Canning time


Once again we are in the middle of the wonderful season known as canning season. My yellow and green beans seem to be quite prolific this year.

I tried planting them a bit differently this year. I usually do the square foot method – a 4×4 foot square with each  1×1 foot square having 9 plants. I love this method as once the beans are big they tend to squeeze out the weeds….and I really do not like weeding in the humid summer weather.

This year I did a 2 foot wide row. I have found it is so much easier to reach all the way to the middle..much easier than a 4 foot wide row.  (This width still gives me that canopy that squeezes out the weeds.) I am wondering if that is also why I have a lot more beans on those plants this year?

This past week I did not pay quite enough attention to my produce picking and discovered that some of those beans had gotten quite large. Years ago my Grandma taught us to not let those large beans go to waste. She had a wonderful gizmo which she called a snijboontje cutter. Basically, it turned the large beans into french cut beans and made them useful again.

Grandma’s bean cutter was the only one in the family and so it dutifully made the rounds during bean canning season. I remember the aunts asking to use it and once the grandkids grew up and gardened it was passed around to that generation.

When Grandma sold her house, years ago and moved to a nursing home no one could remember who had her bean cutter. I am still not sure where it ended up. As her cutter was no longer an option, I found one of my own while on a vacation to the Black Hills several years ago.

For some reason, every time I use my bean cutter it brings Grandma to mind. Her lessons of thrift and using everything have been ingrained into my gardening and canning. I find it hard to toss food if it can be used in another way or another recipe. Fortunately for me…my chickens never let anything go to waste!!

I also had the thought that our lives are a lot like a garden and canning. Sometimes the produce isn’t exactly what we had hoped for. Those beans have rust spots, bug holes or just plain get too large to use in the way you want.

It is a consolation to me that even when our lives have problems, there is always something God can do with us. Like my over large beans getting run through a bean cutter…God can take our lives and circumstances and make them useful in another way. It is not always comfortable getting run through that “bean cutter” but it sure does turn  something less than perfect into something He can use.

I wonder if I love gardening and canning so much because it brings back so many memories…those lessons of thrift from Grandma and the way she taught them? I also wonder if I love it because it reminds me that God can use anything in my life for His purposes…..either way… is a wonderful time of year.


Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go;
they merely determine where you start.
Nido Qubein

Read more at:


42 thoughts on “Canning time

  1. Margy says:

    I love the story about the family bean cutter!
    We have a family Swedish thinbread roller. It left my kitchen a few years ago – adopted by our middle daughter who has taught her sons how to do the rolling and baking. Great news, because it isn’t an easy job.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Margy says:

        In our family, it is mostly flour, cream of wheat and buttermilk. I think the recipe varies with each family! We roll it very thin, then use a couple different rollers to make little holes in it. Our special roller is a handmade one that consists of wood rollers with metal pins sticking out of them. We bake it on cookie sheets. We serve it with soft butter. Some would say the purpose of thin bread is to deliver the butter. My favourite pieces are the ones that got just a bit browner than the others, but not too brown… I will have to blog about it one day.

        This is the closest to describing it:

        Liked by 2 people

  2. susieshy45 says:

    The Snijbottjie cutter is such a useful tool- I wish I had one- because we have a French beans recipe for which this gizmo would be so handy. You mentioned you purchased one at Black Hills? Is that a site ?
    Also, I loved the post as I think I am going through the Snijbootjie cutter right now- I am a little old, a little grey, somewhat out of shape and seemingly of no use to society- even though I know deep down there is a lot of use in me yet. If only someone would see that use and put me to use. What a great lesson- that the Snijbootjie cutter is held by God and even though we are as the beans, we can yet be moulded and put to use, someway, some place, sometime.
    What recipes do you create with the beans ?
    Meaning, what did you do with so much beans ?
    Loved the idea of the 2 foot bean sowing regimen too .

    Liked by 1 person

    • thechickengrandma says:

      Hello Susie. The Black Hills is an area located in South Dakota along the west border. (It is where Mr. Rushmore is located) On that particular vacation we went to an antique store and I found my bean cutter. I wonder if you can purchase them on Amazon?
      I am so glad this post made sense and was helpful. I am also glad that God takes the time to point out those lessons through everyday stuff like bean cutters.
      In this area there is a recipe called tator tot hot dish that uses the french cut beans. It is a layer of browned hamburger, then a layer of the beans that are mixed with a can of cream of mushroom soup, and topped with a layer of tator tots. Bake in oven and it tastes great. There is also a bean casserole that people make that has crunchy onion rings on top. In general they are really useful for a variety of casseroles as they do not take long to back because they are skinny.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Timelesslady says:

    What a great gadget for frenching the beans. My sister has a large garden and I will have to mention this to her. I like to use everything and am often appalled at what gets wasted. Maybe one day I will have some chickens…I would love to use everything…always.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. bcparkison says:

    Well I knew you were busy and that was why we haven’t heard from you in blog land. A farmers wife is always busy and a garden doesn’t wait for anyone. I can almost smell the wood burning and the winter meals coming from your kitchen. Makes me wish I lived next door. Hang in there …fall is coming with more to do. LOL Love you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thechickengrandma says:

      Hahahaha Beverly……fall is coming with more to do. You have hit it right on the head. I think gardening is just kind of preparing me for the harvest busyness to come.
      Last week kind of got aways from me with blogging….one day it was Monday and before I knew it…it was Saturday! I am never quite sure how that happens.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Anne Mehrling says:

    I love the harvest season — picking beans, the canning, preserving, storing long rows of jars in the cellar — as long as it takes place in your house and not mine. I admire all that you do and am grateful you don’t require me to imitate you. I agree with your God-thoughts and wish I could come up with such lovely devotionettes.

    Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        It is a job well done. My mom used to talk about her parents canning and putting up chili sauce when she was young. This was both green tomato relish and red tomato relish which they would just slather on fried eggs, or just on toast. My mom did not do canning, and she missed that chili sauce and once I was in the Honey Baked Ham store … we used to get the smallest ham (maybe a 1/4 … it’s been awhile) for us at Christmas time and I spied this chili sauce on the shelf. Got a couple of bottles of it – she said it tasted like her mom and grandmother made so I used to get her a case of it (they were small bottles) for Christmas and Mother’s Day and birthday, kind of like a gag gift.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Ame says:

    this is so beautiful. i get hung up, a lot, on what could have been if … . and i have to shake myself up and remind me of all that God has done despite the ‘if’ never happening. there’s beauty in these ashes. sometimes i’m blinded to it, and sometimes i have to look closer or with a different lens. and sometimes i just have to stop wishing for what isn’t there so i can see what is. these are things i struggle with a lot.

    – – –

    i have never had a garden … or grown food … or canned anything. i’ve always thought that’d be really cool, though. i do not have a green thumb – growing things tend to die under my care. but i have this thought buried in there that if i had a realistic opportunity, i might actually be able to figure it out … someday 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • thechickengrandma says:

      Thank you for commenting Ame! I am like you….I get so tangled up in the “what ifs” and the If onlys” that I forget to look ahead and live. I guess I should take the advice I used to give to my boys. “Don’t keep thinking about the what ifs….because it isn’t really living, takes to much energy and leaves no room for the future,”
      I also have a feeling you would do just fine gardening! I know when it comes to houseplants I am best off growing cactus…you can forget to water those and they keep living. When it comes to garden plants you just put them in the ground and let God do the watering!


  7. peggyjoan42 says:

    I like the taste of home grown canned vegetables. Use to can every year. I used my mother-in-law’s old pressure cooker (an antique).. Using her canner always made me think of her. Canning is not something I do too often anymore. Canning truly is a lot of work. Good post Faye.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s