Butter beans (aka lima beans) do really well frozen, but freezer space is limited, and remembered to defrost things is just a chore, so I decided to can my share of the butter beans.
To can beans, first you have to shell them. I cannot stress this enough: do this while you watch television or have someone to talk to. Shelling beans is boring, and a distraction is so necessary.
After the beans have been shelled, they then need to be washed. Once washed, put the beans in a large pot and cover with water. The beans do not need to be fully cooked, but heat the beans/water to boiling, then fill the jars.
Since we are putting hot contents into our jars, we need the jars to also be hot. Remember the rules of canning: hot food goes into hot jars, cold food goes into cold jars. A drastic temperature change can cause your jar to break. Do not stuff the beans into the jar too tightly.
Load the canner. Beans MUST be canned in a pressure canner. Follow the rules for your pressure canner, but for mine, I fill the canner with three quarter of water, add my jars onto the rack, and close the lid. I have finally gotten brave enough to double stack my jars, so I did 16 pints at once in my 23 quart Presto, affectionately known as Big Poppa. It went so well, that I think we need to get Big Poppa’s twin brother, so I can do 32 pints in 2 canners next season.
Wait for the canner to hit up, and when you see the steam, wait ten minutes. Then, add the weight. When the weight begin to rock, then you can count the processing time. Fifty minutes for quarts, and forty minutes for pints at 10 lbs pressure. When the time is up, turn off the stovetop and leave the canner alone. Do not remove the top until the knob is down. I like to let the jars cool a few minutes after I have removed the top. Place the jars on a towel, and let them be for about twenty four hours. However, the jars will probably ping much earlier. 🙂 The best sound ever.
Ta Dah! Twenty one pints of butter beans, ready for meals. On those late nights, perhaps parent teacher nights, I can open one of these, a jar of deer, and a jar of potatoes, and tadah! Delicious dinner from our field and forest.