Today Bookman and I had a canning adventure. Last week I mentioned we went to the urban farm store and got ourselves a pressure canner and canning jars. We have so many beans in the freezer and so many more still in the garden that we had to take steps. Canning is easier and cheaper than buying one of those big chest freezers to put in the basement and should the power ever go out, I don’t have to worry about all my beans and other things thawing out.

Today Bookman cleaned the canner and all its parts and we both read the operating instructions and checked the canning book regarding canning beans and well, we got to work. Bookman had thawed the beans we had in the freezer and together with beans I had picked last Sunday, we filled six quart jars. The beans are already steamed so we poured hot water into the jars and closed them up. Then we put them in the canner which is so big it held them all quite nicely. The instructions said to put three quarts of water in the canner but it just didn’t look like much so we put in five quarts. We know now it really would have been fine with only three.

Oh the pressure!

Oh the pressure!

Onto the stove and Bookman latched down the lid and turned on the burner. You leave the little vent thingy open until it starts to steam and then for another ten minutes. Then we put the pressure regulator cap thing over the steam pipe and stood there watching the pressure gauge. Nothing happened. Watched pot and all that. So we set a timer and went to check after two minutes and the pressure had started to build. And it kept going. We needed 11 pounds of pressure and once it started building up it got there pretty quick. But then it kept going and we ended up turning the burner on the stove way down and that worked out just fine. After 25 minutes we turned the burner off and let it all cool.

The canner has a little pop up knob to let you know when there is pressure inside even if it doesn’t register on the gauge. There is no opening of the canner while there is still pressure, that would be bad. So we waited for things to cool and eventually the knob dropped. But wait, the instructions say to wait another ten minutes with the pressure regulator cap removed so steam can get out. So we waited. Then very carefully Bookman unlatched the lid and opened it away from us. And we both peered inside.

canned beans

canned beans

We set the still very hot and wet jars on a towel on the counter to cool. Within five minutes we heard the “tlink!” sound of the lid on one of the jars getting sucked down. This is a very important sound when canning, it means your jar just sealed itself. Within the next twenty minutes all the jars went “tlink!” one by one. Freaked the cats out a bit because they had no idea what the noise was and Bookman and I would get excited at each “tlink!” The canned beans will keep on a shelf for a year, just long enough for us to be picking fresh beans from the garden again.

I picked more beans yesterday that will amount to another two, maybe three jars. And there will be more next week. The bean plants are starting to look tired though, not as many flowers and some of the leaves are turning yellow. So I expect a big bowl next week and then a sharp decline. Thank goodness!

The zucchini is still going too. Bookman made us some zucchini fritters this week. He veganized them from a non-vegan recipe I found on the internet. They came out so good! They are like potato latkes only with zucchini. He made enough for two meals. The first evening we weren’t sure what to put on them and so tried a little ketchup (don’t laugh!). It was good but then they were so much like latkes that the next evening I put applesauce on mine and wow! So good. I don’t like (vegan) sour cream but if you do, they would be good with that too.

But we still have so much zucchini. The canning books say you can’t can plain old zucchini, it has to be pickled or turned into relish or even a marmalade sort of jelly. Bookman did some searching to try and find other ways to use zucchini and found a recipe for this delicious looking spread that we are going to try.

The weather has turned yucky hot and humid. It is currently 95F (35.5C) out as I type this. We are to expect that and as much as five degrees warmer through Wednesday. It has been so very dry that our rain barrel is empty and we have had to resort to watering with the hose. Some things in the garden are getting a little crispy but we can only do so much. Of course the tomatoes and peppers are loving this heat and it looks like we might actually get a few bell peppers after all. That is if after this heat we don’t get a sudden change to cold and have an early frost. Fingers crossed.

No new flowers blooming this week in late summer. The star at the moment are the prairie grasses which are blooming. Along with the heat we have had a hot breeze and grass looks great with the wind moving through it. I discovered my ipad takes video so here is a short clip of the wind in the grass. The first really tall grass is big bluestem. It’s not quite 2 meters tall. The shorter grass is little bluestem, it’s a bit less than a meter tall. In the fall, these grasses will turn a lovely shade of pink before going dormant and turning brown. I have no idea where the microphone on my ipad is and it got some of the wind in it, sorry about that. Okay, so let’s see how this goes:

And yes, I had to create my own YouTube channel. Wow! I’ve hit the big time! I called my channel So Many Books so I might also have to do some book video sometime too. I guess I had better learn how to do it better. Then next gardening season I can try making a few videos instead of just still photos. That might be fun. I’ve gone multimedia! Has a monster just been created? 😀

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