07 October 2013

CSA home canning: green beans and carrots

About 5 parts beans to 1 part carrots

Hauled out the pressure canner again yesterday and put up 5 pints of green beans and carrots. The jars should come in handy for side dishes and soup this winter.

I had a surplus of produce this week because a friend was out of town and offered me their household's Community-Supported Agriculture vegetable share. Since I follow the Rowhouse Livin' Law of Hand-Me-Downs ("always accept hand-me-downs"), I jumped at the opportunity. I ended up filling my fridge to bursting, but by Sunday it was getting clear to me that it would be impossible to consume everything we had before this week's delivery. I knew what I had to do.

The haul included about 2 quarts of string beans and a bunch of red-skinned carrots. I carefully washed the beans and chopped them into uniform pieces. Then I peeled the carrots and sliced them. I tossed it all into a large stockpot, covered with water, brought to a boil, and simmered for 5 minutes. I packed them into pint jars and added cooking liquid, leaving 1 inch headspace. Then into the pressure canner they went.

Timing: Carrots (pints) require 25 minutes, and beans (pints) take 20 minutes. The rule of thumb is to go by the time for the vegetable that takes the longest, so I processed them at 10 pounds pressure for 25 minutes. By which I mean I processed them at 240 degrees F plus a little bit, for 25 minutes and a little bit. That way, I have some wiggle room if the temperature starts to fall and I don't catch it right away.

I still feel that I haven't done much canning this year. On the other hand, every time I run something through the pressure canner, I end up with meal-type foods, as opposed to condiments, sauces, and jams or fruit butters. So it goes a lot further for stocking my pantry for easy dinners and emergencies. We haven't had much of a hurricane season this year, but it ain't over yet, and we're overdue for a harsh winter. As I mentioned earlier, I'm sad to have missed my usual small-jar products this season, but our shelves really are filling up. Just not with the sweet treats I usually produce too much of.

01 October 2013

CSA home canning: two-day habanero hot sauce

When the CSA delivery gives you habanero peppers, make 20% habanero hot sauce.

If you are not familiar with home canning, please see the National Center for Home Food Preservation. This recipe does not substitute for a complete set of instructions on safe home canning practices.

I didn't have an actual recipe for this, so I based my work on a tested recipe for pepper relish. It yielded just under 2 pints.

One wide-mouth half-pint, three 4-ounce jars; another 4 ounces
ended up in the fridge for immediate use


  • half a medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cups finely chopped sweet peppers
  • 1 cup finely chopped habanero peppers, seeds retained
  • 3 tablespoons canning (non-iodized) salt
  • white vinegar to cover


    Combine the onion, peppers, and salt in a large, non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes. Take off heat, cover, and let sit overnight.

    Heat again to boiling. Taking care with the fumes rising from the pan, crush the peppers with a potato masher (or use an immersion mixer). Heat through. Take off heat, cover, and let sit overnight again; or start the canning process.

    To can, bring the sauce to boiling again. Simmer 10 minutes. Then pack heated sauce into hot jars, leaving half-inch headspace. Carefully release air bubbles from jars and add more sauce, if needed, to bring back to half-inch headspace. Clean rims of jars and apply lids and bands. Process pints, half-pints, and 4-ounce jars 15 minutes in a boiling-water bath canner.

    Let sit at least 6 weeks before opening for use.

    Note: Handle the habanero peppers safely. Some people hold the pepper with a fork while chopping with a chef's knife. Most people advise wearing rubber gloves. I'm a hippie who hates disposables, so I pinched the habaneros by the stem and used a 5-inch kitchen utility knife. I scraped the seeds and chopped pieces into a prep bowl, then dropped the stem end into the trash, without using my bare fingers anywhere on the peppers' flesh. The cutting board went straight into the dishwasher.