars.  Really, I did read the directions first.  I swear those directions were on a different page.

 

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In they go!

 

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48,792,037,423 minutes later the jars were ready to come out of the pressure canner.

 

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Waiting to hear the jars pop was like waiting for my son to be born.  Well there's no comparison to My Little Farmer's birth, but I was sitting on the edge of the couch in anticipation and maybe left a bruise on My Farmer's arm hitting him in excitement when I heard the first pop.  Then the second.  Third.  Then.......

 

It was quiet.  No more pops. 

 

I checked all the jars the next morning and I would need a pry bar to get those lids off so I'm calling this a success. 

 

Do you have any canning advice for this newbie?

 

Disclaimer:  If you've read anything I wrote up to this point you know I am not a canning expert.  Do not use my experience as your instructional guide for canning green beans.  Find a class, read a book, talk to your grandma.