Rebel With A Cause – Pressure Canning Against The Rules

I don’t always break the rules when canning, especially when it comes to pressure canning, but sometimes there are just no other options.

Such is the case when it comes to me, pressure canning, and using my glass top stove.

It wasn’t that I necessarily wanted to use my “highly recommended against” glass top stove, although it is certainly easier than any other option, but when it is all you have that works, what other option is there?

So I am a rebel, again.

Good news though. It works. I don’t know why it is recommended against, but using my glass top stove has proven to be the easiest, most fool-proof method of pressure canning than any other I have tried and as long as I have a glass top stove, it will be my go to heating choice. Check out my post at Simply Grateful Canning Pressure Canning on a Glass Top Stove  for the complete story.

I’ve been working on canning beans all week and have two more days still to go. Then it’s out to the garden to get some spring crops started, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Don’t Spill The Beans…Can Them!

One of the first “pressure canning” projects I ever tried was beans.  I canned pinto beans for refried beans and great northern beans for soup and a garlic & bean side dish I like to serve with pork.  They turned out very good even though at the time I was tremendously green when it came to pressure canning and extremely intimidated by the entire process.

Since then, I have used my pressure canner many times and become as comfortable with it as I am with water-bath canning.  What would have been a source of stress for me just a little over a year ago, is now one of my favorite kitchen gadgets to use.

Last week I really needed to do something that would relax me and something I was somewhat confident I could do without fail.  So I pulled out the bags of beans I’ve been collecting for the past couple of months and decided to take a couple of days to can them.

DSCF6676

When I canned beans previously, I soaked them, cooked them, and then canned them. A somewhat long and tedious process.  In researching various methods of canning beans, I learned that not everyone does them the same.  Sure, everyone pressure cans them, that is the only safe way to can beans, but not everyone cooks them or even soaks them.  This meant it was time to do a little experimenting.

In order to ease myself into this project, I chose the easiest method of canning beans first – dry.  What is the worst that could happen?  I’d waste an hour of my time, a package or two of lids would be chalked up to experience, and the cost of the electricity.  Certainly no reason not to try.

To can beans dry the process is very simple.  First you prepare your jars, lids, and canner.  Next you boil a big pot of water.  While the water reaches a boil, rinse and sort beans.

DSCF6677

Then for every pint of beans you measure 1/2 cup dry beans into a hot jar, add 1/2 tsp. salt,

DSCF6678

cover with boiling water, set on hot lids and bands,

DSCF6679

and put in pressure canner.

DSCF6680

Could it get any easier than that?  Possibly, but I don’t know how.

Seeing as this was so easy, I had to put some sort of challenge into it.  Although I am comfortable using my pressure canner, I decided that this time I would use my 22 quart canner and layer the jars. Typically I use my 22 quart to process quarts and my 12 quart for pints.  This time I decided to fill the 22 quart to the hilt and see what happened.

The book that came with my 22 quart pressure canner indicated I should be able to fit 20 pint jars.  I’m not sure if I just don’t know how to pack a canner, but I could only get 18 – 9 per level.  I did Great Northern, Pinto, and Navy beans as well as a few jars of Black Eyed Peas and then several jars combining all the different varieties.

Once the canner reached 10 pounds of pressure, I processed the jars for 75 minutes.  The when it depressurized, I removed the lid and took out the hot jars.  This is what they looked like.

DSCF6696

Honestly I was disappointed.  Filling the jars with only 1/2 cup of beans left lots of room in them, even after they expanded.  I haven’t opened the jars yet, but the fact that the jars are not full of usable beans alone means that I will probably not use this method again.  Pantry space and jars are limited and making the best possible use of both is vital in our house.

If I were to tweak the amount of beans, varying by type, I’m sure I could probably find the right proportions of dry beans per pint, but right now I don’t have that kind of time.  I plan on testing the beans later this week, but it appears the beans did expand during the processing time as promised, just not to the full capacity of the jar.  I suppose if I had limited time and unlimited space, I would consider using this method, but as this isn’t my case, I’ll have to stick to a method that yields full jars.

While the dry beans were processing, I began washing and preparing the second method of beans I wanted to try.  This method called for sorting through the beans, washing them, and then putting them in a pot full of water.

DSCF6683

I brought the pot to a rolling boil and then removed it from the heat and let it stand overnight.

Next day I poured off the water from the pot of beans, rinsed the beans, then returned to the pot and filled again with water.

DSCF6682

Placing the pot on the stove I turned it to high until it boiled.  Meanwhile, I prepared the jars, lids, canner, and pot of boiling water.  Once the beans came to a full rolling boil, I removed them from the heat and filled my jars using a slotted spoon, added the salt and clean boiling water and continued processing as I had for the dry beans.

After the 75 minutes processing and cooling, I opened the canner and found wonderfully full jars of beans.  Not quite as quick and simple as the dry bean method, but easier than cooking the beans all day on the stove and then canning.

DSCF6703

It is nice that there are so many options when it comes to canning beans.  Trying these two methods, after having tried what I thought was the “traditional” way of cooking the beans all day before canning, gives me several options to choose from.  Knowledge is power and although the dry bean method might not be my first choice, it is sure nice to know it is out there and in a pinch, it can work, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

 

You Learn Something New Every Time You Can

One of the easiest fruits to peel, in my opinion are tomatoes.  I have never had a problem with the skins holding on, typically they are already cracked and slipping off before they get dropped in the ice water.  Still, as easy as they are to peel, when you have a lot of them to do, any work is work.  Plus, boiling the water on a humid, summer day does not thrill me in the least nor does the smell of the tomatoes as they are boiled.

Recently I was preparing some tomatoes for a recipe of stewed tomatoes, I had two quarts that I’d freshly picked and two quarts that I’d tossed in the freezer unpeeled and un-cored as I picked them over the past several weeks.  I had already decided I wasn’t going to peel the tomatoes because when I buy stewed tomatoes from the store I puree them and strain them.  I do not like whole tomatoes or chunks of anything in my sauces.  Peeling the tomatoes when I was going to be straining the sauce prior to canning seemed pointless.

I pureed the 2 quarts of fresh Romas and then pulled the frozen ones from the freezer.  Of course, being lazy, or rather ingenious as I discovered, I hadn’t washed the Romas that I froze.  So I dumped them into a colander and began to wash them under luke-warm water.  As I gently rubbed the hard-as-a-rock tomatoes, the skins slipped right off.  No boiling.  No hot steam to contend with.  No mess.  The skins came off perfectly.

I was thrilled!  Now, when I go to make tomato sauce or any recipe that calls for tomatoes that don’t necessarily have to keep their shape or form, I am going to freeze them, peel them, and toss them in the pot.  For my stewed tomato sauce I didn’t need them skinned, but it was a great trick to learn to use another day.

Stewed Tomato Sauce

DSCF4072

  • 16 Cups Pureed Roma Tomatoes
  • 1 Cup Pureed Celery
  • 1/2 Cup Pureed Onion
  • 1/4 Cup Pureed Green Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • Bottled Lemon Juice

Combine all ingredients in large sauce pan and bring to boil.

DSCF4047

Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes to combine flavors.

DSCF4048

Use a stick blender to chop any remaining chunks of vegetables and boil 5 minutes more.  Remove sauce from heat and run through food mill or strainer to remove seeds, skins, or any remaining chunks of vegetable.

DSCF4049

 

This is the pulp that came out of the strainer - about 1 cup of packed seeds and skins.

This is the pulp that came out of the strainer – about 1 cup of packed seeds and skins.

Ladle hot liquid into hot jars leaving 1 inch head space.  Add 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice to each pint or 2 Tbsp. to each quart.  Cover and place in pressure canner.  Adjust water level, lock lid and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

DSCF4052

Vent steam for 10 minutes, then close vent.  Continue heating to achieve 10 pounds of pressure.  Process pints for 15 minutes and quarts for 20 minutes.

Turn off heat.  Allow to cool completely before opening canner.

Canning is a learning process every time I do it.  No matter how often I make certain recipes, there always seems to be something new to chalk up to experience.  Finding a new method to skin tomatoes happened by accident, but I’ll take it, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Pressure Canning Phobia — No More!

“Saw a little girl touch a big bug and shout, “I conquered my fear! YES!” and calmly walk away. I was inspired.” 
― Nathan Fillion

In 1999 I bought my first pressure canner with hopes of pressure canning anything and everything. Thinking that bigger was better, I went for the 22 quart model. Little did I realize how intimidating pressure canning would turn out to be.

I canned some beef stew and a few soup bases, but could never get over the fear of this pressurizing pot exploding in my kitchen. Silly, I know, but the fear stuck with me to the point that for twelve years the canner stayed packed away in its box.

Last summer I decided I wanted to can my own pinto and Great Northern beans. When I found out these had to be pressure canned, I nearly backed away from the challenge, but decided the pressure canner had been idle long enough. I couldn’t let fear rule me.  So I unboxed my pressure canner and set to work.  What I didn’t know however,  was that leaving such a pan idle for so long did have its consequences.

“To escape fear, you have to go through it, not around.” ― Richie NortonResumes Are Dead and What to Do About It

After preparing my first batch of beans, putting them in the jars, placing them in the canner, and closing the lid, I waited. For over an hour I watched steam escape from every place except the top little spout. How in the world was this pan supposed to pressurize, if the steam kept getting out?

Researching what the problem was, I learned the my gasket had more than likely dried out and this was making it impossible for the pan to seal. There were gaskets I could order, but what about the beans in my pan now? So, back to the Internet I went. Thankfully, there are a lot of people out there like myself that don’t have the patience to wait for parts or the desire to throw money at something when you are not entirely certain you’ve diagnosed the problem correctly. I found several people who described having a similar problem with steam escaping their pressure canner and they suggested using Vaseline to aid in the sealing process. I should have remembered this because I’d used this little trick before on hoses around the house.

I removed the gasket, rubbed it entirely with Vaseline, replaced it, and then pulled out the rubber spout on the top of the pan and greased that up too. Returning everything to the pan, sealing it again, I waited. It took some time, but as the steam increased, less and less came out the sides and eventually there was only steam coming through the spigot at the top. Success. My jars sealed and I was happy.

The only problem with my canner was the size. Most of the time, I didn’t need all the space in the 22 quart model I had. Sure it was nice to have when I was doing beans and could layer them, but if there were only a few pints that needed sealing, the time it took for this canner to pressurize was ridiculous.

That is why I bought a 12 quart model when I found it at an estate sale a few weeks ago. Of course, the only reservation I had with buying a used model was whether or not the gasket was going to be good or not. Knowing I knew how to fix it, I took a chance.

Yesterday I worked on canning green chiles that I found on the clearance rack at Meijer’s. I roasted the peppers on the grill, peeled them, seeded and cored them, packed them in 1/2 pint jars, covered them with boiling water and put them in the new canner. Thirty minutes after turning the burner on, steam was streaming through the top with only a slight leak under one of the handles. As the steam increased, the leak sealed itself and 45 minutes later I took the canner off the burner. Once the pan had depressurized I opened it and found five jars of perfectly sealed green chiles. Awesome! I can’t wait to do more. Now that I know this can be so quick and easy, I am going to add several vegetables to my Canning To Do List for the summer.

Here is what I did:

Start out by washing your green chiles and placing them on a hot grill.

Green Chiles Washed And Set On Grill

Green Chiles Washed And Set On Grill

Grill over high flame, charing the outer skin.

Green Chiles with Skins Chared

Green Chiles with Skins Chared

Place roasted chilies in a bowl and cover for 30 minutes. This will loosen the skins.

Roasted Chiles in Bowl - Steam to make removing skins easier - 30 minutes

Roasted Chiles in Bowl – Steam to make removing skins easier – 30 minutes

Remove the skins. Doing this under running water makes it easier.

Peeled and Washed Chiles

Peeled and Washed Chiles

Remove the seeds and membranes.

Seeded and Cored Chiles

Seeded and Cored Chiles

Slice or chop if desired.
Pack into hot jars, cover with boiling water, leaving a 1“ head space.
Top jars with hot lids and bands.
Place on pressure canner rack that has 2 – 3“ of water and put lid on.

Jars in Canner

Jars in Canner

Turn burner to high and leave until steam flows through top for ten minutes.
Place weighted gauge on top.
Process for 35 minutes at 10 pounds.
Remove pan from heat.
Let cool for one hour then open pan and remove jars.
Check seals.

Canned Green Chiles

Canned Green Chiles

Canning Green Chiles

Canned Green Chiles

Ingredients

  • Green Chiles
  • Boiling Water
  • Mason Jars & Lids
  • Pressure Canner

Directions

  1. Wash chilies.
  2. Grill over high flame, charing the outer skin.
  3. Place roasted chilies in a bowl and cover for 30 minutes. This will loosen the skins.
  4. Remove the skins. Doing this under running water makes it easier.
  5. Remove the seeds and membranes.
  6. Slice or chop if desired.
  7. Pack into hot jars, cover with boiling water, leaving a 1“ head space.
  8. Top jars with hot lids and bands.
  9. Place on pressure canner rack that has 2 – 3“ of water and put lid on.
  10. Turn burner to high and leave until steam flows through top for ten minutes.
  11. Place weighted gauge on top.
  12. Process for 35 minutes at 10 pounds.
  13. Remove pan from heat.
  14. Let cool for one hour then open pan and remove jars.
  15. Check seals.

 

Recipe by:  Tilly Frueh – Simply Grateful Housewife 2014

I am so happy this turned out and even more excited about all the canning I can tackle now that my fear of pressure canning is behind me. I can’t say that the thought of the pan exploding didn’t cross my mind yesterday as the steam built up and the gauge jiggled violently on top of the pan, but it didn’t explode and for this I am — Simply Grateful.