Weeknight canning is a tricky thing. Primarily because canning always, 100% without fail takes longer than you think it will. You look in the Ball Blue Book and see "20 minute processing time" and think, hooray! I can do three batches in one evening!
No, you can't. At least not if you have to get up at 5 a.m.
But you can usually handle one. So Tuesday night, we canned 9 pints of green beans.
You see, my grandparents have a large garden, and this year we're helping to process and preserve what we can (no pun intended). We aren't around to do the heavy lifting with the picking and maintenance, so we are helping on the back end, since we have the supplies and desire to can.
But the unpredictable thing about nature is that stuff is ready on its own timetable, not ours. So that's how we ended up with enough green beans that we needed to can on a weeknight.
Much of the work is cleaning and prepping the beans, which is why it's so time consuming. But we're old hat at prepping beans for canning, since we've done beans each year since we started canning in the first place.
Beans have to be pressure canned, since the acidity level of the beans isn't high enough to have botulism killed off by a boiling water bath. We do a raw pack, meaning we heat the jars and pack in raw beans and canning salt, plus boiling water.
We can fit 9 pint jars comfortably in our canner, having decided to do pints instead of quarts so we'd have more jars to split up.
Even though the processing time is only 20 minutes for pints of beans, once that portion is done, the pressure has to come down on its own. Which is another reason that this is harder to do on a weeknight than it seems!
Man, our canner lid has water spots something fierce.
Anyway, we managed to fit in the entire process. I'm sure we'll repeat it again this summer with more beans, but this is a good first start!