Green Beans: The Joy of Canning

The sweetest and most wonderful thing just happened. Last Saturday I was at the Farmers Market with my mom. I had just finished buying a 3 pound bag of green beans. I absolutely love green beans and I will go to an all-you-can-eat buffet just for the green beans. I usually end up having a whole plate of just green bean, although I must confess I’ve had two plates before. So I had just finished buying my green beans, and was going to leave when I overheard a conversation with a little white haired lady talking to the farmer’s boys about buying a bushel of green beans. She says she really wants to can but then says she can’t afford the bushel. I asked her why she wanted the green beans, she said she loved to can and she just wanted something to do. I ask them how much a bushel of green beans cost? They say a bushel of green beans was about 30 pounds. Or $40.

I turned to the little old lady and asked her if I bought the green beans would she can them for me? And she lit up like nobody’s business just radiating joy from her toes out the top of her head. She turned to a man that was standing behind her who turned out to be her son and she said, “can I do that?” in an incredulous voice.

He said, “Do you want to?”

She said, “Yes I really want to!! ”

So I asked her, how do you want to work this out? she said, well, you buy the green beans, I’ll can them and then we’ll split them. She said a bushel of green beans would be about 24 quarts.

She started going into detail how she was going to can them. We compared canning technique, as I like to can tomatoes. She told me about how many kids she had to raise and that canning was a necessity to feed so many kids.

My mom walked up about then and the two of them talked about that they lost their husbands on the same month although different years. And she asked my mom do you can any? My mom says no, although we did dry a lot of food we never really canned as it seemed like a lot of work.

Then the little old lady started worrying about how I’d be able to get them or pick them up as she lived about a half hour away. She started describing where she lived and said can you figure out how to get there. I gave her son my business card thinking that honestly that was the end of it, thinking I wouldn’t hear from them again, but not worrying about it because the joy and pleasure of giving this lady the green beans was just amazing.

Today her son gave me a call and said he wanted to meet halfway and give me the green beans. When we met up, he said with a huge smile that his mom had all the green beans prepped that afternoon after being at the Farmers Market and all of them canned by the next day. He thanked me profusely. He said that’s the first time in a couple years since his dad had died that he saw his mom smiling so much. That she was sorry she couldn’t be there but she had to go to Oklahoma to be with her other son who had some health issues. And that if I wanted any more green beans she would gladly can more. So although I have a box of jars of the most delicious green beans, for me they are jars the most delicious love

Aur Beck has lived completely off-grid for over 35 years. He has traveled with his family through 24 states and 14,000 recorded miles by horse-drawn wagon. Aur is a presenter at The Climate Reality Project, a fellow addict at Oil Addicts Anonymous International and a talk show co-host at WDBX Community Radio for Southern Illinois 91.1 FM. Find him on the Living Off Grid, Really!?!?Facebook page, and read all of Aur’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.