An Excellent Harvest

Sorry I am a day late. It was a work and travel day yesterday, so made a little challenging to post.

This past weekend I got the ol’ pressure canner out. Dusted off the cobwebs (not really), but did have to unstack the things on it to pull it out. It is still an intimidating contraption, but ever more less so.

I had to pull it out because I was able to get a good bounty from the garden. The green beans were getting so plentiful, the stalks were starting to lean over from the weight. When planning out the garden to plant only what we would eat, I never imagined how many beans can come from so few plants.

Although I very much enjoy the canning process, knowing how good it will taste later without all the extras in store-bought canned goods, the prep takes a while. Green beans are especially tedious. Every bean must have the ends cut off, after a thorough washing. Then, to fit as many in the jars, they need to be cut into two-ish inch pieces. Let’s just say it can take a while for the prep work.

The easy part is the cold pack. Just stuff the jars and add hot water. If one chooses, a little salt can be added. This time I put salt in half the jars. I hadn’t planned on only putting in half the jars, it happened because I forgot to add to the first half before adding lids. At least now we can do a little taste test later to see if adding salt helps or hinders.

In the end, I was able to get 10 pint jars to put away. There is always a little left over, which will be part of a meal or soup soon. The thing is, those little plants are still producing, so I may have another round in a few weeks!

Green beans weren’t the only thing I worked on in terms of canning over the weekend. We have been out of pasta sauce for a little while. Since I was going to be in the kitchen anyway, and the sauce takes a long while to simmer and reduce, I put that on before starting on the green beans. The house always smells so good as the sauce cooks, which takes about three hours. When all was said and done, we now have seven quarts of base sauce to use. Pasta dinner, or homemade pizza (I use the same sauce for pizza), will be on the menu soon.

Wondering what everyone puts into their pasta sauce to switch things up from time-to-time. Please share.

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