I have had very little energy today and have not spent a great deal of time outside. I did sit on the porch with a ceiling fan and a floor fan on me and rebraided the garlic and hung it up. When I did the first braiding, it was too green and too heavy so I dried it on newspapers on the porch for a few weeks and now it's hanging on the wall as you can see.
I took the trash and went to the post office where our new voter registration cards were waiting for us in our box. And of course, a new New Yorker magazine to add to the guilt pile. I just poked around the house until about 2:30 at which point I realized that I had planned to make dilly beans today so I began that process.
For those of you who have never canned anything, I will briefly describe how it goes.
I get the canning kettle out of the pantry and fill it partway with water, put my jars in it which have been washed in warm soapy water and rinsed. I put it on the stove and fill up to about two inches above the jars and turn that on. I put the lids and bands I will use in another pot and theoretically bring that to almost, but not quite, a boil. However, I always forget until they are steaming away and then I curse myself and turn them off. And sigh.
While the jars are in the process of being sterilized, I begin to cut and trim my beans to size. I wash them first, of course, and I have a mark on my cutting board which indicates a jar height and I save the pieces I trim off which aren't big enough to go into the regular jars and those I can by themselves to use in salads. Why waste good bean-material?
This takes a long damn time. Each bean has to have its stem-end removed and then trimmed and that's a lot of beans on a good day. I can only do seven pints in my canner so that's what I prepared today. I had beans left over and I will cook some of those for our dinner tonight.
This is also when I make the brine for the beans. For dilly beans I use vinegar (both white and apple cider), salt, and water. I like mine to be a little sweet so some sugar goes in there too. That must be brought to a boil. By this time the jars have been sterilized and I set them out on a towel using a jar lifter. I then fill them with the beans and this, too, takes a while, trying to pack them in an orderly fashion so that I can fill the jars as much as possible. When that chore is over with, I peel garlic and add two cloves to each jar and then measure out dill seeds that also go into each jar and I add a sprinkle of crushed red pepper to each of my jars as well. Then each jar is filled almost, but not quite, to the brim with the hot brine.
Then the over-boiled lids and bands get put on and they are set back into the canner, the water brought to a boil again, and are processed for ten minutes after that.
Then they are lifted out and set on the counter and I wait to see if all of them will seal.
A bit labor intensive, yes?
But so delicious and there is no way I would let such good produce go to waste so the only other alternative is to not plant beans or not plant as many but hell- where's the fun in that? The rattlesnake beans are by far the most reliable and dependable thing we plant and it would be a shame not to take advantage of that.
Here's a picture she sent of the little family.
Oh, what fun.