Listening to the news & weather over the past few days will do one of three things to a person. It will either make you totally freak out and plan as if we are facing an apocalyptic style catastrophe, be totally lethargic remembering how many previous storms we've prepared for only to wake up to nothing or next to nothing happening outside, or to simply keep putting one foot in front of the other!
I tend to take the last option, I'll keep one eye on the weatherman and the other on my 'to do' list! I went to the grocery store this morning. I bought cat food & dog food because the current bags are almost gone, oatmeal & coconut so I can try a new granola recipe, cereal for the hubz, lunch meat because we are out, sandwich bags, apples & bananas and a gallon of milk! OH YA... and my two purchases for the hurricane: M & M's and Chocolate Kisses!
Now honestly, I'm NOT taking this storm all that lightly. We will have water in 5 gallon pails in the tub for flushing & we already fill jugs at the spring for drinking, so we are set there. There are candles in the cupboard from years of waiting for the nor'easters to hit, and the pantry is stocked because the garden is in full season of producing veggies!
We still need to put the lawn chairs in the shed & batten down the rabbit hutch, maybe I'll get a batch of cookies made and perhaps start a pot of soup... JUST IN CASE! Here's to preparing for the worst and praying for the best!! PLEASE IRENE, take a sharp right as you leave the Carolinas! Praying that you are all safely tucked in as Irene makes her presence known!
I have been buying and saving dried beans with the good intentions of making; baked beans, re-fried beans, black beans & rice, hummus from chick peas and so on... well, they've been stored in large plastic containers and I've just never used them. I'll admit to cheating... for the sake of ease, I've bought the large cans of kidney beans to make chili and the cans of black beans for soups & black beans and rice... BUT NO MORE!!
I discovered in a favorite old cookbook of mine, a paragraph written by a Mennonite woman, Ada Beachy, the NEW TO ME concept of canning the dried beans so they are all ready to use! I LOVE THAT CONCEPT... if you want to read her paragraph, check it out here!
I checked out online how other people did this and found a great lot of advice of what to do and what NOT to do too! (Like... LOOSELY fill the jars with the prepared beans NOT solid pack and then fill the jars with the hot water leaving the head space.)
I'm SOOOO EXCITED!! I tried kidney beans and black beans first... it was a lot of work, but I think it will be well worth it come winter time! NOW, I'm going to try the navy beans & pinto beans & chick peas... and keep on going!
Since I didn't soak the beans overnight, I quick boiled them, timing it for a couple of minutes after they started to boil then soaked them in this hot water for an hour.
Afterwards, drain and rinse the beans and then fill the pots back up with fresh, water and allow them to boil for another 30 minutes.
NOW drain the beans (KEEP THIS LIQUID) fill the quart jars LOOSELY to the shoulder area of the jars.
Add 1 tsp. of canning salt and then add the saved liquid allowing 1 inch of head space. (The headspace allows for the beans to expand a bit more during processing.)
You need to use apressure canner(NOT a water bath)... 90 minutes (for quarts... 75 minutes for pints) at 10 pounds!
It's so much fun to see the jars starting to line up on the pantry shelves!
PLEASE: IF you are going to try this method... do your own research! Different areas of the country require different pressure canning times. (ie: the length of time may be greater if you live higher up in elevation!)
SIDE NOTE: I did try to can chick peas (garbanzo beans) the next day. I tried the dry method putting a scant 1/2 cup in a pint, 1/2 tsp. salt and boiling water leaving 1 inch of headspace... pressure canner for 75 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure. I can't say I'm overly thrilled with this outcome. They didn't fill the jars like I assumed they would. It could be they were too old. I will try again using BOTH methods and see if it is the peas/beans being a little too old or if the 'presoak/cook' method just works better for me. I'll let you know! :)