After spending 3 weeks in New England, eating 'out there' (not from my pantry of home raised and preserved foods) I am home again. I tip my hat at those of you who endeavor to feed your family wholesome, real foods in the confines of suburbia.
So, after all that time of trying to find whole, real foods, I arrived home ready to get to work on restocking the pantry. Home canning is cost effective, but of equal importance, home canning is a way to keep control of what is going into the jars. With home canning, you don't have to be concerned with added chemicals, BPA lining on metal jars, or overly processed salt.
Today I decided to get my bean supply restocked. Yes, I could soak and cook my beans each time I need them, but frankly, I am all about convenience. Taking out a jar of canned red beans ready to mix into chili sauce (also canned on the pantry shelf) saves me lots of time and planning.
I'm not sure that I couldn't do just as well if I bought my jars of kidney beans on sale or in the scratch and dent aisle, but then again, I'm not buying a full 50# bag, so I'm losing out on the bulk bargain.
Here's the breakdown:
Red Kidney Beans (2.07lbs) - $2.59 @ $1.25 lb = 9 pints of beans = .27 per pint
Canning Lids - .07 each
.34 per jar of beans
I soaked my beans overnight and then filled each pint jar about 3/4 full (about a cup and a quarter of a cup) of beans. Then I added 1/2 tsp of RealSalt, and poured almost boiling water to within one inch of the top. Lids and rings, then processed at 10lbs of pressure for 75 minutes.
In all, it cost me about 20 minutes of actual 'hands on' time, including the few times I had to adjust the heat on the stove to keep my pressure regulated.
To me, the value of knowing what is in each jar is worth the work. And I suppose that going with organic beans would be a value-added bonus, if I could find them at a competitive price.
What about you? What are you canning this year?
Looking for a fun read/resource for whole foods cooking? Try this new book I've been working through: Healthy Choices: No sugar. No white flour. No artificial anything.
This book can be quite entertaining - recipes from Plain and Mennonite women, as well as non-plain living cooks, this cookbook is full of recipes that use the 'basics', sometimes with humorous results. My favorite 'eew' moment was the recipe for 'Rice and Bean Pizza'. Just can't bring myself to make it. But there are LOTS (1,000+) of recipes to read through, including recipes for homemade cleaners, home remedies, gardening solutions and canning recipes.
If you are working towards healthy, homemade, whole food cooking, this is a great resource.