Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Canning Peas, Recipes & Their Nutritional Value

Canning Peas, Recipes & Their Nutritional Value

By Jalapeno Gal77 via APN

5As many know, I am into the art of canning food for our food storage pantry.  My latest venture is canning peas.  I see a lot of articles out there about canning pea soup, but hardly any on canning the actual peas for later use and consumption.  Botanically speaking, the pea pod is a fruit since it contains seeds from the ovary of a flower.  In our cooking world however, it is a vegetable.  Aside from being rich in protein they are also high in vitamins and minerals.  Here are some of the nutritional benefits of the pea according to Lifestyle,

Health & Nutrition Benefits of Eating Green Peas
  • Being low in calories, green peas are good for those who are trying to lose weight.
  • Green peas are rich in dietary fiber, making them good for those suffering from constipation.
  • Studies have indicated that green peas might prove beneficial for those suffering from the problem of high cholesterol.
  • The high amount of iron and vitamin C in green peas has been found to help strengthen the immune system.
  • The lutein present in green peas helps reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
  • Green peas slow down the appearance of glucose in the blood and thus, help keep the energy levels steady.
  • Green peas have been found to aid energy production, nerve function and carbohydrate metabolism.
  • Green peas provide the body with those nutrients that are important for maintaining bone health.
  • The folic acid and vitamin B6 in green peas are good for promoting the cardiovascular health of an individual.
  • Being rich in antioxidants, like vitamin C, green peas can help keep cancer at bay.
Green peas can be prepared in a variety of different ways or recipes.  The most common is to boil them and add butter and salt.  They are also used in soups, casseroles, rice or mashed. (Green Pea Recipes.)

Ingredients and canning supplies needed;
  • Fresh Peas:  You can grow them yourself all winter or you can buy them fresh in the store.  ( 30 pounds = 1 bushel and yields 13-20 quarts / 14 pounds = 7 quarts / 9 pounds = 9 quarts )
  • Ball or Kerr Jars; these can be picked up at your local Wal-mart, Lowes etc…
  • Canning Supplies kit
  • Pressure Canner, not to be confused with a water canner.  Most vegetables have low acid and always need to be pressure canned verses water canned.  Water canning is for high acidic foods.  My personal favorite and among canners is the All-American brand pressure canners. While they are a little more expensive they are definitely worth it and have lasted lifetimes, being passed down from grandmothers to daughters for decades.  Another brand I see used frequently is Presto. (I have no personal experience with this brand.)  If you plan to can your foods on a regular basis then a pressure canner is worth the investment.
  • Large boiling pot
  • Ladles and a large spoon
  • Salt (optional)

Steps to canning your peas;
1.)  Preparing your supplies:
  • Wash your jars and lids.  You can do this using the sanitize cycle of your dish washer and leaving them in there until ready for use.  If you do not have a dishwasher, then place your jars in a pot of water and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.  I put the lids and rings in a smaller pot so I can easily lift them out with the magnetic lid lifter.  (The lid lifter comes in the canning supply kit listed above, but if you do not have one you can purchase one here.)
  • Get the largest pot you have and fill it with water.  Turn on heat to bring to a boil.  This water will be used to pour over the peas once you pack them into the jar.
  • Rinse your pressure canner out well and place the rack in it.  Add 2-4 inches of water in the bottom unless your manual says otherwise.  (Note:  You should always follow any instructions that came with your pressure cooker for your own safety, no matter what anyone says.)  Place your canner on the stove over low-medium heat to get the water hot and ready for canning.
2.)  Preparing your peas:
    canning peas 1
  • Wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Hulling your peas:  Using your thumb nail, press it between the seam of the pod and it usually opens right up allowing you to push the pea out with your finger.
  • Raw pack your peas into each jar.  ‘Raw packing’ is when you do not cook the food before putting it into your jars.  When you cook it first, it is referred to as “hot packing.” Pack the peas tight into the jar leaving a 1 inch head space for expansion.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to pints and 1 teaspoon per quart. (optional)
  • Using your ladle, pour your hot, boiled water into the jars, again, leaving a one inch head space.  The peas should be completely covered.  Take extra care in this process to not burn yourself with the water or the jar.  Both will be extremely hot.
  • Wipe the rims clean with a paper towel or dry cloth.
  • Use your magnetic lid lifter to get a lid and put it on each jar one at a time.  Then screw the ring down finger tight.
  • Using you jar lifter; place the jars into the pressure canner carefully.  If the water has boiled down to less than 3 inches then add more hot water.  Once all your jars are in, place the lid on and lock it in place.
  • Do not add the weight gauge at this time.  You have to let the valve vent for ten minutes.
  • To vent your canner, turn the heat on high and once you have a steady stream of steam coming out of the valve then set the timer for ten minutes.  This process gets rid of all air that is in the cooker.
  • After the full 10 minutes, place the gauge on carefully and let the pressure build to 10 pounds of pressure.  (I usually hold the gauge with a dish towel so I don’t get burned by the steam.)  Set timer to 40 minutes for quarts or 40 minutes for pints/half pints.  (Refer to the manual your canner came with to adjust for altitude, links below.)
  • Once at 10 pounds of pressure, lower your heat until the gauge jiggles about 2-3 times per minute.  The gauge must maintain 10 pounds of pressure at all times.
  • After the timer dings, turn off the canner and let the gauge return to zero before attempting to open the lid or removing the valve.  (This is very important for your safety and those around you.)
  • Remove jar from the canner with your jar lifter and set on a towel to cool for 24 hours.  Do not shake them or bump them.  After 24 hours, test to make sure they sealed properly by pressing down on the center of the lid.  If it pops up and down then it did not seal and you will need to either re-process or put in the refrigerator to be eaten soon after. (within 3 days)
  • Label your jars with the date you canned the product.
Manuals:  Both Manuals contain instructions and recipes.
All-American Pressure Canner Manual
Presto Product Manuals

No matter what you can, always remember to have fun doing it!!!

Keepin It Spicy,
Jalapeño Gal