Canning Green Beans… and Cloth Napkins..

Green Beans
Early this week I was weeding and watering my garden and realized that my green beans were ready for their first picking. On Wednesday my boys and I went down to the garden in the morning and did our first picking. I was really shocked at how much I got! I have one row planted (a pretty long row at that).. and here is what we had after I got them all washed up and ready to be snapped…

My husbands request every year is 3 Bean Salad ( ). He loves it, and so do I. My kids are not crazy about it, but that just means more for him and me! LOL.. Before going down to the garden to pick beans I got my red beans and garbonzo beans cooked up and all my veggies prepared. Then Sierra and Isaac and I put on some zippy music and sat down to start snapping the beans. When that was done I made up the 3 bean salad. I ended up with 12 quarts of it. I still had tons of beans left so I canned up those too.. and ended up with 14 quarts of canned beans and enough still left for dinner. It was one very long, but oh so productive day….

Cloth Napkins
Well green beans from my garden and cloth napkins have nothing to do with each other, other than the fact that they are both part of a frugal life on my homestead.. But while I was taking a picture of my green beans on my dining room table I also took a picture of my little basket of cloth napkins (the basket, by the way, is from the Philippines, it was a gift to me from my sweet daughter in law)..

I absolutely love cloth napkins! I made my first bunch of them a few years ago. Since then I have made more as sometimes they are like socks.. you just never actually know what on earth happened to them.. ha, haa.. :) But regardless they are one of the best investments of time and money I have made to save money.

My little basket of napkins sits on my table ready to be used at each meal. I have a small basket on a shelf in my laundry room where we put the used ones and I wash them a couple times a week. I originally purchased much of the fabric for them from Walmart. Now that Walmart does not sell fabric I buy it at JoAnn’s. Even with the higher amount I pay for the fabric (gone are my $1 a yard fabric deals.. sigh..) I still find this to be a frugal thing to do. I can make 16 napkins from 1 ¼ yards of fabric.

I have some napkins that are several years old and still doing their job. I don’t buy paper napkins anymore (well not for our daily household use, I buy about 1 package from Costco every year and half or so and use them for spreading oil on my cast iron pans mostly) and at the rate my family goes through napkins every day it has saved me LOTS… If you want to see how I make them you can find the web page I made on this here:

That is all for now from my homestead! Hope you are having a great week!


  1. mercy, thats a lot of green beans!

    I love your 3 bean salad!

  2. You harvested a wonderful amount of green beans! :) Ours didn't do quite so well this year....but I have gotten some and they are all canned and stored away in the basement. :) Now I am working on peaches...yum!
    I hope you are having a lovely week!

  3. I enjoyed seeing about your canning. Around our house, I'm the only one who likes 3-bean salad. :) I also liked seeing about your cloth napkins - that is definitely something for me to think about doing - we use paper napkins a lot, and this may be a MUCH better (and frugal) way! "Sewing machine, here I come ..." Thanks for sharing!

  4. I tried to can my tomatoes but it is so much work and it heats the house so much, I think I am going to freeze. I still freeze my green beans, I don't have enough to can I think.

    I love the napkins and never had the idea, this is such a great idea!

  5. When you are driving around other areas check out the Walmarts. Some of them still have fabric. I find $1 a yard fabric constantly there. The craft departments are smaller than they used to be but you can still find a good deal.

  6. Thank you, so much! I only recently found your blog, but I have been a huge fan of The Family Homestead for about a year. You have blessed my family! I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your online ministry!


  7. Hi Crystal,
    I have been freezing corn like you do but now I wondered how long to cook it when we use it? Thanks. Nancy

  8. Yikes. Our local Wal-mart still carries fabric, but now I wonder for how long?
    I never thought of canning 3 bean salad. Great idea.

  9. angi@pascoalfamily.comAugust 14, 2010 at 10:47 AM

    great harvest. I remember you posting about those napkins before .I made some and we just love them .I have found when i go to the thrift store i pick up flannel sheets and cut those in to napkins.out of a queen sheet i got what seems like millions of napkins;)

  10. Love your napkin-basket idea! Thanks for posting directions on sewing cloth napkins--when things settle down here, I would like to try to make some. Do you also make your own placemats?

  11. Do you have a recommendation on what kinds of fabric work best for cloth napkins? I have been thinking about making some, but would like some experienced advice on fabric types.


  12. We have used cloth napkins for years, they are so much nice to use, and they just seem more civilized than paper napkins :)
    Our green beans did well this year, we put up about 50 quarts, plenty enough to last through to next summer. The tomatoes are now ready for harvest, so for the next week or so I will be canning like crazy!
    It is so satisfying to look at the finished product, all the jars of food canned in a day, it is very rewarding.
    I store a a variety of my home canned goods on a bookshelf in the dining room, the colors are very pleasing. I have received many compliments on the simple beauty of rows of colorful jars containing the prior years harvest!

  13. Yay for green beans! We've gotten 100 pints so far, and still have more to pick!! I have to tell you that I've been using cloth napkins for about 16 years and we're still using the original napkins I made way back then!! They've lasted that long! Some are getting a bit ragged, but are fine for use for just us. Talk about saving money!! I find most people think I've laid the fancy stuff out just for them when they see cloth napkins on the table!

  14. I make my own cloth napkins as well. I also have a basket that I keep mine in and they are all multi colored too! I used to use napkins for my cast iron pans too, but now I keep a small pastry brush in my utensil can and I just use that and then throw it in the sink to be washed.

  15. Cloth napkins are SO nice. Good for you! The ones we have I bought here and there at rock bottom prices. I really expect them to outlive me.

  16. I've never been a huge fan of 3 Bean Salad, but that could be because the only kind I've ever tried came from a bucket in the deli I work in. Lol
    We only use cloth napkins in our house too. I got a HUGE grocery bag of them from someone on Freecycle and the rest I got at Goodwill.

  17. You can also use a thrifted table cloth to make napkins. I can get a cotton table cloth for as little as 60 cents and it makes a ton of napkins.

  18. I love the thrifted table cloth idea to make napkins!!! Thanks for much for sharing that! :)


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