Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Bean pickling workshop

Monday evening was the first official Orchard Garden workshop and I'm happy to say it was a huge success.  An intimate and eager group of eight participants was led by Leanna and Natasha in pickling and canning their own freshly picked beans from the garden.  The workshop included a bit on the history of preserving food as well as the connections to the local food movement.  Canning is a great way to enjoy the Summer harvest on dreary Winter days, as well as facilitate a special group activity leading to homemade gifts.  I was a total novice at it, (and still am, I'm afraid, as I was wielding my camera more than a knife), but I'm inspired to embark on this tradition and teach others.

purple peacock (my favorite) and yellow wax beans

chopping and cleaning beans

dill and cured garlic from the garden

sterilizing the jars

working outside... so lovely this time of day

filling the jars

waiting for the magical *pop*

finished at sunset

Following is a recipe that is to be followed exactly to ensure food safety, with the hope that interested parties will seek out additional recipes for other vegetables such as carrots, beets, sauces, and jams.

Fall 2011 Workshop: Pickled Beans                                                                                   

Method & Recipe:

4 Lbs Beans (green, purple, any variety you like)
6 Tbsp Salt
3 Cups Water
3 Cups Vinegar
1 Tbsp dill seed or fresh dill
6-7 cloves garlic (peeled)
18 whole black peppercorns or 6-7 red/green chilies

1.     Wash jars and lids. Place jars on rack in canner; add 2-3 inches (5-8 cm) water, and heat to a simmer. Keep jars hot until ready to use.
2.     Wash beans and cut off stems.
3.     Combine salt, vinegar and water. Heat to boiling.
4.     Meanwhile, pack beans into hot, sterilized canning jars. To each jar add ½ tsp dill seed or a fresh head of dill, one clove of garlic, and 3-6 peppercorns or one fresh chili.
5.     Pour boiling salt/vinegar solution over beans, leaving 1 inch of head space to allow for expansion of the beans and a tight seal (trim the beans if necessary, to ensure a proper fit).
6.     Soften snap lids in hot (not boiling) water.
7.     Wipe rims of jars and put on the (pre-softened) snap lids and rings, screwing down only to finger tight. Do not overtighten.
8.    Process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
9.     Remove jars with a lifter and without tilting, and place on towel or cooling rack. Do not retighten screw bands.
10.  After 24 hours, or once they are cool, check jar seals. Sealed lids curve downward and do not move when pressed. Remove screw bands; wipe and dry bands and jars. Store screw bands separately or replace loosely on jars, as desired. Label and store jars in a cool, dark place.

Allow beans to rest at least 2 weeks before eating, to allow the flavours to develop.

"I think that was just about the first time I've ever picked a vegetable straight off of a plant and ate it right then and there.  It was amazing being able to be out in the garden… [learning] how things like the bean teepees, chimes of silverware, and your bees contribute to the garden's harmony that you've aimed for and achieved." - Workshop participant

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