Lately, I often hear that young people either cannot or do not want to cook anymore. Such sentiments are usually uttered by members of the “Generation Convenience Food” as I’ve taken to referring to them.
If the abundance of cooking TV shows, cooking classes, specialised cookery books and the ubiquitous availability of high-end cooking utensils and exotic ingredients cannot convince Ms Peasoutofcans, neither can I. Let’s let them stir their pots, I stir mine.
CK is making me atone for oversharing food pics on Facebook by sharing recipes here. That’s cool. I’m not susceptible to charming, bribing, flattering, guilt-tripping, or thelike. And I’ve sworn off snark.
For a start, I’ll share a recipe for canned green bean salad as it needs some time to marinate in its brine. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll see it’s fun to can a dish that’s in season and / or time-consuming and to enjoy it whenever you feel like it or are pressed for time.
Here are a few notes on canning:
there are various methods of canning, the easiest and cheapest is using jars with twist-off lids. You can recycle ones from store-bought items provided you didn’t damage the lid to break the vacuum seal.
The jars need to be clean, it’s best to sanitize the jars and the lids in boiling hot water. The lids are coated with a special rubber that reacts to the heat in a way that makes sealing the jars safer.
Prepare your workspace. You’ll be dealing with hot liquids, so better be safe. A wet teatowel should go underneath the jars. If you feel nervous about leaking jars, a tray will serve as a security barrier between your feet and brine or jam or applesauce or soup or sauce.
Prepare your utensils. Towels, paper towels, kitchen tongs, a ladle, oven gloves all come in handy. A wide-neck funnel is a plus.
The jars best get filled to the brim, but make sure the necks of the jars stay clean on the outside (a paper towel can save your day there).
Once filled, close the jars instantly and quickly flip them over. Place them upside-down onto the wet towel. Use an oven glove for holding the jars as they will get extremely hot.
If you’re concerned about leaking jars due to lids that weren’t properly screwed on, here’s a tip my father once gave me:
Whenever you screw something (a lid, a screw,a nut, a cap) onto or into something (usually clockwise), give that object a turn in the opposite direction first. You feel it stumbling at some point. That is the ply. That is the point where you start fastening. This way you minimise the risk of mis-mounted screws or leaky vessels.
Let the jars rest upside down for fifteen minutes to half an hour. Flip them over. The emitting hot air will create the vacuum seal you know from store-bought products. The centre of the lid gets sucked down and is not “wobbly” anymore.
If it is wobbly, maybe the lid was damaged or the neck of the jar soiled. Don’t worry there, just let whatever you canned cool, store it in your fridge and consume it ASAP.
But now for the salad:
Green beans, prepared
Prepare the beans by cleaning them, cutting away stems. Boil/steam them in about 1″ of salted water (savory to taste) for about ten to fifteen minutes or just about soft. Don’t eat raw beans. Strain and rinse with cold water to better retain the green colour. Alternatively, you can add half a teaspoon of baking soda to the cooking water.
I let my beans cool down, but that is not a must.
Fill the beans into the jars, add garlic cloves, diced onions, or shalot rings as you see fit.
For the brine:
2 litres of water
1/2 litre of vinegar
100gr sugar / equivalent in sweetener
1tsp salt (or more if you like it salty; you can always add salt to the salad later)
spices (I used dried oregano, marjoram, savory, and thyme as well as “pul biber”, i.e. shredded dried red chilli peppers)
1/2tsp baking soda (It’ll sizzle, but not too bad.)
Combine the ingredients in a pot and bring to the boil. Pour over the beans and proceed with the canning as described above.
This’ll give you a very tangy salad.
To serve, strain the beans and toss them with cherry tomatoes to taste. If you serve the salad immediately, you can slice the tomatoes for easier eating. If you have to prepare the salad ahead of time, I suggest you either keep the tomatoes intact or just about score them.
Of course, you can also make this a tomato salad with beans. 🙂
For a classic “German” bean salad, simply opt for shalots in the jars and savory and dill in the brine.