I planted a lot of green beans in our garden this year. There were six rows of Roma (flat Italian) beans and 6 rows of Blue Lake Bush beans.
My whole family loves them, and when we have beans for supper, the beans are the centerpiece of the meal, not a side dish. I had hoped to get a huge crop of beans, can those up, and replant for a second batch in late summer/early fall.
I got a big crop of beans…oh yes, I did.
I went out to the garden on Friday, July 1st to pick the first of the harvest. I got to the garden at about 6:30pm and started pulling plants. If you’ll recall, we harvest beans by pulling up the entire plant. We pick off all the beans, then replant for a second harvest. I pulled up a row, got the beans pulled off and had just started a second row when it got too dark to continue.
The next day, I resumed my job at around 11:30. I set up a little picking station with a covered chair, because I really don’t like being in the sun. I’d move my chair as the sun moved, to avoid sunburn. By the end of the day, I’d pulled up 4 rows of Roma beans, had picked the remaining two rows of mature beans (leaving them in the ground to allow fresh harvesting for small meals until the second harvest comes in) and one row of Blue Lake Beans. I was dirty, tired, dehydrated and…you guessed it…sunburned! The sun was sneaky, coming in around the sides of the chair, causing painful burns on the outside edges of my elbows and knees.
I took Sunday off from gardening, but on Monday the 4th, I sweet-talked my dad into helping me with the rest of the Blue Lakes. We were smart this day. We took his truck over, and he pulled up the remaining 3 rows while I picked the mature beans off the two rows that I left in the ground (again, for fresh harvesting.) We stuck those plants in the back of the truck and took them home, where I could sit on the back porch (under a nice, shade-providing roof) to pull off the remaining beans.
In all, there were about 5 laundry baskets full of green beans to be canned. FIVE laundry baskets! Do you have any idea how many quarts that provides? I do. Let me break it down.
Mom and Daddy did most of the breaking. Mom would cut the ends off and cut out any little bug-eaten places. Then she’d hand a pan full of beans over to Daddy, who would break them into smaller pieces to be canned. Once there were enough beans for a full canning (7 quarts), I’d stop whatever I was doing and would wash the beans, put them in jars, prepare the pressure canner and get them processed.
On Sunday, Mom and I went to Ace Hardware to buy 2 pressure canner seals to refurbish two pressure canners that we had in our storage building. This allowed us to have 2 canners on the stove and a 3rd prepared and ready to go as soon as one was finished cooking.
We worked on these beans – picking, breaking and canning – from Friday through the following Tuesday.
We ended up with 122 quarts of beans. I canned 112 of them, and I dried 10 of them.
My mom has threatened me with bodily harm if I bring any more beans into the house for at least 6 weeks. I completely understand!