Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Real Food Wednesday: Dilly Beans and canning

So here it goes.  My participation in an online food "blog carnival" via Kelly the Kitchen Kop has begun.  Pretty fun since I have something to contribute and I'm not hurriedly rushing to find something in order to participate this week.  Thankfully, there's Dilly Beans!  They're my contribution to Real Food.

Canning, well, I haven't canned in years and it all came back like riding a bike (which I haven't done in years too).  Five minutes after the boil returns in the canner the beans are done.  After they are removed from the hot water process they delightfully, and re-assuredly, start clinking and popping to let me know they are sealing.  It's really the best sound ever after all your hard work to get the beans in the jar! 

The organic beans were ordered in bulk through Chestertown Natural Foods so they're not truly local beans which I would love to claim.  Perhaps picking some local beans for the next batch of Dilly Beans will be my next adventure!  Now that I've begun making them again I realize what a nice snacking resource they are as well.  The hubby LOVES them!

Dilly Beans Tracy Supcoe style

4 pounds (about four quarts) whole green beans
*1/4 teaspoon per pint jar crushed hot pepper flakes
*1/2 teaspoon per pint jar whole mustard seed
*1/2 teaspoon per pint jar dill seed
*1 clove per pint jar garlic
5 cups apple cider vinegar
5 cups good quality water
1/2 cup canning salt



1.  Wash beans thoroughly and pick out any inferior quality bruised beans.  Cut into lengths to fill pint jars.
2.  Make the brine mixture by combining the vinegar, water, and salt (I used Celtic sea salt this time) in a large pot and heat to boiling.  Keep warm and boil-ready.  Prepare the canning lids by placing them in alternating (top/bottom) layers in a small pot and cover with warm water.
3. Pack the beans into clean, hot, and sterilized (I boil the jars for 20 minutes) canning jars.
4.  Add the *seasonings individually to each jar as listed above.
5.  Bring the brine mixture back to a quick boil then pour into the pints jars filling to within a 1/2 inch to the top of the jar.
6.  Wipe clean the rim of the jars and then place the canning lids on top.  Screw the band on the jars until just slightly tight.
7.  Process the jars in boiling water for 5 minutes.  It's important to start the timing as soon as the water returns to a boil.  Remove jars and sit upright on a wire rack to cool, several inches apart.
8.  Allow, at least, two weeks for the Dilly Beans to work their magic in the jar. 

It really is fun and easy to do.  Tracy (my canning mentor) also recommends having the Dilly Beans in your tuna fish sandwich.  Just delicious!  Happy Real Food Wednesday!

Yield: 7 pints

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Humane Society Heroine

Sarah Collins, of Collins Creations, is one of the most enthusiastic young lady's I have met in a while. She has a heart of gold and the drive of Lance Armstrong. I met her at the Chestertown Farmers Market this past beautiful Saturday and bought one of her bracelets that she proudly made herself.

What makes Sarah so special, and attracted my attention, was that she operates her stand to raise money for the Kent County Humane Society. Half of her earnings she donates to the Humane Society and she's already raised $1,000.00 in this past year.

Sarah humbled me with her drive to help, her love of animals, and her will to succeed. Her proud mom, Heather, was all smiles as Sarah talked about her commitment to helping the Humane Society.

Local Fresh Market in danger of closing

It seems I never budget my time properly enough in order to keep up with this blog. Then there comes along something that really catches my attention and I want to go on the record and say something about it other than on Facebook.

Dr. Mowry's Fresh Market on Kent Island offers the public fresh local food every Tuesday evening starting around 5-5:30pm and running until 7pm or so. I had the pleasure of wandering around a few weeks ago and couldn't believe the large turnout. Parking was at a premium I assure you! But now, I just recently read, there's a danger of it closing due to poor turnout. Curious.

Here's the link to the article I read. I think it would be a shame for residents to lose touch with their local food sources. As I continue onward in my food journey I realize it's becoming more and more important to learn where my food is coming from, the conditions the food were raised in, and the values of the people who raise my food.