A lovely group of participants joined us in a hot kitchen on a hot evening to learn how to preserve. Hot water bath canning was the main focus of the workshop; however, we also wanted to show two other ways of preserving beans: freezing and lacto-fermentation. All three of these methods have been discussed on the blog previously, but to save you from searching all over the place, I’m compiling them into one post, so that you can do some preserving at home. Beans are in season and they are plentiful!
Let’s start with hot water bath (aka boiling water bath) canning. This is when you process your jars of pickles, jams, fruit or other high-acid produce in a giant pot of boiling water. Low-acid foods, such as non-pickled vegetables, have to be processed in a pressure canner, and are not safely processed in a hot water bath.
For more information on the basics of canning, check out our Canning 101 and Canning 201 posts from last year. This is the type of information we covered in the workshop. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments section and we’ll hopefully be able to answer it. This is the recipe we used:
Fast Favourite Dilly Beans
2.5 lbs green beans 1.3 kg
2 cups white vinegar 500mL
2 cups water 500mL
2 tbsp pickling salt 25mL
4 heads fresh dill heads or 4 tsp dill seeds (20mL)
4 small cloves garlic
1. Trim off the tops of the beans.
2. Meanwhile, combine vinegar, water and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
3. Remove hot jars from canner. Place 1 head fresh dill or 1tsp (5mL) dill seeds and 1 clove garlic into each jar; pack in beans. Pour boiling vinegar mixture over beans to within ½ inch (1cm) of rim (head space). Process 10 minutes for pint (500mL) jars and 15 minutes for quart (1L) jars.
Makes 4 pint (500mL) or 2 quart (1L) jars.
PS. If you’re wondering about the orange things in the photo above, those are thinly sliced carrots. They are also delicious pickled!
While we were waiting for water to boil, we also demonstrated lacto-fermented dilly beans and techniques for freezing beans. Check out the tips and recipes below!
Lacto-fermented Dilly Beans
1.5 pounds tender young snap beans, trimmed
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 fresh dill heads (or 3 tsp. dill seeds)
¼ cup pickling salt
6 cups water
3 small dried hot peppers, such as japones or de arbol or 12 whole black peppercorns, crushed (optional)
1. Layer the beans, hot peppers, garlic, peppercorns, and dill in a gallon jar. Dissolve the salt in the water and pour enough brine over the beans to cover them well. Push a gallon-size freezer bag into the top of the jar, pour the remaining brine into the bag, and seal the bag. Store the jar at room temperature.
2. Fermentation, indicated by tiny bubbles, should begin within 3 days. If any scum appears at the top of the jar, skim it off and rinse the brine bag.
3. The beans should be ready in about 2 weeks, when they taste sour and bubbling has stopped. Remove the brine bag and cap the jar. Store it in the refrigerator.
4. The pickled beans should keep in the refrigerator for several months.
1) Choose the freshest green beans you can find, and give them a rinse in cool water.
2) Cut the ends of the beans off. Cut the beans to whatever length you prefer.
3) Put the green beans into rapidly boiling water, cover the pot and boil them for 3 minutes. (You can re-use this water three to five times – but make sure it’s brought back to a rolling boil).
4) Use a large slotted spoon to remove the green beans from the boiling water and immediately plunge them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Keep them in the ice water for 3 minutes. Drain them well.
5) Put the green beans into labeled ziplock freezer bags. Make sure you get as much air out of the ziplock bag as possible to help prevent freezer burn. Use a straw to suck out the air, if you have one around!
6) Get ready to enjoy farm fresh green beans whenever you want!
Freezing Tips –
• Use only heavy-duty plastic bags made especially for freezer storage.
• Frozen green beans, stored in the freezer at 0° F, should be used within 6 months.
• For frozen green beans that remain loose and can be poured out of the bag individually, instead of beans that are frozen together, spread the cooled and drained beans on cookie sheets. Place the filled cookie sheets in the freezer for about an hour before packing the green beans in plastic bags and storing in the freezer.
To cook frozen green beans …..
Stove-Top Cooking –
To cook about 8 to 12 ounces of frozen, cut green beans… In a medium size saucepan, bring about 1/2 cup lightly salted water to a boil. Add the frozen green beans. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook for about 12 to 15 minutes or to desired tenderness.
Yours in Food,
Adventures in Local Food is your source for food news in Nova Scotia, from pickles to policy. It is a project organized by the Ecology Action Centre. Learn more about our program at https://www.ecologyaction.ca/ourfood