Friday, September 26, 2008

A confused Apple Tree!

That is an apple blossom - I guess the tree doesn't realize that this is Indian Summer and not Spring! I see several more on the tree - I hope that doesn't mean it won't blossom in the spring!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I've never grown peppers this large before!

My pepper plants are loaded with huge peppers just like these two. The larger one is almost 8 inches long and weighed 15 oz - almost a pound! The smaller one was 13 oz!

And they are tasty too. Who needs chemicals to grow big veggies when compost grows them like this?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Canning Green Beans Step by Step

My green beans are producing late this year. I freeze most of my beans, but Andy seems to like canned beans better so I canned some today.

Here are step by step instructions:

First cut up your beans to the size desired - I frenched mine. You can leave them whole or cut them up - just make sure the pieces are pretty uniform.

This is my frenching machine - it clamps to the table - I have no idea where I got it - I've had it for years.

Sterilize your jars - if you have a dishwasher, that will work - I don't so I use the canner - I fill them with water and bring to a boil.

Pack the raw green beans into the jars - pack them tightly.

Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt per pint (salt is totally optional).

Pour boiling water over the beans - fill up the top of the beans leaving at least 1/2 inch headspace.

Run a knife or spatula inside the jar to release air bubbles that might be trapped. This is a very important step - skip it and you may end up with jars that do not seal.

Wipe the rims of the jars off with a clean cloth.

Put lids and bans on jars. And put into a pressure canner. You cannot can green beans using the open kettle method - you must have a pressure canner.

Follow your manufacturer's directions - mine say to add 3 quarts of boiling water and then the jars (on the rack - never use it without a rack). Put the lid on and lock - but don't put the pentcock on yet - let steam freely come out the valve for 5 to 10 minutes.

After you have vented the steam out, put the pentcock on and watch the pressure - you will start timing once it gets to 11 lbs. Adjust the heat to keep the pressure steady at the 11 lbs.

Set the timer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes turn off the heat and let the pressure cooker cool naturally. When the pressure drops to zero, remove the pentcock - wait at least 5 minutes and then open the lid - making sure you open it away from you so the steam doesn't burn you. Let the jars cool in the pressure cooker for at least 5 minutes to get used to the temperature change.

Then let cool on a towel. When cool check to make sure that they sealed.