The green beans are just about ready to pick, and I always pressure can them. It's odd -- canned green beans are one of the things that food snobs are fond of mocking. I'm not sure why. Must have something do with the idea that if the produce isn't so fresh it still has caterpillars crawling on it it's not any good. I don't know. . . having seen how many cabbage worms can come floating to the surface when I cook fresh broccoli from the garden, I'm fine with vegetables being throughly cooked. If there's going to be any added protein, I'd rather not eat it rare. But, as usual, I digress.
Using the pressure canner is one of those things that makes me a tad nervous. Not as nervous as it used to, not since the top blew off a jar of beets in the canner a couple years ago, but it still makes me nervous. The beets experience, which did involve an interesting noise, demonstrated that even if a jar does blow up, the canner is going to contain the mess. We're not at risk of being hit by shards of glass if we happen to be close to the stove when a jar lets go. So I will can beans, both the bush type and pole, and then divide up however many jars there happen to be between various family members.
Beans are the only thing I'll probably use the pressure canner for this year. The only reason I canned beets a couple years ago is we were given a 5-gallon pail full of them. If I have to buy beets, it'll be for purposes of pickling, and pickled beets can be done in an ordinary canner.
I had decided I wasn't going to do much canning this summer. If we're going to be snowbirds, I don't need the hassle of trying to figure out what to do with multiple cases of home-canned food. On the other hand, I'm going to be dealing with the beans no matter what. . . and if I have to deal with beans, maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing to buy some of those Michigan peaches the fruit stand has. They are remarkably good peaches, and it was kind of nice having multiple jars of them on hand when I bought a 1/2 bushel to preserve a couple summers ago. Or, if not actual canned peaches, maybe get at least enough to do some peach jam. And if I'm going to go through the hassle of peeling peaches, how much more work would it be to also think about some roasted garlic and tomatoes pasta sauce? The recipe only makes about 7 pints -- how much space could 7 pint jars possibly take up? And maybe some bread and butter pickles. . . and pickled cauliflower. . . and it's going to be a good year for apples. Surely some apple marmalade and some canned apple pie filling would be nice to have with us, too.
I think I need to buy more lids.
(When that bottle blew in the pressure canner, the most surprising thing was how neatly it did it. The glass broke in a nice, clean line right about where the shoulder of the jar is, the part where it curves in to start forming the neck. It wasn't a straight line all the way around but it was close. And the World War II era graphic intrigues me. I did not realize they were still using zinc lids and wire bale jars in the 1940s.)