Tarragon Beans- Putting Up with ErinTarragon Beans- Putting Up with Erin

Hello August! Mid-summer crops (or what I’ve always considered mid-summer crops elsewhere) have finally arrived here in the North East United States. The local farmers’ markets are effectively overflowing with fruits, veggies, colors, and smiles. Since the beginning of the summer farmers’ market season here in Portsmouth, I’ve found myself so focused on finding new canning ingredients that I rarely buy any produce for my own meal and personal consumption. “I’ll take three pounds of eggplant (for pickles), four pounds of cucumbers (for pickles), and two pounds of onions (for pickles)… awesome!”… only to realize mid-week that I have nothing to cook for dinner and having to make a trip to the local grocery store for sub-par produce (dumb). This past Saturday, following my routine pickling stroll (canvas bag already packed full of ingredients), I decided to do another a lap around the market wherein I would only buy produce for this weeks’ dinners: carrots, corn, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc. Not a bad market haul if you ask me, now if only I can keep my veggie priorities straight. What type of market items did you bring home this week?

I personally could die a happy pickle eater… cough… pickler if the world consisted of only pickled carrots, beets, cauliflower, and string beans. With perhaps the exception of straight up dill pickles, for the sake of variety, it’s pretty rare that I put up the same thing twice. The problem is that there’s only so many ways you can swing a string bean. I came across these beautiful yellow wax beans at the Wake Robin Farm booth last weekend and immediately started flipping through my mental pickle recipe rolodex… basil beans (done it), curry beans (done it), dilly beans (done it), old bay beans (done it)…. and then I remembered these tarragon beans from Linda Ziedrich’s book The Joy of Pickling. Aside from adding tarragon, I more or less winged it with this wax bean recipe. Enjoy these tarragon pickles aside seafood, fruits, poultry, or eggs. I’d love to hear about other varieties of pickled beans that you’ve put up.

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Cuban Style Black Beans-Putting Up with ErinCuban Style Black Beans-Putting Up with Erin

Happy Memorial Day! For various reasons including the weather, my birthday, “school is out of summer”, etc., May has always been my favorite month. Fortunately, living in a new state and city during the month of May has proved just as favorable. When I moved to New Hampshire a month ago I was told “fully enjoy the next 3 weeks as the Seacoast region after Memorial Day gets a bit wild”. I now hear that and think, “More wild than April? Oh boy! This could get unhealthy!” 🙂 What weekend festivities do you all have in store for the holiday? The weather in Portsmouth is forecasted to be 75F on Monday, and as I’ve quickly learned during my limited time here, as soon as temperatures sustain above 70F, playing hooky and beach days are in order. I plan on spending they day BBQ hopping, birthday celebrating, and hopefully donning a pair of short shorts and sunglasses!

Not that today’s recipe has much to do with Memorial Day, but putting up beans is always exciting right!? It’s been a few months since I’ve pulled out the good ol’ pressure canner and honestly I can’t imagine a point at which I will feel totally comfortable building a preserved food bomb in my kitchen. These pressure canned cuban style black beans are a great pantry staple for quick use in any black bean soup or rice and bean recipe. So good and so flavorful! Enjoy and have a great holiday weekend!

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Pressure Canned Ranch Style Beans-Putting Up with ErinPressure Canned Ranch Style Beans-Putting Up with Erin

Ever eat a can of beans just because… or maybe just because a can of beans is an easy, filling, and tasty meal? As a somewhat new vegetarian, I’ve had to adjust to new ways of consuming ample amounts of protein. Beans have quickly moved up my plant-based high protein list of staple foods. If you’re from the east coast you’ve most likely never heard of Ranch beans. Growing up in California we frequently ate “Ranch Style” Beans, specifically those made by Congra Foods. Before 4 days ago, it had been years since I’d tasted the heavenly Texas inspired flavors of Ranch beans. Luckily with my new found passion for pressure canning, I’m able to experiment with bean varieties such as these. These ranch style beans are even tastier and more versatile than my first canned bean batch: Taco Spiced Chickpeas. Adding cinnamon to the savory mixture of onions, tomatoes, and jalapeños really pushes these beans to the next level. So far I’ve tried them in bean and cheese burritos, as well as an ingredient in acorn squash stuffed with wild rice. I’m looking forward to trying canned black eyed peas, chile beans, baked beans, etc. Enjoy!

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Pressure canned taco spice chickpeas: a great pantry staple-Putting Up with Erin
Pressure canned taco spice chickpeas: a great pantry staple-Putting Up with Erin

I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself an extreme risk taker, but I do think a little bit of added risk makes any hobby that much more intriguing. For Christmas this past year I received a glorious, long sought after Presto 16 quart pressure canner. When writing my gift list, all I could do was think, “wow.. all the things I can preserve with a pressure canner that I can’t with a water-bath canner…” Admittedly, it’s been sitting pretty in its box for the past month.  I didn’t think it would happen to me, I process foods over high heat all the time, yet the simple word “PRESSURE” kept me real nervous about experimenting. Last night after watching at least five instructional videos, I went for it.

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