Canning pinto beans
I received a new All American pressure canner for Christmas and want to do pinto beans in pints for my first batch; do I need to soak them first or can I just put them in the jar dry, fill up with boiling water, and then into the canner? Thanks and love your columns as always!
Los Alamos, New Mexico
I like to boil them for 2 minutes in plenty of water, then cover and let stand for 2 hours. Then heat again, drain and pack jars 3/4 full of beans and fill with hot cooking liquid (you can also add bits of chopped ham or bacon if you want), leaving 1 inch of headspace. Process pints at 10 pounds pressure for 65 minutes or quarts for 75 minutes. If you live at an altitude above 1,000 feet, consult your canning book for directions on increasing your pressure to suit your altitude if necessary. Enjoy your new canner! You’ll love it! — Jackie
I purchased some asparagus for the first time. Can it be started in pots?
Gold Hill, Oregon
If you bought seeds, you can surely start it in pots then transplant it outdoors when the weather is settled in the spring. If you buy roots, they are very long and octopus-like and would be hard to fit into a pot. Better to keep them in a cool dark place until you can dig in your garden. The roots are frost-proof, but the shoots will be killed by frosts or freezing weather. — Jackie