FAQ – Food Preservation

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The Cooperative Extension Service across the nation has always been a reliable source of food preservation instruction and a place where consumers could go to get their specific questions answered. We here at the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Brunswick County Center are no exception.Woman with canning jars Beans

One of the recent questions to our office was about field peas. Brenda Clemmons inquired about the processing time for fresh field peas. These peas DO need to be processed using a pressure canner. To prepare: shell and wash the peas. Then place in a pot on top of stove, cover with boiling water and boil for three minutes. Pack the peas loosely into hot canning jars and then fill the jars with the boiling hot cooking liquid. An important thing to remember when canning starchy food like peas is to be sure to leave lots of headspace (1 1/2 inches) in the jars and also don’t press down or over pack the jars as the peas do swell during processing. Quarts should be processed for 50 minutes at 11 pounds of pressure with a dial gauge pressure canner or 10  pounds with a weighted gauge pressure canner. This recommendation is also good for fresh black-eyed peas, crowder peas, lima beans, butter beans, pinto beans, and soybeans. For complete instructions go to the National Center for Home Food Preservation.Woman in front of stoveBeans

Dried peas and beans can be soaked and then pressure canned. This is a slightly different process and requires more time, so don’t get these two products confused. Also, green peas and sweet peas are different vegetables, too, and have their own procedures.Woman with beans

Clemmons shared later that they were successful in canning 34 quarts (so far). Since it takes at least five pounds of fresh peas in-the-pod to get seven quarts of canned peas, the shelling was a major family project. The whole family joined in including her mother, Elizabeth Rabon Mercer, her sisters Beverly and Bonnie Mercer with their mother’s twin sisters, Cheryl Mintz, and Gayle Sullivan. They said this job was truly a labor of love. Clemmons reported that “this was our first time ever using the pressure canner. We were very surprised, at how simple it was to use once we figured it out.”  Elizabeth, who will be 89 years young this week,  says “we’re never too old to try new things.”Canning jars

Happy Birthday 89th birthday to Elizabeth on September 18 –never too old to be in the kitchen.

Source: Cheryle Jones Syracuse, FCS Staff Member, cheryle_syracuse@ncsu.edu