Monday, August 17, 2009

Freezing Green Beans

For 20 years we have been canning our green beans. The kids always seemed to like them the best that way. This year we are freezing them. Freezing green beans is easier and retains more of the nutrients in them. Two really good reasons to see if switching from canning to freezing them will be the best for our family. As with canning, beans should be frozen at the peak of freshness. They should be crisp and beans inside should still be small.

The first step is to wash your beans. You could put them in a strainer or the way we do it here. We wash the beans seperately.

Snap or cut both ends of the beans off. Remove strings if any. (We planted a variety that is stringless.) Break or cut the beans into pieces. I try to make them bite size but any size is fine.

Fill a large stockpot with water and bring the water to a full rolling boil. Place the green beans in the boiling water. They should be completely immersed. (If you have a large amount of beans to freeze, place the beans in a colander or large strainer that will fit inside your stockpot.... or use a large pasta-type pot with a fitted basket. Then you can use the same pot of boiling water for multiple batches. You may need to add hot tap water between batches to keep the right level of boiling water. )I used a big canning spoon with holes and that worked great. Cover the pot and begin timing as soon as the beans are immersed in the boiling water. Keep the water at a continuous boil for 3 minutes. (Blanching like this will stop the ripening process. Notice the change in color.)

Remove the beans from the boiling water and immediately place the beans in a large bowl of ice water. Cooling time should also be about 3 minutes.

Drain the beans in a large strainer.

Spoon beans into freezer bags. Press out extra air to avoid freezer burn. Seal, mark and date. Use within 12 months.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Liberian Pepper Soup

We have a Liberian friend here for a couple weeks so we are enjoying the tastes of Liberia. We all give a thumbs up to pepper soup so here is the way to make it in America. Sorry, but you'll have to travel to Liberia to get the real version but this is pretty close and very tasty. (*Liberian food is very hot and spicy!) We also had ground pea (peanut butter) soup and plantain chips (simple and one of my favorites to snack on.) Hamilton made this version less "hot" to make it easier on us. Our kids will only eat so much "heat". You can always add more pepper to make it hotter.







4 boneless, skinless chicken breast
3 perch or tilapia filets
4 pieces boneless pork chops
1/2 onion
Lawrey's Season Salt
2 chicken boullion cubes
1 can tomatoes with chilis
2 habernero peppers, halved and seeds removed
3 plaintain bananas, cut into 1/4 in slices
2 large sprinkles salt
water to cover

Cut the fish, chicken and pork and season with season salt. Shake a large portion of season salt on all pieces. Put chicken and pork in dutch oven. Add water until about 2/3 full. Add sliced onion, plaintains and chicken boullion cubes. Add tomatoes. Add peppers. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 45 minutes (add fish filets now) to 1 hour. Cook until fish is done. Fish should fall apart easily and take about 5 min or so.

Serve over rice.
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