Everything I know about preserving our food!!


This week I’ve been doing a little canning during the “slow” time here on the farm. I only had about a dozen pints of pinto beans left on the cellar shelves, so I asked hubby to pick up a bag of beans at one of our “local” convenience stores that have beans, vegies, fruit and your normal convenience items.

Canning Dried Beans

Once the beans were home (10 pounds of pinto) I washed them in hot water and rinsed four times, more if needed, but these were about the cleanest I’ve ever had. After last rinse I put them in my largest stock pot (huge pot) covered completely with hot water and every 2-3 hours I dumped the water and replaced with fresh water and sat in a cool room. I did this for at least 24 hours, and they doubled their size. The next day, I dumped the last water and filled the pot one more time and boiled them for 45 minutes. The water will turn a funny gray color but that’s because the beans are half done. Then I spooned them into quart and pint jars up to the neck. I added one teaspoon of salt to the pints and 2 teaspoons in the quarts (beans take a lot of salt). This next step is purely up to you, but we love it. I added a heaping teaspoon of dried “ham soup base”. If I forget or don’t have any ham when we want these for a meal this gives the beans a great flavor. Then I pour the broth from the beans over the beans and up to the neck of the jar. Don’t overfill! Wipe the tops of the jars to remove anything that might keep it from sealing. Add the lids and rings and place in a pressure canner at 10 pounds of pressure (for our elevation) over high heat. Once the pressure reaches turn the heat down to medium low and cook for 35-45 minutes. Let cool and remove from canner. Now you’re ready for pinto beans and cornbread anytime without having to cook those beans all day!!!

Canning Potatoes

In the spring we usually have a bushel or two of leftover potatoes in the cellar and when they start to sprout it’s time to do something, so they don’t go to waste. We sprout a five-gallon bucket for seed potatoes if the summer before was their first season. We leave about two gallons to use until the new potatoes are ready to dig. The remainder goes in jars and canned for several uses such as soup, casseroles, mashed potatoes, corned beef hash, and many other dishes.

This is the process I use for canning those extra potatoes. The longest part of the process is peeling all of those potatoes. Of course, have your canning jars washed and ready for the process is even better and that’s when I decide how I will cut the potatoes. I dice them for potato soup and corned beef hash and/or I slice them, or I cut them in 1- 1 1/2-inch chunks. Then I fill the jars, using pint jars for the diced potatoes and quarts for the rest of the potatoes. Don’t cook! Add one teaspoon of salt to the quarts and 1/2 teaspoon to the pints. Fill the jars up to the neck with hot water over the potatoes up to the neck of the jars. Wipe the tops of the jars to remove any salt that may have gotten on the rims. Add your lids and rings and tighten. Place in pressure canner and cook at 10 pounds of pressure first on high until pressure gauge jiggles and lower to medium low heat for 35 minutes. Let cool and remove from canner. Wallah, you’re done!!!

Pasta Sauce

I love Mrs. Wages canning packages and the pasta sauce package is what I used here varying the ingredients a bit.

I opened six quarts of the tomatoes I canned last summer. Drained them and poured the drained pulp into my food press. The food press pushed the pulp into a pot and the seeds (most of them) were left out in the press and the chickens got those. This left me with about six quarts of fairly thick sauce in the pot. I added one cup of sugar (package call for 1/2 cup) and the 5-ounce package of seasoning mix to the sauce and stirred thoroughly. Then, I poured it all in my largest crockpot and cooked it on high, stirring occasionally, for three hours. I did not put the crockpot lid on at all because I needed the sauce to be thick enough for spaghetti, cavatini, pizza sauce or any other recipe that called for pasta sauce. I doubled the sugar in the recipe because we tend to get cold sores from tomato acid, but the sugar helps to lessen the reaction to the acid. I ended up with six and a half beautiful pints to add to the cellar.


I took five cups of raspberry juice, five cups of sugar and one package of Sure Jell to make a batch of jelly. The Sure Jell was stirred/dissolved into the juice in a pot and placed on the stove on high heat to come to a boil for. All of the sugar was poured into the boiling mixture at once, stirred and brought to a hard boil for one minute. Then it was poured into 1/2-pint glass jars and lids and rings placed on the jars. My pressure canner was adjusted to 10 pounds of pressure, nine jars added to the canner making sure the rings were tightened. We wait for the pressure to be acquired and then process for 10 minutes.


Brown one pound of burger with finely chopped onions (one large onion), salt and pepper, to taste. I add one tablespoon of chili powder for each pound of browned meat. When meat is browned add a half cup of water, a cup of catsup and a 1/2 cup of tomato sauce. Check for taste that suits you and your family and add more seasoning if you wish. Lower heat and let simmer for 30 minutes. I have a screened lid that I cover it with while cooking to let out the steam and keep in the mess from my stove while it’s cooking. Remove from heat and after it’s cooled, place in containers of your choice and freeze.

More to come soon!

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