Saturday, July 10, 2010

Dilly Beans - Pt. 2

We left off with our jars ready to ladle the hot liquid over them.

Ladle the hot vinegar mix over your beans leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  I prefer to use a stainless steel canning funnel.  I am working with all organic ingredients and I don't like the idea of hot, acidic vinegar going through a plastic funnel depositing chemicals into my lovely organic creation!  An extra bonus is that the stainless steel funnels should last forever!  I bought mine at the local farm store for about $5.

Once you have filled your jars you need to run a plastic spatula around the inside to remove any air bubbles.  I run it around and push it slightly towards the middle of the jar to drive any air bubble towards the top.  If you use a metal spatula, you might find it turns your lovely green beans yucky colors in the canner!  You can find one of these spatulas in the canning section of Walmart for just a dollar or so at the end of canning season.  You can also use the plastic handle of a regular spatula.

When you have all the bubbles out you need to wipe the rims of your jars down so that they will seal.  Sometimes during the ladling process, small pieces of food or spots of liquid will land on the rim of the jar.  I take a clean, hot, rag (cold might crack that hot jar!) and wipe all the way around the jar.

Next, take your seal lifter (bless the person who invented this treasure!) and pull a seal out of that simmering water!

Place it on a jar...

Then add the ring and "finger" tighten.  This is not the time to use all your strength - just tighten without straining!

Place your jars in the canner rack.

Next add a splash of white vinegar to the water in the canner.  This will prevent your jars from getting a "foggy" look from hard water.  Wish someone had told me that the first time I used a canner...I was sure I had done something terrible and ruined the food!

Lower your rack carefully into the hot water.  Use a wooden spoon or spatula to straighten any jars that might begin to tip. Make sure that the water covers the jars by one to two inches.

If I find that I don't have enough water, I add the hot water that the seals were simmering in.  Pour it in the middle of the canner, avoiding the jars that are there.

Once you've done this a few times, you will be able to judge how much water to start with.

Cover your pot and bring the water in the canner to a rolling boil.

Only begin timing after you have reached the rolling boil.  For pint jars of dilly beans, process for 10 minutes.

When your timer goes off, turn off the heat and lift the jars out of your canner with a jar lifter.  I always set mine on a folded rag towel so that a hot jar isn't touching a cool counter top - less breakage that way.

Wait for the favorite sounds of canning season... *ping*  as each jar seals.  This sometimes takes 20 minutes or more but it means you were successful in preserving food for your family!

Let the jars cool completely before this next step - I usually wait until the next day.  Remove the rings and wash them again in soapy water.

I also wash off the outside of my jars.

Sometimes, during the canning process, some of the contents of the jar can leak a little.  Sometimes, you might have a jar shatter in the canner and the rest of the jars will be covered in yuck.  Clean them well, dry them off and you can either replace the rings on the jars for storage or leave them off.  I used to replace them all...I felt "safer" that my jars would be less likely to loose their lids.  However, it is more expensive to keep the rings on all of your jars.  Now, I wash the rings and save them for another canning load and store my jars without them.

Date your jars. I always put the year on every lid. If there is a possibility of confusion, I also put contents on the jar.  For instance - sweet pickles or dill pickles?

So...what are your favorite canning recipes?  I'll share some more of mine as the season progresses.

I'm very thankful to my Father for the ability to grow good food and for the wonderful methods we have now for preserving the harvest.  If we are willing to put in the hard work, we have the ability, with His help, to feed our families nutritious food all winter long.  What a blessing that is to my family.  He is always faithful to provide and my heart overflows with gratitude for His provisions!



  1. Great tutorial! Your beans look delicious. I've never made Dilly beans before and will have to try this recipe. :o)

  2. Here's a tip for labeling: I use the blank return address label sheets that go in my printer. I fill in the box with description & date, then copy that box over & over for as many jars as I need. It makes labeling easy, it's READABLE (especially when I gift a jar to someone), and I can get more text in that little space with the printer than by writing longhand. I save the file and re-use it, since it will show where on the sheet I left off - no partial sheets to waste.


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