Saturday, August 4, 2012

Dilly Beans and Hot Days

I have successfully canned Dilly Beans on my own for the first time (Hi, Heather! :) ! The new chest freezer is arriving either tomorrow or Monday, and until then the fridge-top freezer is packed to the gills, so any current excess of beans has to be canned or eaten fresh. Dilly beans are a staple for me since childhood- every summer involved packing the jars full of beans. I won't give the recipe here, there are so many good ones out there on the internet and elsewhere.

 The mess o' beans that Matt picked on Wednesday night.

 I only had seven pint jars available (another dozen were purchased today!), and I used them all! Each jar gets a clove of garlic, a head of dill (which happens to form heads at exactly the time of summer when the beans are harvested), and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne powder. Naturally, as I went to fill up the jars, I discovered that we were nearly out of cayenne. So this batch has half cayenne, half standard chilli flakes.

The kitchen in canning mode.


It seemed a little strange to use so much water for a boiling water bath for just seven pints of beans, but circumstances called for it. To make the most use of the water, I blanched a small batch of the beans that didn't make it into jars, and then devised a simple dinner that made use of the hot water available: mashed potatoes, steamed green beans, and corn on the cob. The remaining water was used to water the garden after it had cooled.

We've finally entered the summer heat, it took quite awhile this year. At last, I'm to the point where I can't remember when it last rained. However, it is excessively hot. It was 102 degrees today- we only get a few days this hot every year. It is currently 10 PM and the thermostat in the hallway is reading 82 F. We decided it was a good day to clean the basement, where it is about 20 degrees cooler. We also ate dinner down there! The garden was surprised by the heat- despite a good watering last night, many of the leaves and blossoms on the runner beans went completely crispy. Here's hoping they'll recover after the watering tonight. On the upside, the heat has caused the lemon cukes to grow exponentially, and the tomatoes to move from a jog to a sprint; we went from about six newly ripe cherry tomatoes per day to this:

The vines are loaded and we have more cherry tomatoes than we can eat. Time to make pasta sauce! But oh man, it's nice to feel like it's truly summer.

1 comment:

Sam said...

I am thoroughly enjoying your blog Liz. Having been a loyal reader of yours for years now, this blog still inspires me :-) Thanks for continuing to share your experiences with us. Sam xox