Monday, February 11, 2013

Today's Harvest: Baby Carrots

baby carrots

I've been picking these small round carrots since fall. We've had a hard freeze, but fortunately, they made it through unscathed. They are actually growing in a self watering pot out in the yard. They have a sweet taste, and it is kind of like eating a sweet treat in the afternoon. Love these!

In the garden I have Swiss chard, baby carrots and parsley that are ready to harvest. That's it.  I've grown more items in the Winter in past years. I did plant some peas this weekend, and hope to get some radishes and more peas planted by Saturday. I also have green onions under grown lights as well as sunflower greens.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Pressure Canning Beans

Canned pinto beans
In January, I was busy with my pressure canner, bottling beans. I bottled pinto beans and black beans. I still have the canner on my stove top, and plan to bottle some carrots today or tomorrow. It is nice to have beans on hand. It is so economical to bottle your own. I store beans in #10 cans in my food storage pantry, which I get from my local LDS (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) cannery. You can get information on how to order here. I get 25# of beans, and then put them into #10 cans. Pinto beans cost me about $0.74/pound. When you include the cost of the can, lid and oxy pack, the cost is closer to $1/pound. However, I can store the beans for at least 5-6 years, and they cook up great.

For Christmas, "Santa" bought me a Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker. This is such a great tool for cooking beans. I have a stove top pressure cooker, a Fagor to be exact. That being said, I love being able to set the electric pressure cooker and walk away to do other things. I can saute some diced onion in the Cuisinart first, add the beans and water, then set it to cook. The beans come out perfect!

I always soak my beans overnight, or for 8 hours before cooking them. Beans are pretty dirty, so rinsing and soaking are a must. After cooking them, I bottle them up with the hot fluid in the pot, and pressure can them. I have an All American 921 and love it. Check the Ball Blue Book for times and PSI.

Another method for bottling beans is to rinse and soak the beans overnight. Put them into the canning bottles, and pour boiling water over the beans to the 1" mark. Wipe the rims, put the lid on and hand tighten the ring.