Posting is late today as we spent the morning learning about medicare coverage. The best insurance is healthy living.

I am planning to can baked beans today, providing I don’t get sidetracked. Dried beans are about the easiest thing in the world to store. They’re about the least expensive thing as well and loaded with all kinds of good things. But why bother with canning them? In an emergency, the thing likely to be in the shortest supply is energy, both the heat energy needed to prepare food and the emotional energy needed to get started. Since so many preparedness dinners can be made from a base of beans, it makes sense to have them on hand rather than in a state that needs presoaking and long cooking before you can even think about the rest of the meal. A 1 pound bag also makes way more than you are likely to need for a meal and getting stuck with a lot of leftovers is something to avoid if refrigeration is iffy. Canning my beans now, while the stove is working and I have lots of time works for me. I could, of course, just buy canned beans but that means putting my money into the commercial food system with the attendent packaging and consuming food with added salt, something I try to avoid. I wish I could say that canning beans is easy but it actually takes a bit of time and preparation. I still think the results are worth it. Here’s the recipe I use.

Begin by sorting and soaking your beans as you would for cooking. I usually forget to soak overnight so I cover with water and bring to boil for 2 minutes, turn off the heat and soak for an hour, then drain. Next, I fill hot, clean jars (1 pint) leaving 1 inch of headspace. I pressure can at 11 pounds of pressure for 75 minutes. The beans can also be canned in a tomato or molasses sauce. You can even add a small cube of pork. If I can in a sauce, I only fill jars 3/4 fill. The tomato sauce beans are good for things like tacos or burritos while the molasses beans are great as a baked bean. For tomato sauce I just put the soaked beans in a quart of home canned, rather thin tomato sauce and bring sauce and beans to a boil, then add to hot jars. For a molasses sauce I use 1 quart water, 3 tablespoons dark molasses, 1 tablespoon vinegar and some dry mustard. These are pretty standard recipes and very similar to the ones found in So Easy To Preserve.

Are the rest of you getting faked out by the coming warmer temperatures? I do this every year, then suffer through the disappointment of remembering that winter isn’t over in the Northeast until the end of April. Any tender plant put in the garden before the first day of June is just looking to perish in a late frost.

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