Beans, Beans and More Peach Preserves

I just wanted to begin today’s post by saying how heartbroken I am about Robin Williams’ tragic death.  I come from an exceedingly dysfunctional family – just about every neurosis known to mankind is represented in some form – but we’re not suicidal, so I can’t begin to even understand what he must have been going through.  The (very intelligent) husband of Beloved’s cousin said that Robin’s death is “a truly sad reminder that brilliance and happiness rarely reside peacefully in the same brain.

That may be true, but it is so incredibly pitiful.  Is Don McLean still around?  This calls for a song – The Day The Laughter Died.

Yes, I’m old.  And very, very sad.

At any rate, I guess I’ll move on to my originally intended post, which should really have been titled “How I Spent Last Weekend” or “Wanna See What A Bushel of Green Beans Looks Like?”

I hope so, because it looks like this:

Bushel O' Beans

Well, that’s slightly over a bushel; the green and purple beans in the blue colander are from our garden, while the rest are the bushel we purchased from our CSA farmer.  See how neatly the CSA beans are all trimmed and cut?  It was done entirely by hand and took over 3 hours.

Remember – neurosis runs in the family.

Once that was done, I began the process of actually pressure canning the whole mess.  Well, except for the beans from our garden, which are currently fermenting merrily away in a Pickl-It jar on my counter as Dilly Beans.  The canning took 2 days, because while you only need to process the jars for 20 minutes, you still have to fill those jars, seal them, arrange them in the pressure canner, close the thing up (I don’t think NASA secures astronauts as well as this thing locks down), bring it up to pressure, process for the 20 minutes, then let it naturally vent the pressure.

All in all, processing one batch of green beans took nearly two hours.  I processed 2 that first day, so 7 hours all told on Saturday, and this was after we’d run our errands (which included purchasing an insane amount of green beans).

Sunday saw me canning not only the third batch of beans, but a dozen half pints of peach preserves.  Thank goodness you can process those in a water bath, so all I had to do was peel, pit, and dice the peaches before mixing them with lemon juice, sugar and pectin and cooking them down before putting it all in jars.  That only took about 3 hours, all told.

And here’s what 3 bushels of green beans, canned, looks like – minus one pound that I used for tomorrow’s recipe and the two jars we ate last night for dinner:

Bushel O' Beans - Canned

The two boxes in the background are the peach preserves, along with the strawberry-rhubarb I canned earlier in the season.

Next up?  At least 4 bushels – maybe six – of tomatoes for sauce and paste.