Madeline Lee: Tradition of canning

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The tradition of canning food has held strong for decades, and for one Slater resident, it's a new way to continue the hobby carried by both her parents and grandparents.

This summer is Madeline Lee's first year in learning how to can. Although she said she's always seen the generations before her take on the process, it's one this wife and mother of three has recently grown an interest for.

"I never sat down and watched. Now that I have a family of my own, I realize the importance of it," Lee said.

Deep into the growing season, her home garden is beginning to flourish with as much zest as her budding interest.

This year it boasts tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, jalapenos, radishes, potatoes and onions. She's also growing green beans, which is the first vegetable she's working with.

"I read that you should pick 1 quarts of beans to get 1 quart in the can," Lee explained. "I picked enough to get 7 quarts in my pressure cooker."

Canning green beans requires little preparation other than snapping and cleaning the beans. From there, they go into a jar and set in a pressure cooker. While a simple process, it's one Lee is learning takes more time than she originally estimated. Her instructions said it would take approximately 25 minutes -- she estimated a hefty 45 minutes.

"It was (eventually) a two-hour process," she noted, explaining a person new to canning needs to allot time for boiling water and sterilization. "It took a while for pressure to build once I had the lid on ... and it still takes a while for that pressure to release before you can take the lid off."

Later in the season, Lee will can tomatoes to save and use for salsa. She also plans to make pumpkin pie from garden pumpkins this fall. For her, the new venture into the canning tradition has been one rich with knowledge.

"I like knowing I won't have to go buy (produce) at the store," she said. "I can keep the food that I'm taking so much time to grow."


Fried Green Beans


  • 1 quart vegetable oil for frying

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 4 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 1 pound fresh green beans
  • Directions

    1. Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 350 degrees F. Whisk together the flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder; set aside. Pour buttermilk into a shallow dish.

    2. Thread the green beans onto toothpicks, making bundles of about 5 green beans each. Dip the green bean bundles into the buttermilk, then into the flour mixture. Shake off any excess flour. Fry in the hot oil until the flour turns golden brown, about 4 minutes. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Serve hot. (Recipe from