Well, I did it! I turned two and a half gallons of green beans into seven pints of canned beans for the winter. Boy! Do I feel thrifty. I'm thinking that if I accounted for the time I spent in canning those beans, plus the new pressure canner, plus the jars, they probably cost around fifteen dollars a pint. Of course that includes gardening and picking time too.
But won't I be proud to open up those jars later on in the year? I sure hope they taste good.
Pressure canning is different from boiling water bath canning. For things that have a highly acidic nature like pickles with vinegar or tomatoes which have their own acid, the water bath method will do fine. Same with jams and preserves. But for things like regular vegetables a pressure canner is needed. The temperature gets much hotter during that process, and thus, (theoretically at least), the bacteria and bad stuff is destroyed so that the food is safe to eat. The lids on canning jars, whether they are used in the water bath process or in pressure canning, seal completely, creating a vacuum that nasty things can't get in. But the thing to be sure of is that there are no nasty things in there to begin with. Thus- the pressure canner.
I know a lot of people are afraid of pressure cookers in general. I am not. I have been using them my whole life. There is nothing better to make a cheap cut of meat so tender that MeeMaw doesn't even have to put her teeth in to eat it. It cuts down the cooking time of dried beans dramatically. I think I used mine most when I was a vegetarian, depending on many meals of black beans, pinto beans, chick peas, and so forth for protein. Now I did have one very bad accident with a pressure cooker and it involved black soy beans. Soy beans create a froth when you cook them which does not go well with pressure cookers. I blew black soybeans all over my kitchen, from ceiling to behind the stove.
It was a mess.
I think the newer pressure cookers are designed not to do that though. If something interferes with the system, the food inside will just sort of ooze out instead of blowing itself through the steam vent. But I am not afraid of pressure cookers at all. The technology of them has been used for years and years and they are dependable and I would say, pretty darn safe if you just take a few precautions like using the correct amount of liquid and pay attention to the situation.
So that was my little Home-Ec lesson for the day. Tomorrow perhaps we will be discussing the finer points of putting in a zipper.
No. We will not.
All right. Here's the coolest thing that happened today.