Monday, 18 July 2016

Beans, and lots of them!

So what do you do when your husband says that he is going to bring the beans in,
"So you can do something with them" he says,
and you are expecting just a bucketful because you have not been paying much attention to what is happening in the veg plot of late,
but, no, it was not a bucketful....
but two full crates.
Well, you try to smile but meanwhile you think,
"Crikey, oh crikey."
Now I hope you don't think that I was being negative,
because I wasn't,
it was just a sense of being overwhelmed by beans, that's all.
Not to worry,
Lester and me sat for an hour or so prepping them,
and another couple of hours the next day,
and then he left me to it.
So, I could:
1) Blanch, then freeze them.
But this would just put more bags in the freezers, which are full enough already.
2) Blanch, then dehydrate them.
Means that electricity has to be used for the dehydrator, but the beans will reduce in size and will therefore take up minimal storage when they are dried.
3) Can them,
which means using gas for the canner (about an hour's worth)
plus the canning lids which work out at about  60 centimes each.
I didn't count the cost of the jars because they are used over and over again.
It would seem the cheapest way to store the beans is by freezing them, but once the beans are dehydrated and/or canned there is no further ongoing cost for storage. Plus freezing them means bags and bags cluttering up freezers, which, as I say, are already full of meat.
So what did I do?

I canned twenty jars in all, at five jars per batch. 

The beans look yellow here because of the flash on the camera.
The last five jars are just cooling down.
It is with a sense of almost reverence that I wiped those jars,
tested the seals, and put them on the larder shelves.
 The sense of achievement was worth the effort of getting them there.
And so what to do with the rest of the beans...
these were blanched for three minutes, and the dehydrated over night...

They made two bags of dehydrated beans,
And then there was this big pot which had a huge piece of pork so big that it could hard fit into it.
I have been trying to get the freezers emptied,
but as fast as I do Lester has been filling them back up again with the rabbit harvest,
twenty in all.
Anyway, I this pot took a huge piece of pork,
which was so heavy I couldn't lift it.
Not to worry, it lightened up a bit once it was cooked,
and made three meals for immediate use,
four bags of mince at 400g each (into freezer)
four canned jars of roasted pork,
.... and also fed the dogs for two days,
with juicy bones for nibbling on in between.

And the two rottweiller girls behaving as if they are still puppies,
and wanting to climb up on Lester's lap at the same time.

We have been cooking here today, with very high temperatures,
Lester did go out into the field earlier and cut several wheelbarrows full of thistles.
I did mention to him that they are a herb,
but neither of us are much interested in pursuing anything more to do with that plant,
other than by cutting it down before it seeds more of itself everywhere.
He also managed to do ten wheelbarrows full of  manure from the cow barn,
and these are being put in readiness for the climbing beans next year.
And he has just come in with a bucket full to the brim with small yellow plums.
So that's me busy for the next day or so!
Bye for now,


John Gray said...

Ithats a whole lotta dog!

PioneerPreppy said...

Blanche and freeze is the favorite method for Mrs. PP. She actually hates canning.

Overwhelmed by beans!!! We should all be so lucky :)

Cro Magnon said...

A very wise old cattle dealer once told me that you should always buy land that grows Thistles big enough to tie a horse to. Apparently it's a sign of very good land.

Goodness, how industrious you are. I only preserve tomato based sauces, and mine aren't ripe yet. I do courgettes in Tom sauce, Aubergines in Tom sauce, and green Peppers in Tom sauce. Any day soon.

Vera said...

JOHN, they are big girls, but so loveable.

PIONEERPREPPY, I find rummaging about in the freezer a nuisance so Mrs PP must have patience for doing that. As for the amount of beans we harvested, it was a surprise!

CRO MAGNON, I shall keep in mind the variety of tomato sauces you make when we finally start getting a tomato harvest, which is still some way off because we planted late.

Coco said...

Good for you! It´s been really hot for cooking - I´ve been eating cold salads, hummus and gazpacho.

A nice vinegar-y bean salad to accompany the pork, perhaps?

I have little baby beans growing - can´t wait.

Kirsty Udall said...

Wow that is a good quantity of beans. How do they taste canned? I thought they might be a bit soft when you come to eat them?

Vera said...

COCO, it has been very hot here too, which does not encourage doing things which require heat such as canning and jam making! I have started making bean salads just lately too, and love them.

KIRSTY, I have never liked canned beans bought from the shop, finding them tasteless and mushy. But these beans look like they have cooked up quite firm. I did not blanch them first but put them straight into the canning jars, topped them with hot water and a bit of salt and then into the canner. None have broken up in the jars that I can see. I had no space to freeze them, and too many to get dehydrated. Will let you all know how these beans turn out!

Cottontail Farm said...

Oh, I would have cried if handed that many beans. We've eaten ours a ton of different ways and I've frozen a sort of Thai coconut/ tomato/bean dish for quick winter meals. I'm kinda done with looking at beans this year. Which works out because the turkeys have been eating them anyway. You do so much canning, good for you! It's hard work!

Vera said...

COTTONTAIL FARM, well I nearly cried as well at the thought of needing to get all those beans processed. Just kidding! I do do a lot of canning, but it does help us to be as self sufficient with food as we can be, and also provides 'fast food' when I am busy doing other things. We still have more beans to come in, but I shall use them every day rather than putting them into storage. I am not 'done with beans' yet!

Rhodesia said...

I did not plant beans this year as I suspected that we would come home to loaded plants and I still have some bottled from last year. We do though (as always) seem to have an overload of courgettes. Have tried all the many recipes already this year, so next batch will be in the dehydrator. Still have courgette and ginger jam on the shelf and courgette pickles and chutney so it looks dehydrating and winter making soup is the answer.
Sorry I have not been visiting, but after being away in the USA for a month, and we are now redecorating our house after 10 years - time is at a minimum. I hope to be back to normal soon but with over 2000 holiday photos to go through..... Take care Diane

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

My beans aren't ready yet but I hope i get as many as you! I am hoping to can most of mine because I like the way they taste when home canned. You will be happy to have all that foods this winter. I canned pickles today from rampicante squash.

Kerry said...

Now that is a lot of beans. I haven't been blanching mine before I put them in the freezer, so I hope they will be OK.

Vera said...

DIANE, nice to know that you are back in France after your travels.

LISA, I haven't tried canning pickles yet, but will look into doing so but not this year. We are looking forward to eating those beans, but will only start when the winter arrives!

KERRY, we haven't got room in the freezer so dehydrating and canning were the only other options we had. I am sure that yours will taste very good.

DUTA said...

Beans are packed with good things and have a lot of health benefits (one risk though - it can in some people trigger migraines).
I like to eat beans (lots of them)mingled with minced garlic. Since last month I'm on diet, so no garlic (a great appetite opener), and consequently beans.

Vera said...

DUTA, thanks for the helpful hint about minced garlic and will have a go when I start opening the jars, which will not be until at least the end of November.