I spent the day with my Mom yesterday and she taught me how to pressure can for the first time ever. I went in to this completely blind and was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was. Now I have a new skill to add to my list! Yay! Thanks Mom!
While this is in no way meant to be a guide to pressure canning I'll share a few pics and the basic process. That way if you find someone to teach you it won't be so mystifying.
The black pot has a strainer in it and boiling water. The silver one is the pressure canner with a few inches of water in the bottom. We snapped the beans in 2-3 inch pieces and removed the ends. Next, we rinsed them under cool water and put them in the black pot of boiling water. Once the water comes back to a boil they stay in for 5 minutes. At that point we pulled out the strainer, allowed the water to drain back in to the pot, and poured the beans in to the plastic strainer in the sink.
Then it is time to put the beans in the jars. I used the end of a wooden spoon to arrange them and filled them almost to the neck of the jar. The jars will get very HOT. Duh, but I'm a little slow.
You use the liquid from the black pot to fill the jars. Leave about 1 inch of headspace. Wipe the rim clean, then place the lids and rings on as usual.
Here's the fun part!! Put them in the pressure canner and secure the lid. We used the canner's owner's manual and the Ball canning book to figure out the specifics. For our canner we need moderate steam coming out of the little hole on top for 7-10 minutes. At that point we put the little weight on top of that hole. Stick with me here... each recipe calls for certain pounds of pressure. For our canner the piece with the black top equals 5 pounds and each silver ring is five additional pounds. So we put one ring on the black piece and set that over the steam hole. When the pressure reaches 10 pounds the steam comes out forcefully enough to rock the little weight back and forth. Once the weight starts rocking your processing time begins. I set the timer for 25 minutes.
When the time is up you just turn off the burner and wait. There is a little button thing on top of the canner that sticks up as long as it is holding pressure. When the button drops the pressure is gone. Then you can tip the weight sideways to check it. If no steam comes out it is safe to remove the lid. It took a very long time for the jars to cool, much longer than jam from what I remember. Therefore it also took a long time for them to seal.
By the way, 5# of grean beans from my garden = 4 full quarts. Not bad! :)
Do you pressure can? Isn't it fun!? What is your favorite food to pressure can?
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