In which we channel the garden's legumic excess into quart jars

The Haiku Farm garden has, until now, been a bit of a disappointment.  The first year we were here, the garden was, shall we say gently, pathetic.  That year, we had no time to actually make a proper garden because we were so busy building fences and stuff.  So that was our excuse.

Last year, the garden was rampaging fully by mid-August; although the tomato crop was a completely failure, we had plenty of squash and beans to keep us fed.

This year, the tomato plants once again broke our hearts thanks to an extended "sprummer" in which the spring rains didn't stop until late July.  However, as I posted a few weeks ago, the 2011 zucchini harvest has been overwhelming.

Now, finally, we have reached a state of True Gardenhood:
We've grown (more than) enough beans to can some for winter!

I planted three varieties of bean this year:  the Rattlesnake Beans are purple-striped, which is very pretty and also makes the beans easier to find on the plant.  I also planted Blue Lake beans, a green bean staple that my grandfather considered essential to a garden.  I also planted Scarlet Runner Beans, which aren't much good for canning, but are delicious when eaten fresh. 

When the Scarlet Runner beans get too gigantic (2 feet long or longer), we feed them to the chickens. 
Or the dogs!  Mimsy and Luna chew politely on raw beans; Pickles think that overly-large raw green beans make excellent "fetching" toys that she happily chomps when I get tired of throwing them for her.

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen:
 Jim was a "chopper" before I reminded him of the noble tradition in my family--and his own--of "snapping" beans to prepare them for canning.  Snapping is easier on the wrists, and we can do it while sitting in comfortable chairs and listening to Garrison Keillor talk about Ball Canning Jars.

(Listen to the entire 1997 broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion from Muncie Indiana, home of Ball Canning Jar manufacture by clicking HERE .  If you only want to hear Garrison's bit about how home canning will save civilization, skip to the time marker 1:25:51 Monologue.)

 Jim used his birthday money this year to purchase a pressure canner.  What a guy!
 The result:

16 quarts of Summer Wonderfulness.

Life = Good.


  1. Sorry...I'm still stuck on the concept of two-foot long beans. do you live in the promised land?

  2. so jealous. i got 4 beans total so far. still hoping!

    canning in germany is never done with sterile, new jars. they just take old honey or jam jars and reuse them. scary!

    i wonder if you could ship me..ah, no, way too heavy. and probably not allowed.

    oh but we're getting lots of tomatoes now and even cucumbers (my first time). the kohlrabi still looks good too. the zucchini...ugh, i'm a waste of carbon (as you say).

  3. Scarlet runner beans grow BIG.

    Also, my garden is the chicken "winter quarters" so my veggies are growing in exceedingly nitrogen-enriched soil!

    Jam jars are okay if you run them on the "sterile" setting of the dishwasher. You do need good lids, though. We buy the lids new each year but we re-use jars and rings.

    Our tomatoes are still green rocks. Bah.

  4. Wow that looks good. I nominate Jim for husband sainthood on buying the pressure canner. I didn't plant any edibles this year (unless you include roses?) but I hear tomatoes everywhere are hard green rocks...

    I've always wanted to learn to can. Afraid to try learning canning from a book, and I'll learn anything from a book. Except food poisoning. I feel like I need the guidance of a canning expert to teach me, LOL. Don't want to make the troops sick.

  5. I'm lazy and generally opt for freezing stuff. I've never canned or "put up" anything, though I used to help my grandmother do it all the time.


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