Vegetables of the fourth group, which include those which cannot well be classified in the other groups, lend themselves readily to combinations, such as succotash, that make for variety in food. As is true of the other vegetables, special vegetables must be fresh and sound if good results in canning are expected.
For canning, only tender beans, whether Lima or some other variety, should be chosen. Prepare them for immediate canning by shelling them—that is, taking them from the pods—blanching them for 5 to 10 minutes in boiling water, and then cold-dipping them quickly. Pack the jars to within 1/2 inch of the top, add 1 teaspoonful of salt to each jar, and fill the jars with boiling water. Adjust the covers and proceed to sterilize and cook them. In the water bath, boil for 2 1/2 to 3 hours; in the pressure cooker, cook for 1 1/2 hours at a pressure of 5 pounds or for 1 hour at a pressure of 10 pounds.
For canning purposes, only corn that is young and milky should be selected. Get it ready for canning by husking it and removing the silk. Then blanch it for 3 to 5 minutes in boiling water and cold-dip it quickly. Cut the kernels half way down to the cob and scrape out what remains after cutting. For best results in this operation, hold the ear of corn so that the butt end is up; then cut from the tip toward the butt, but scrape from the butt toward the tip. Next, pack the jars tightly with the corn, pressing it into them with a wooden masher. Unless two persons can work together, however, cut only enough corn for one jar and fill and partly seal it before cutting more. As corn swells in the cooking, fill each jar to within 1/2 inch of the top. The milk in the corn should fill all spaces between the kernels, provided there are any, but if it does not, boiling water may be poured in. Add 1 teaspoonful of salt to each jarful of corn and adjust the jar lids. Boil for 3 hours in the water bath; but, if the pressure cooker is to be used, cook for 1 1/2 hours at a pressure of 5 pounds or for 1 hour at a pressure of 10 pounds.
Corn on the cob may be canned in the same way if desired, but as only three small ears can be put into a quart jar, this would seem to be a waste of space and labor. If corn on the cob is to be canned, 2-quart jars will prove more convenient than 1-quart jars.
Peas for canning should be well formed and tender, and they should be canned as soon as possible after coming from the garden. Proceed by washing the pods and shelling the peas. Blanch the shelled peas for 5 to 10 minutes in live steam, and cold-dip them quickly. Pack the peas into the jars, having them come to within 1/2 inch from the top, add 1 teaspoonful of salt to each jarful, and fill the jars with boiling water. Then adjust the jar lids and proceed according to directions for the method selected. In the water bath, boil for 2 or 3 hours; in the pressure cooker, cook for 1 1/2 hours at a pressure of 5 pounds or for 1 hour at a pressure of 10 pounds.
The canning of pumpkin and squash is advisable when there is any possibility of their not keeping until they can be used. Prepare either of these vegetables for canning by first peeling it and cutting the edible part into inch cubes. Blanch these cubes for 10 to 15 minutes in live steam and cold-dip them quickly. Pack the jars as full as possible, and add 1 teaspoonful of salt to each jar, but no water. After adjusting the jar lids, boil the jars of food for 1 1/2 hours in the water bath, or cook them for 1 hour at a pressure of 5 pounds or for 40 minutes at a pressure of 10 pounds in the pressure cooker. When finished, the jars will be found to be only about half full, but the contents will keep perfectly.
If desired, pumpkin or squash may first be cooked as if preparing it for use and then put into the jars for processing.
Of course, succotash is not a vegetable, but the name of a food that results from combining corn and beans. These vegetables may be canned together to make for variety in the winter's food supply, or each may be canned separately and combined later. Clean the ears of corn in the manner previously directed; then blanch them for 5 minutes and cold-dip them. Also, remove green Lima beans from the pods, blanch them for 10 minutes, and cold-dip them. Then cut and scrape the corn off the cobs and mix it with an equal quantity of the beans. Pack the mixture into the jars to within 1/2 inch of the top, add a teaspoonful of salt to each jarful, and fill the jars with boiling water. Adjust the jar tops and proceed according to the directions for the process to be employed. In the water bath, boil for 2 hours; in the pressure cooker, cook for 50 minutes at a pressure of 5 pounds or for 35 minutes at a pressure of 10 pounds.
As has been stated, tomatoes may be canned successfully by the open-kettle method. If this method is to be employed, the first part of the preparation is exactly the same as for the cold-pack method, except that the jars, jar tops, and jar rubbers must be carefully sterilized.
For canning, firm tomatoes should be selected if possible, as they will keep their shape better than those which are very ripe. If some are soft, they should be sorted out and canned for soup making or made into catsup. After washing the tomatoes, proceed to blanch them. The length of time required for blanching depends entirely on the condition of the tomatoes. They should be blanched for 1 to 3 minutes, or just long enough to loosen the skin. After blanching, dip them quickly into cold water and remove the skins. These, it will be found, may be removed easily and quickly. Pack the tomatoes thus prepared tightly into jars and fill them with boiling water, boiling tomato juice, or stewed tomatoes. Add a teaspoonful of salt to each jar. Then adjust the jar lids and proceed according to the directions given for the method selected. Boil for 22 minutes in the water bath; in the pressure cooker, cook for 15 minutes at a pressure of 5 pounds or for 10 minutes at a pressure of 10 pounds.
If there are soft tomatoes at hand or if tomatoes are canned by the open-kettle method, quantities of tomato juice will be available. Such material as this may be put through a sieve and boiled down for winter use in the making of soups, bisques, etc. It may be canned simply by pouring the boiling juice into sterilized jars and sealing them immediately.
An excellent food combination results from combining stewed tomatoes with corn. Such a combination may be canned safely by either the open-kettle or the cold-pack method. The acid of the tomatoes helps to keep the corn, but the combination requires longer cooking than just plain tomatoes. Prepare each vegetable as for canning separately, but, if desired, cut the tomatoes into pieces. Mix the two foods in any desirable proportion and, for the cold-pack canning method, put the food into the jars. Add 1 teaspoonful of salt to each jarful, but no water. Then adjust the jar lids, and proceed to sterilize and cook the jars of food. In the water bath, cook them 1 1/2 hours; in the pressure cooker, cook them for 50 minutes at a pressure of 5 pounds or for 35 minutes at a pressure of 10 pounds.