27 Sep

So, back in the summer I bought myself a fancy pressure canner. It’s awesome. You see, you need a pressure canner to can low acid foods like veggies because a water bath canner doesn’t get to high enough temperatures to kill off things like, oh, botulism. I really wanted a pressure canner so I could start canning my own beans (kidney, black etc). You see, we eat a lot of those and not only was it expensive, but I also worry about the crap lining the cans and what things I’m ingesting because of it. Especially the cheap cans. And the tomatoes. However, tomatoes have almost enough acid in them that you can simply add a bit of lemon juice and can them in a water bath – no problem! Beans however, are death in a jar unless you do it right. And I’m just not prepared enough to always be soaking my beans in advance of when I think I’ll need them. It’s really nice to open a can and have your legumes ready to go!

Shortly after getting the pressure canner, I took it for a spin and canned myself some lentils. It was pretty easy. Soak them overnight, cook them up, throw them in the jars and pop them in the canner. 75 mins at 11 psi of pressure later and I had six jars of ready to eat lentils. And this past weekend, I thought I’d do up some other stuff – kidney beans, black beans and chickpeas.

I soaked my beans overnight (ok, maybe a day and a half because I got caught at a birth – sprouted beans are healthy too!). Then I popped them in jars, into the canner and…..they didn’t all seal. Anyone who knows anything about canning, knows that if they don’t seal you have to use them up right away, so into the fridge they went. I had three jars leftover, so the next day Ian made a vegetarian chili. And the day after that I made my Speedy Lentil and Bean Casserole. All seemed to be going well, until it was time to eat the casserole, and then something just seemed off.

Now, let me be clear. At this point I knew the beans were getting close – so I took a good hard sniff before using them – they looked and smelled FINE. Whipped up the casserole, threw on some vegan cheese* and into the oven. It was the casserole I know and love. Except when I took a bite, it tasted funny. I thought it was just me, so I ate another few bites. Still funny. Checked in with Ian who said it was fine. [And really, I should  know better, this man eats anything and does occasionally poison himself as a result – but, like my dog, he has a cast iron stomach. I shouldn’t trust him when he says something is ‘fine’]. Started wondering if it was maybe the cheese – just a litte different than what I’m used to. I ate another bite or two but couldn’t shake that funky taste – so I gave it to Ian and he polished it off.

Fast forward to the next day and my suspicions were confirmed – something was so not right with those beans. Ugh! My poor, poor guts……I don’t think the problem was with the canning process itself. I think rather, the problem stemmed from the length of time the beans had been ‘in waiting’. Note to self: Only can when you’re off call and use the unsealed ones that day or not at all.

Oh and not surprisingly, when I checked in with Ian about how he was feeling, he told me he was ‘fine’.

*Please stay tuned for a future post on the awesomest vegan cheese ever.


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