Friday, August 16, 2013

Too Much Clash of Clans

DS did some serious building and wanted a video before destruction.  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Canned Great Northern Beans

For my first time canning Great Northern beans, I used the National Center for Home Food Preservation Website recipe again, with the following tweaks:
1) To make 7 quarts, I used 3.25 pounds of dried beans.  This was the perfect amount.
2) I soaked for 20 hours - this was oversoaked for these smaller beans.
3) The jars were 2/3 full of beans.
4) Mostly I didn't use much of the cooking liquid, but just poured in fresh boiled water to top off the jars.
5) 1/2 tsp sea salt in each jar.
6) I was quite conscientious about wiping the rims of the jars
7) I tightened rings pretty tight before processing and retightened them as soon as I took them out of the canner, which I removed from the heat as soon as the processing time was done.  This resulted in no seal failures.

While cooking there seemed to be more frothing.  I think I prefer the quick soak method for helping to get some of this frothing over with before the water gets changed.  The only problems with this batch was that there was some bean sludge in the liquid once done and the beans seemed a bit overdone, but the family didn't mind.  Overall it was very successful.

So next time, I think I'd do a quick soak (boil, then let rest for 1 hr) method and then go right into the 30 minutes boiling, then canning.  This result in less total soak/cooking which might give firmer beans.

Good grief - I still have 65.75 pounds of beans to can or use.  I might try grinding some into flour as well.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Canning Garbanzo Beans

I've canned a variety of things in my life and been meaning to try canning beans.  I was recently motivated to buy a bulk order of 25 pound bags of beans to reduce the likelihood of contamination when the big bags were broken down into smaller salable units.  I got a bag each of black beans, great northern beans, and garbanzo.  Now, having 75 pounds of dry beans, I figured it was time to can them!

I followed the direction on National Center for Home Food Preservation Website.  I'd also read a number of critiques of this recipe, so I was aware of some issues to tweak.  Specifically, the recipe doesn't clearly state how many beans to add relative to water to each jar, just saying to fill the jars with beans and liquid.  Not good, as many a canner has canned bean mush blocks by overfilling with beans.  Some people suggested only half full with beans and the rest with liquid.  Others suggested slightly different amounts.  Here is what I did.  In terms of consistency, it turned out great, so I want to reproduce it.

The recipe says that 5 pounds of beans will do 7 quarts of canned beans.  So not true!  But 5 pounds of garbanzo beans is the amount I boiled for 2 minutes and then let them soak for 6 hours.  (I was going for the quick soak method, but then got delayed longer than expected in getting back to them.)  I had to add more water a few times and there was no room to move in my 8 quart stock pot, so I knew I was in trouble.

I drained the water, rinsed, put in new water and boiled the beans for another 30 minutes, as instructed.  When the beans were done, they looked about the size of properly rehydrated cooked beans but probably not 100%.  In each quart jar, I put in 1/2 tsp of sea salt.  7 quarts I filled 2/3 full of beans and the rest with water from both the cooking liquid and from a separate pan of hot water that I had ready.  7 quarts is 1 canner load, so while those processed the required 90 minutes at a minimum of 11 pounds of pressure, I put the other beans into 5 quart jars.  They ended up about half full, which seemed like a good experiment.  I topped them off with cooking liquid and hot water as well.  But some of these were intense on the cooking liquid and others on the hot water.

When the first load was done, I turned off the heat and let it cool in the canner for about an hour (about 30 minutes would have done it, but life intervened).  I pulled those out, added more water to the canner and put in the next load.

Some of the rings on the first batch were VERY loose, so I retightened them to loosely finger tight.

When the second load had processed for 90 minutes, I had DH lift that hot and heavy pot off the burner and we left it overnight to cool.  (I wasn't going to wait up for it to depressurize enough for me to take the jars out.)

The results:
Load 1) 7 quarts filled 2/3 full resulted in about a perfect fill level at the end of processing.  1 of 7 seals didn't take.  I don't know why exactly.  That one is in the fridge.
Load 2) 5 quarts filled 1/2 full resulted in under-filled jars with more liquid than necessary.  2 of 5 jars didn't seal.  I believe this is because I didn't tighten the bands while the jars were still hot (remember, I went to bed).

Visually shuffling around the beans, I believe that 5 pounds of these garbanzos made about 11 properly-filled quarts of beans.  Next time, I'd estimate a proper canner load of 7 quarts would start with about 3.25 pounds of beans, or slightly less if I want to be 100% sure that I don't have too many.  If, like this time, the beans are well soaked and nearly full size, I'd go with the jars being 2/3 full of beans.  I liked the 1/2 tsp sea salt.  Also, either screw those lids on SUPER tight at the beginning, or plan on being there to take them out of the canner to retighten the lids when they come out of the canner still hot.

And a note on the water - the jars that were heavy on cooking liquid and light on the added water (the ones from the bottom of the pot of prepared beans) ended up with dark cooking liquid that wasn't pretty in the finished jars and mild (not not offensive as I've seen in some store-bought beans) bean sludge at the bottom.  Next time, I'd go light on the cooking liquid in each jar and lean toward using more fresh water on those last few jars.

So, of my 75 pounds, I've canned 5 and a friend took 1 pound.  I have a mere 69 pounds more to deal with!