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Jackie Clay

Q and A: canning dried beans, planting asparagus, and dried citrus peels

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

Canning dried beans

It is not so easy to find cooking method to can dried beans in a pressure cooker. A good place I’ve found is at but it seems it cooks the beans far too long since the beans turned mushy (soak, then boil for 30 minutes and pressure cook for 75 minutes. What method of preparing beans and the length of cooking time do you suggest?

Hyannis, Massachusetts
This is the recommended pre-cooking and canning requirements for pints of dry beans. You might try the hurry-up method I often use. It’s found in my book, Growing and Canning Your Own Food. Basically, you rinse and drain the dry beans. Then you add boiling water to cover well and bring to a boil. Boil for only 2 minutes then remove from heat and let soak for 2 hours. Heat again to boiling (adding extra water if needed to cover), then drain, saving liquid. Pack jars 3/4 full with hot beans. Add fried lean bacon or ham pieces if desired then fill jars with hot cooking liquid, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Your processing time is 65 minutes for pints and 75 minutes for quarts at 10 pounds pressure. 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. — Jackie

Planting asparagus

We have an asparagus bed that we put in about 4-5 years ago. It is now producing quite well. However, there are a lot of empty spaces where the roots we planted just never grew and about 20% of the plants are female. (lesson learned: buy quality roots) The empty spaces aren’t big enough that we could dig a new trench and plant new roots. (Well, maybe we could, but it’d be huge hassle. I like easy.) But with all these female plants we have lots of seeds. Could I plant these seeds to fill in the empty spaces? If so, what’s the process?

Charlene Nelson
Casselton, North Dakota

You know, I’ve planted lots and lots of asparagus through the years and even though I’ve bought quality plants, I always end up with a few female plants. Yes, you can plant seeds but if you have room to squeeze in roots into the vacancies, I’d recommend that as you’ll harvest asparagus two years sooner from that space. All you have to do is to work up the vacant space then break apart the asparagus berry and plant about three seeds in each area. Don’t plant them deeply but do cover them entirely. The seeds do best when let set over winter outdoors then planted in the spring. — Jackie

Dried citrus peels
What do you use your dried and blended citrus peels for? Just read your answer to a question about drying citrus peels. I make homemade herbal tea from plants on our farm (upstate N.Y.). I dry washed peel from oranges for tea in the oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes. I dry other plants such as rose petals, violet flowers, lemonbalm leaves, clover flowers, and mint leaves for my tea mix and add the dried peel to it. Could I “dry can” the powdered citrus peels?

St. Johnsville, New York

I use them a lot in baking (pies and cookies) and I also add them to recipes such as stir fries and roasted meats as part of a dry rub. It seems like I always find uses for them and they smell and taste great! I even slice, seed, and dry whole lemons then make powder from that to use, as well.
Yes, you could “dry can” the powdered citrus peels but I don’t bother; mine lasts for years in a plain clean jar. I use non-canning jars to hold most of my dehydrated foods. That way I don’t feel like I’ve wasted a jar by tossing it into the recycling. I recycle it at home instead! — Jackie

2 Responses to “Q and A: canning dried beans, planting asparagus, and dried citrus peels”

  1. Brenda in Parkman, WY Says:

    Non-canning jars are hard to come by here but I buy quite a few jars by the dozen at the second hand stores and yard sales, I end up with a few chipped ones every year so those become my storing vessels for dried foods. I put an arrow with permenet marker pointing to the chip so they can be identified later. Instead of throwing away used lids I wash and sanitize them and use a rusted rim (I use steel wool to take most of the rust off) for these jars. Makes a good use for the jars and the used rims and lids.

  2. gen Says:

    Small empty spice jars, empty cleaned pb or j jars, all would work well. Many of them are still made of glass, and aren’t practical for canning. Better then paying for 1/2 pint canning jars. Cleaned and steralized, they shouldn’t give any off flavor taste to your products.

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