Yesterday, we had sunshine…. Yesterday the sky was blue and I watched a pair of randy robins for some time out by the edge of my woods… Today, the weather has shifted. The rain taps on the windows. The sky is grey and this clean moisture can also be smelled as well as viewed in the grey sky above…
Days like today play a purpose in homesteading just as do those bright sunny days. Yesterday evening, we learned how to use a pressure canner. We packed uncooked green beans in jars and canned them for use later, when again the weather is bad and nothing fresh will grow…. An incredible time to prep for canning.
Choose only quality green beans in perfect condition. No mold or discoloration or bruising.
Chop off the ends of each green bean.
Get out your clean jars.
I used the water bath canner to heat my clean jars AFTER I took the rings and lids off and set those in a pan with sides and used the water boiler on the counter to fill it with NEARLY boiling water.
Then, I heated up the pressure canner LID OFF, with about 3 inches of water in it! When the cans came out of the water bath canner too hot to touch we used a canning prong tool, to move them onto a dish towel on the counter.
We packed UNCOOKED green beans into the hot jars.
We boiled water in a separate pot with half a teaspoon of salt to every pint of water.
Add boiled salt water to jars packed with green beans. Then take a canning tool or one of those squegie like thingies you use for frosting stick in the jar aimed down all around the sides of the jar to get rid of air bubbles. Wipe around the top of the jar careful not to burn yourself on the jar.
Collect the lid and ring from the hot water pan,
Close the jar twist till tight to touch.
This is where you check your altitude and put in any weights should they be necessary, into the pressure canner.
Stick jars in the pressure canner. Take care that they DO NOT TOUCH each other! Take care that the jars DO NOT TOUCH THE WALLS OF THE POT! And make sure they sit on a metal or plastic “lift”/platform/thing in the bottom of the pot, rather than placing the glass jar flat on the canner bottom.
Once canner is loaded close it and make sure it locks. I would NEVER can with an unlocked pressure canner!
The gage on top will start registering pressure as the temperature inside the pot goes up. Take it up to 11. Then begin very slowly and carefully to turn the temperature DOWN, to hold it at 11. You NEVER WANT IT TO GO LOWER THAN 11 WHILE CANNING GREEN BEANS! However, it is ok if it is a little bit higher than 11. But 11 is where you want it or as close to it as you can acheive if higher than 11.
We left it alone for 20 minutes and a piece on top began gradually to “dance”. That is how the canner maintains proper levels of pressure.
Once 20 minutes passes, DO NOT RUSH TO OPEN PRESSURE CANNER! It is FULL of pressure! Instead, turn off the stove and wait. Watch the gage. When it hits 0, wait another 5-10 minutes. Then using the canning tongs, unlock and open the pressure canner. Lift off the lid so your face will be as shielded as much as possible in case there is still pressure.
Remove jars with canning tongs. Place them back on the dish towel. DO NOT TOUCH THEM OR WASH THEM OR HANDLE THEM IN ANY WAY! Just let them sit for 24 hours.Then, go check the seal by pressing the top of the jar. If it doesn’t make that punchy jar top sound and it doesn’t press in then plump back out your seal should be fine. Wash the outside carefully and gently, then put away to cure.
Even on yucky days like today, there are things that can be and need to be done. Preparations for the winter need to be made, new skills need to be acquired. Life on the homestead isn’t just about playing with cute animals. It is also labor intensive. It needs a lot to function the way it should. This is a lifestyle that needs all you have to give… But when it works, you can use the nice weather and the icky. You can be self sufficient or close to it. But it takes work to live comfortably this way.
Now that I can can, bring on the pandemics, and the food supply break downs. I am ready to face them. I will never be a prepper, but after this experience and given I am doing all this during quarantine…. Though I will never be a holy roller and I am not the type to stock pile tanks and other weapons…. I feel better knowing, I can eat no matter what comes next. There is something to the idea of some small scale preparation. No need for bunkers…. Or bomb shelters…. No need to get nuts. But, some basic skills for long term comfortable survival, such as canning…. This might be wise. We need to start living an older less polluting way, or we will not live long. This is why we settled here 6 years ago and gradually got started. But pandemic has pushed us into skill growing over drive…. It is a relief to see that canning really does work and preserves food… It is a relief to be getting that much closer to not needing anyone or anything or society for our long term survival. Which means we can include it when this quarantine is over to whatever capacity we choose. It also means next pandemic, we won’t be caught with our pants down.
Thank you for joining me to do a simple canning project. Only my second. First with the pressure canner. it has been fun. Remember pressure canners can be dangerous. Use them with great great care. Where pressure builds up, stuff can blow up. I know several people who only water bath can. Which means no meats and no vegies but they love making jams, pie fillers, and fruits. There is no right or wrong. Just, take care to be safe when working with hot objects or things that can go BOOM!
This has been an interesting indoor bad weather adventure.
I am so glad you came along for the ride!
Amanda of Wildflower Farm