Hi there, fellow food hoarders. I'm still alive and well. I'm just an Activity Day Lady at the moment, instead of a Food Storage Lady. I've got some great ideas for stuff to do with ten-year-old girls, in case you are interested. Like fleece boa scarves. We made them, then wore them to the Temple to see the Christmas lights. We got hot chocolate at the QT on the way home. Great good fun.
But what about food storage? Am I still doing it? Course I am. Although, I will admit that my kids like the Basmati rice from Costco better than the cannery rice these days, so I'm having some rotation troubles.
But let's talk about beans for a minute. I've always had a hard time using my dry beans. I don't use enough of them, so when I would finally pop open one of those #10 cans and cook them, they were elderly, and wouldn't get soft enough, even if I cooked them all day. Then my snooty, entitled, First World children wouldn't eat the chewy beans (fine, the kids aren't snooty), and so then, whenever I would look in the pantry and see the bean cans, I would get sort of sad and distressed, and a tiny bit guilty. I mean, I'm sure it could all be sorted in therapy, but I've found an easier way.
Canning the beans.
Canning stuff is all the rage. Or maybe it used to be all the rage and now it is passé again. I don't really know. I'm 38 and have five kids. I used to be medium foxy, but now I'm self aware enough to know I can't wear skinny jeans cuz I scare the people behind me. From what I can tell from Pinterest, high heels, tiny braids in the front of your head, and Ryan Gosling are cool. I like high heels and the braids, but not so much the Ryan Gosling. I wish someone could explain it, cuz I can't see the big deal. At least he acts. Not like Channing Tatum. But hey! Channing Tatum is a better actor than Nicholas Cage. And Nicholas Cage is a better actor than Keanu Reeves. (Everybody is a better actor than Keanu Reeves.)
I canned lots of chicken for awhile, and I liked using the canned chicken, but playing with the raw meat isn't super fun. Beans are more pleasant. My first canned beans were pinto, and I threw in a teaspoon of chopped onion and a teaspoon of canned green chiles. They were so delicious, buttery and perfectly cooked, my eyes rolled around in my head a little. But then I realized I better follow the rules, and not just any old recipe I found out on the internets, because no bean is worth botulism, so now I stick with the recipes I find here, where the nice people at the National Center for Home Food Preservation try to keep us middle-aged homemakers from poisoning ourselves. I know lots of people who go rogue on their beans, even skipping the soaking and what not, and none of those people are dead. Yet. But as for me and my house, we will use the boring PH balanced recipes tested by scientists.
I can my beans in pints, mostly. The quarts seem a little big and intimidating, but good for a crowd, if you've got one. I get my jars at Wal-Mart, Costco, or sometimes D.I. You'll need a pressure canner. I just have the same Presto one that everybody has because it is cheap. I got it on Amazon. You can either soak the beans for 12-18 hours, or boil 5 minutes and soak for an hour. Then you boil them for 30 minutes, and put them in your clean jars with some of the cooking liquid and some salt. Put them in the canner and cook them for the required time (75 or 90 minutes), and they are done. Here's the link. The best part is, they are perfectly cooked. And already ready for dinner. Or for that bean dip you need to take to your bed while you watch Downton Abbey.
What do you can? I made some tangelo marmalade yesterday. It is beautiful but looks a little runny. This makes me sad, because it was lots of work, zesting 10 tangelos. Have you ever canned beans? Which are your favorite? If you were forced star opposite Ryan, Channing, Nicholas, or Keanu in a Nicholas Sparks movie, which would you choose?
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