When my cousins and I were kiddos there would be one day during the harvest that our families would gather around my grandparent’s kitchen table and “do” green beans.
Snap the ends off and cut.
Snap. Cut. Snap. Cut. Snap.Cut. Snap…….Cut. Snap…………….Cut.
A tedious job when the pile of green beans was 90 feet tall and 1000 feet long.
Not really, but there were a lot of green beans. The round table was covered from edge to edge and piled at least a good two feet tall. I have a picture of it somewhere buried deep in the recesses of our storage totes.
After the snap, cut, snap, cut the beans would get washed twice by the adults and older teens. After washing they would be packed and pressure cooked until properly sealed and ready for storage.
Always lots of fun, lots of work, and (maybe to coax us a bit) we would eat lots and LOTS of blueberry pancakes for breakfast.
Canning is something we have enjoyed as a family over the last few years, and truly something I am passionate about not only for the quality family time it provides, or for the benefits of freshly preserved foods stored when they are in season, or for the financial gains of it, but we feel convicted in our spirits to pursue a life of simplicity, of sustainability and using the food God and the earth provide for us.
I love talking canning, food preservation, recipes with others and spend a good amount of time scouring the internet for new canning ideas. Monkey Butter anyone?
Canning, Jarring, Preserving…whatever name we choosing to call it the essential items needed to get from garden to shelf is basically the same. You’ll need to following:
Water Bath Canner OR Pressure Cooker (Water Baths is great for things that are highly acidic like applesauce, tomatoes, jams. Pressure cooker is best for things that are not highly acidic like beans, carrots, potatoes, etc.)
This Ball Blue Book is my go-to for recipes and tips. I think it is a must-have for home canners.
Funnel-you’ll need both wide mouth and regular size funnels.
Jars: There are many options when buying jars. Check out my other post: Canning Jars: Which one should I use? to answer any questions you might have.
Jar Labels-new cases of canning jars come with simple labels, but it’s fun to have something cute like chalkboard labels, these dissolvable labels, or cutesy ones like this. The options are endless. There are plenty of home printing options as well for those who like to print their own labels.
Jar Rack to fit in a Water Bath Canner.
When in doubt…start here with a Beginners Set from Ball. This rack fits your jars directly into a large pot. (I have not used this item, but having used so many other Ball Products I think it’s a safe bet.)
If you are using hand-me-down jars you’ll need brand new lids (these are the round tops with seals) and rings.
Other things you’ll need but likely have around the house are: forks, hot pads, old towels, paper towels, timer, stove, clean water.
Preserving food is a time consuming task, but truly worth every second it takes. Fresh food is yours to be had all year long. It can be done is small batches or large take-on-the-universe size batches. Jars of jams and jellies also make excellent gifts throughout the year.
I’d love to hear about your canning adventures in the comments!