With my husband traveling over the road trucking our garden was getting a little out of control. 🙂 Not enough people to eat everything. 🙂 Our collards and kale needed a serious haircut, and the cabbage worms were having a field day.
Time to gather it all in and can it for the summer. I will tell you that I have done this before with great success however this time I did make a mistake and I will tell you about it so you can avoid doing the same thing (or just laugh at me, whichever). 🙂
I also should clarify by saying that I am NOT from the south, so I make no promises as to the authenticity of the southerness of my recipe. 😉 Probably should have some hot peppers in there?
The night before I cut up my onions and fried up the bacon. These are added for flavor so you don’t need alot. I used about a pound of bacon, cut into small pieces and then fried. The onions I just used fresh to help them maintain their integrity during the canning process.
The day of, we first gave the plants a haircut (photos show above), picking off all the worms we could find. All together we had a crammed 5 gallon bucket overflowing with greens. We put them in our sink to soak out more worms and rinse of the dirt etc. We have a huge undivided kitchen sink. The biggest kitchen sink we could get without special ordering. The sink was full to the top!
I had already got my pressure canner going. (For more on the pressure canning process visit here.) I also started a pot of broth going so I could blanch my greens. The first time I canned greens, I didn’t blanch them and I ended up with A LOT of juice and less than half the jar with actual greens. Therefor I highly recommend blanching greens before canning.
In the photos below, you can see the difference in volume of fresh greens vs blanching for just a few seconds .
Most greens have a thick spine down the center of each leaf. You will want to cut that out before you can your greens. This stem is undesirable to eat as it tends to be very tough and woody. Then you will cut into smaller pieces about the size of a 3 x 3 post-it. During the rinsing and cutting we picked out what we hope was the remaining worms. (we try not to think about it).
Then you blanch your greens and quickly add to your hot jars. You can fill your jars and then add your bacon and onions, or you can add your bacon and onion first. Whichever you prefer. I prefer to add them first so I can then cram the jars with greens to the 1 inch margin.
You will want to leave a 1 inch headspace in your jars. Once you have filled your jars with greens, top off with the hot broth you used to blanch them, remember your headspace. Tamp down the greens in the jar a few more times to release any air bubbles.
Place lids and rings and process in the pressure canner at 70 min for pints, and 90 minutes for quarts at the appropriate pressure for you area.
Here is where I made mistake number one..
You must keep an eye on your pressure while canning, adjusting your heat as needed. My sister purchased some battery operated lights for under the cupboards in the kitchen, and while we were playing with those (already a mistake getting distracted) a couple of batteries exploded and by the time I cleaned the mess the pressure was up to 20 lbs!!!! This is not only VERY dangerous, but is also bad for your jars inside.
Mistake number two…
I chose to vent some of the pressure in the cooker to haisten it back down to 11 pounds. This caused a reverse pressure in my jars and about 90% of my broth came out of my jars. Do NOT do this!
If this happens to you, all is not lost. As long as you have a complete seal, the contents are ok. However, the shelf life is reduced. I plan to eat my greens in the next 6 months. I ended up with almost 6 quarts, so I will be eating these at least once a month until they are gone.
So there you go. 🙂 I am keeping my promise of exposing all of errors along with my successes.
Ingredients for 5 quarts
- 5 Gallon bucket of greens packed and overflowing (about as accurate as I can get, sorry)
- 1 pound of bacon or to taste
- 2 large onions or to taste
- 5 cans (12 oz) broth (we ended up with 1 quart of broth left over that we re-canned for future use)
- Review Pressure Canning process and do all necessary pre-steps.
- Clean and cut greens to approx 3×3 or as you like.
- Blanch in broth for a 10-30 seconds, just till wilted.
- Pack in hot jars.
- Generous 1/4 cup bacon and generous 1/4 cup onion per jar.
- Fill with broth used for blanching to 1 inch head space
- Place seals and process using pressure canner.
- Pints for 70 min.
- Quarts for 90 min.
Easy peasy. 🙂
If you have a greens recipe for canning or fresh, please feel free to tell us about it below in the comments! 🙂