I decided to can up several kinds of beans to save heat in the kitchen during the summer. They all look good but they are not juicy like store bought ones. Did I do something wrong or is this normal?
Newport News, Virginia
No. The store beans just have a lot more sauce added. (Sauce is cheaper than beans especially when it’s mostly water and high fructose corn syrup!) If you want more juice, either add it when you open them or just use less beans and more sauce or water when you can your next batch. — Jackie
Transplanting fruit trees
I have 4 young apple trees that just started bearing fruit last year. I need to remove them from my orchard this spring to make room for a building; basically replanting part of my orchard. Do you think these could be successfully transplanted or should I just start over? I would be digging them out & replanting by hand.
Hornell, New York
Yes, you can carefully dig and transplant them. But try to do it while they’re still dormant as they stand the shock way better than when they are leafed out. Then be sure to keep them well-watered this spring and summer. Adding a nice ring of rotted manure or compost around the tree, out to the drip line will also help. Keep this mulch pulled away from the trunk a couple inches though to keep rodents from taking up housekeeping where they can eat the tender bark of the trees. — Jackie
Canning with kids
Any suggestion for canning with lots of small children around. I’ve tried scheduling grown up help on big marathon canning sessions, but that doesn’t work out very often. I am possibly going to try one batch en evening, when some of my older kids and husband are home. Any advice?
I raised 8 children and have lots of experience canning with little ones around! The marathon canning really sucks. It tires you out way too much. Instead, I always pretty much canned daily or as needed. For very little ones, I used a playpen, right in the kitchen, in sight but out of danger from hot foods and water. After awhile, I could schedule nap time in the playpen when I would be packing hot foods in jars, etc. Otherwise, with older kids, I involved them real soon. I have pictures of David at 5 years old “helping” pack green beans in jars and testing the seal on the jars after the cooled. When they’re involved when young, they soon learn when it’s safe to be in the kitchen and when Mom needs room to handle hot things and they go in the living room to play (where I can keep an ear out for them but they’re out of danger). As the older children get more responsible, they can help watch the younger ones while you do the more dangerous parts of canning such as filling jars with boiling food or water. Evening canning is also an option although often we moms are pretty tired by evening!
Most of the time, canning is pretty safe even with little ones under foot. I just tried to juggle time so they were involved with toys or a craft when I was doing the “hot” stuff. — Jackie