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Canning peas allows you to enjoy your harvest all year long, and nothing tastes better than home grown. But fresh ones are only available for a short time in the spring and maybe again in the fall.
For the rest of the year, when the weather doesn't permit growing them, you'll have to settle for canned or frozen, which, although they aren't as good as fresh are still pretty good. Here's how to go about preserving peas using the cold pack canning method.
After you have shelled your peas, you need to wash them to remove any remaining soil and other stuff that you won't want to eat. Wash jars, lids and rings. Set aside jars and rings to air dry, and place lids in a saucepan with enough water to cover them, and bring to a gentle boil. Bring a large sauce pot of water to a boil.
After peas have been washed, place them in the canning jars. make sure to leave about 1 inch of head space.
Add 1 teaspoon of canning salt to each pint or two teaspoons to each quart. Do not use regular table salt.
Add enough boiling water to just cover the peas.
Wipe the jar rims with a clean damp cloth or paper towel to remove any contaminants that may interfere with the sealing process. Something as small as a grain of sand could create a problem.
Place the assembled lids and rings onto the jars to hand tightness - as tight as you can put them with just using your hands.
Put about two to three inches of water in your canner, and bring to a rolling boil.
Place the jars into the canner and arrange them so that the jars don't touch one another
Make sure to follow your owner's manual for sealing, venting and bringing your canner to pressure.
Process both pints and quarts for 40 minutes at 10 psi.
After 40 minutes have passed, remove canner from heat, and allow pressure to drop off naturally. Do NOT remove canner lid until all pressure has gone.
Once pressure had dropped to zero in the canner, remove the lid and remove your jars of canned peas. Set them aside on a towel or clean cloth to cool and seal.
Once jars have cooled, make sure that they have all sealed by gently pushing on the lid. If any of them make a "plinking" noise, they didn't seal properly, and should be refrigerated and eaten within a few days. Pressure canned foods that don't seal are rare, but if you do get one, think of it as a chance to sample your work.
To avoid any confusion later and to assure that you use the oldest foods first, make sure to label the jar lids with what's in the jars, and at least the year that it was canned.
Peas like most canned foods will keep for a long time. Although it is best to plan to use them with in a year, they will keep for much longer.
Canning and preserving your own fresh grown produce is healthier and usually less expensive than buying the same foods at the grocery. Learning how to grow and preserve your own food can give you a level of independence and self sufficiency that most others aren't able to achieve.