any one remember how?

tangrene(7)September 5, 2012

Hi, I grew up hearing about how my grandmother put up food before they had electricity at their farm circa 30's and 40's and 2 things in particular I have wondered about.

She was sort of famous for having "fresh" green beans put up in a crock that she saved for the holidays. It was such a treat to have something green and fresh for dinner that it made an impression on my Dad. I'm not sure if she even had a canner...but she was half Cherokee so it might be something she learned growing up.

She put down a layer of green beans and then salt then layered them to top of crock and covered some way or other, probably a cloth and put in the root/storm shelter. This was at their New Mexico farm.

Anyone remember this? My dad didn't remember if she drained the crock or not but it sounds like she used a lot of salt cause the green beans he said were "fresh".

He also told me she used to FRY chicken and rabbits to put up and layered them in crocks or possibly a barrel (per his memory) with HOT LARD then covered with lard to seal off. I assume the principle of this is that the lard formed an air tight environment. I don't know how you'd classify this practice. Would the "fried" meat be "cured" by some sort of biological action while under the lard?

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tangrene, the meat would be similar to a "confit", a method in which a meat, usually something like duck, is cooked, then covered with the rendered fat creating an airtight seal. I've been told that a confit will keep up to 6 months refrigerated, so I can see how it would be a "root cellar" type of item used before today's modern freezers, etc.

The green beans I don't know about. We've always packed sauerkraut, which is simply cabbage and salt, and Grandma didn't can or freeze it, it stayed in a crock in the cellar all winter and we used it as needed. It's definitely fermented, though, and it doesn't sound like your green beans were.


    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 11:28AM
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I should clarify that although I'm told that confit will last 6 months in the refrigerator, I haven't tried that and I don't think I'm going to!


    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 11:29AM
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This is from the website. I've used it and it works, the texture is similar to fresh. The website claims this works with just about any fresh vegetable. I keep the crock in my root cellar which is about 60 degrees in the winter.

Green Beans in a Salt Pot

� Green beans
� Table salt
� An earthenware or stoneware pot or wooden barrel
Use only young and tender green beans, preserving them as you harvest them. Using the following method, they taste as good as fresh ones, and much better than frozen ones. Another great advantage: You don�t have to prepare all the beans in one day.

Put some salt in the bottom of a clean container (an earthenware or stoneware pot, or a wooden barrel). Fine table salt is best, but coarse salt will do.

Quickly wash and dry the beans. Remove the stems and the strings. Put a layer of beans in the container, packing them down carefully but firmly with a wooden stick or a bottle.

As you harvest additional beans from your garden, continue adding salt and beans in alternating layers until the container is full. Cover the container and store it in a cool place. Eventually, a brine will form, soaking the beans. Do not discard this brine�it�s the essential ingredient in the preservation process�but from time to time remove any film that has appeared on the surface.

When winter comes, use the beans as you need them. Rinse first in cold water for five minutes; then soak for two hours (not longer). Cook as usual.


    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 2:57PM
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Wow...thank you so much for that info. I do not plan to try putting up meat in lard as it isn't necessary today with electricity...BUT it might be a useful thing if TSHTF and the gas runs out for the generator. LOL! Of course then you;d have to deal with the lard issue...and if you don't butcher a pig you probably won't have enough rendered lard on hand to do this. Speaking of fresh works pretty good for new mothers who get engorged breast and can't get the milk to flow. Can you spell RELIEF? It has to be fresh lard for some reason.

I DO HOWEVER WANT TO TRY SALTING THE GREEN BEANS for my Daddy one day just because of his memories of his Mom. I know there is little need for it as a preservation tool now days with our well house/pantry where we store all our food at our bug out location. I like the idea that you can pick and add to the crock as you go. Definitely a low fuel option if one has to depend on a generator during times without the power grid.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 3:15PM
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skeip: do you have a direct link to that recipe for beans in a salt crock at the chelsea green web site. I went there and didn't see any recipes to speak of...but a lot of books and commentary. The reason I asked here about it is when I searched google for salted green beans in a crock I got pages of sites for how to cook green beans in a crock pot...NOT the same thing clearly. SOOOO I put in the term you mentioned in the recipe "green beans in a salt crock" and I got 1 link to someone that was trying salted green beans in a crock...the rest were crock pot cooked green beans.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 3:38PM
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Here's the link:

If it doesn't work , in your general search line type in "salt preserved green beans". It should give you a list of sites, one of which will say something about 4 ways to preserve green beans, and is the Chelsea link.


    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 12:27PM
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Thanks Steve, isn't it strange how you can type in almost the same keywords and get something else than you intend? I think the key word I was missing was the PRESERVED part using salt, crock, fresh green beans, etc and got nothing but 1 link that was from some blog where she was "trying" the tech out and there was no followup on how it worked for her.

ANYWAY,...I am reading the link while waiting for my canner to heat up so I can put up MORE plums tonight while it is cooler. No rest for the the gal who will pick anything free...LOL!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 10:33PM
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There are a ton of free books for the Kindle (or the kindle apps) and many of them are books from earlier times dealing with running households, recipes, etc. I have downloaded about all of them and while I wouldn't use the old methods for a lot of things it sure does make for some interesting reading. I've found some useful info too, like old time measurements. Ever hear of using a teacup of something or an egg of butter? I've been meaning to try out a recipe or two. Maybe I'll do that this weekend. The title of this thread reminded me of the books. I think you all would find them interesting if you haven't already found them.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 10:38PM
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Sounds like fermented pickled beans with a lot of salt. You would do well to add some spring water (not tap water) in addition to what the salt leaches from the beans. After 2-4 weeks on the counter, fermented pickles keep well in a cellar or in the fridge.

To avoid much film on the top, fill a Ziploc bag with water and use it to cover the crock. You want to keep the vegetables below the water line when it forms, as the lactic acid in the water is what preserves the vegetables.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 12:37AM
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I misspoke a bit: the lactic acid takes care of longer-term preservation and keeps the undesirable bacteria count low. The salt is of course an important preservative

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 12:45AM
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tgmayfield, this is not a fermentation. The salt concentration is very near to 100% and consequently is almost biologically inactive. That is what preserves the beans. The water that is leached out of the beans by the salt is inconsequential, it is the salt that preserves the beans, the brine is secondary.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 6:27PM
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jackieblue: I collect old cook books as space I am tickled to hear that I can download some free ones(takes up less space on my bookcase...LOL). I do have a cookbook that says Butter the size of an egg as one of the ingredients. If you find the Martha Washington Sweet is well worth the effort making them. Her mincemeat was fantastic if hard to make if you don't have your own butcher. I was lucky enough to have fresh beef suet from my beef so I made enough for 2 years of pies. I loss that cookbook back in the 70's and wish I still had it.

As far as the salt preserved green beans: I have to agree that the technique my grandmother used was not fermented beans and they were whole beans that she added to crock or barrel minus whatever she prepared fresh for their summer meals. I wonder when she used a wood barrel if the brine leaked out and left a dry packed product?

tgmayfield : You mentioned using spring water instead of tap water....I assume that well water would be same. That is something I didn't think I will bring fresh well water home from the farm and boil it before using. I usually filter my tap water at my home which is where I do most of my canning now that my Mom and Dad are not able to can for themselves with my help.

I much prefer to can at their place where the fruit trees are...but now that they don't keep a garden it is just easier to do it at home where I can do things MY way instead of their way. I swear I don't know how they can even cook with only a few cooking/canning tools that they have had since I was a kid. LOL! Dull knives and cutting veggies on china plates is not my idea of a good canning experience...but it works for them I guess. I have to have my gadgets. And lest you wonder why I haven't bought my elderly parents good knives and cutting boards...well I HAVE...they just prefer to look at them them and cover the cutting board with things.

I'm 50 something and my folks still tell me how to do things the old way. Today I tried to throw out their dozens and dozens of QT's of plums that are 10+ years old and full of bubbles...YIKES! Guess I'll have to go raid the well house when they go to Texas for the winter and toss all that old stuff with bubbles and deal with their displeasure later.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 9:42PM
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