Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ham and beans

Just because I haven't posted doesn't mean we haven't been busy.  Why, last week I canned 13 pints and 1 half-pint of ham plus 14 quarts of pinto beans with broth from the bone and trimmings.

I bought the ham in a pre-Christmas sale with the intention of canning it.  I discovered we liked canned ham as well as when the extra is frozen and I don't have to worry about freezer burn or freezer space when it's canned. Baked ham is great when it's just prepared and we like ham sandwiches, of course, but ham is something I use in small amounts for cooking.  When layered in scalloped potatoes and macaroni and cheese or included in a frittata, a cup or so of ham goes a long way.  Half-pint jars would have been plenty big for most uses but that's not a size I had available.  So I used pints and probably will be forced to make ham salad with the extra each time I open a jar.  (Forced?!  Hah!  A little ham salad on crackers is a perfect quick lunch.  And I guess I'll share if I have to.)

As for the beans, I had planned to make ham broth with the bone and trimmings from the ham and then can it.  But when I thought about it, the ham broth would be used to cook dried beans.  So I thought why not go the next step? 

After carving the hot ham, I put the ham bone, skin and usual trimmings in a big stockpot and covered it with water.  I also threw in one of the bags of vegetable parings (carrot peels, onion skins, and celery trimmings) which I had collected in the freezer.  Let that simmer for several hours and then strained it.  Cooled the ham broth in order to remove the layer of fat that always rises to the top and brought it back to a boil.  Filled quart jars with 1-1/8 cups dried pinto beans which I'd sorted and rinsed to clean.  Then filled the jars to the 1" mark with the boiling ham broth.  (Added a small amount of plain boiling water to two jars as I ran out of ham broth before all the jars were filled.)  Processed the jars in the pressure canner for 90 minutes and now I have 14 quarts of ready-to-eat pintos on the shelf. 


Karen said...

What a great idea! What kind of ham did you begin with?

Carolyn at Walnut Spinney said...

Hi, Karin -- thanks for stopping by!

I used an ordinary semi-boneless ham, a western ham as opposed to a country ham. I think the brand-name was Cumberland Gap and it weighed about 14 pounds.

It's very nice to have on the shelf when I'm in a hurry for dinner! I don't care for it's texture when sliced directly on a regular sandwich but it makes a nice chopped BBQ sandwich or works well as an ingredient in a dish or for ham salad.

dale said...

I am new to your blog, 2 questions
how do you can ham? and what is your recipe for ham salad.
could you email answers to me at
very good blog. luv it!

Carolyn at Walnut Spinney said...

Thanks for the nice comment, Dale!

You weren't the only one to ask me about canning ham so I'll put up a post first thing tomorrow with the directions and my recipe for ham salad.