4 Meals for 8 people: 1 Ham: Pink Bean Soup

Real life happenings.  A few weeks ago ham went on sale for 98 cents a pound so I bought a twelve pound ham. I put it in the freezer until the weather got colder. I thawed the meat in a large pot. I covered the ham with water and simmered it for a few hours.

An hour and a half before I wanted to serve the meal, I sent one of my boys to go pick a cabbage from the garden. Meanwhile , the other boys and myself cut the bad spots off the potatoes, and cut them in half. We added the potatoes to the simmering broth and then the cabbage a little later. My husband and two older boys came home. As soon as the potatoes were cooked, I served supper.

The next afternoon, we did almost the same thing. We heated up the leftover broth and ham. Adding more water as needed. Then about an hour and a half before supper, my son peeled more potatoes and cut them in half. My other son picked a cabbage, washed it, cut it in half. The cabbage is added about half an hour before supper is expected to be ready. Same warm, nourishing meal is served. After the broth cooled and before we put the broth away, I removed the bones from the ham and some of the fat from the ham.

Again we put away the leftover broth and ham. There are a few potatoes left in the broth but most of the cabbage is gone. The third day, I get out two bags of pink beans. I rinse the beans and place them in a pot with eight cups of water. I bring the mixture to a boil. Then boil the water and habichuelas rosadas for about an hour. Let them cool for about two hours. Drain the water and add to the leftover broth and ham. While the broth was still cool, I cut up the remaining potatoes into bite size pieces. Simmer the broth and the beans for two more hours. Add garlic powder and some kosher salt. Another meal: same twelve pound ham. Everyone seemed happy with the meal.

There is still a half gallon of soup leftover. Four meals for eight people from a twelve pound ham. This way of cooking saves much time too.  If I can do it, so can you!

Double Your Counter Space

Do you lack enough space to fit more than a load or two of recently canned food on your counter? I know canning a large amount of food is hard work and requires quite a bit of clean-up. Many experienced canning people try to get as much canning done in a day as possible in order to minimize the amount of time spent cleaning up and the amount of time they are stuck in the kitchen.

Use this trick to double your space on the counter. First fill the space you have on your counter with the jars you have canned so far wrapped in an old towel to keep them nice and cozy. Place the bottom half of an old towel on a large tray while the next batch is in the canner or boiling water bath. Place the tray on top of the towel that is on top of the canned goods. When they are ready, remove the jars from the pot, and place them on top of the towel on the tray. Use the top half of the towel to cover the jars when they are all unloaded from the canner. Keep adding jars until you are finished or the tray is full.

Set a tray with a towel on it on top of the jars already removed from the canner.

Make sure the jars are balanced as you add them to the tray.

Cover all the jars to keep them warm until they return to room temperature. Once at room temperature the jars can be wiped clean and put away.

Many of the women who I have helped to learn to can or just encouraged to can, say they have such a wonderful sense of accomplishment when they have all those goodies stored away in the cellar. In Biblical times they stored oil, but people who can in the present are able to store away: salsa, fruits, tomato sauce, juice, sauerkraut and many other treats!