Call me a veggie snob – but I just don’t care for store bought canned veggies. I use the same ingredients when I make my own, but store veggies just don’t taste right. So I can my own vegetables! Green beans are the most popular veggie in our house so I thought I’d teach you how to can green beans.
Green beans are a fairly easy vegetable to grow. When you are planning your garden make sure to include some if only for fresh eating.
I always plant a bush variety because I’m too lazy to put up and tear down fence or a trellis for the climbing beans. Although, I had the privilege of picking climbing beans once. The people made a u-shape out of a hog panel and the beans made a tunnel I could walk through! It was by far the least back-breaking bean picking I’d ever done.
My husband and I both prefer canned green beans over frozen. I know there is some nutrient loss in the canning process, but I figure it’s better than not eating veggies at all…. Right?!
Canning is also a great space saver. You don’t have to keep a bulky freezer somewhere to hold all your beans. Plus, if you lose power, you don’t lose a ton of food!
How to Can Green Beans: Getting Started
Before you jump in to canning you will want to read my post about what you need to start canning. This will give you the preliminary list for gathering your supplies.
Beans are not acidic so you will need to can them in a pressure canner. Be sure to read my post on how to use a pressure canner, as well.
You will then need to source green beans. You can easily grow green beans in raised beds or check out a few methods for square foot gardening or city gardening. Otherwise check your farmer’s market! If you don’t see green beans the day you go, ask around for when they will be ready.[Around here beans are ready around the middle of July. But rain levels and planting zones will determine harvest time for your area.]
Get a CSA membership! Put in special requests for extra veggies (you’d like extra beans to can) at the time you purchase your membership.
If you are picking your own beans, make sure to wait until after bean plants are thoroughly dry. If you pick with the dew still on it will make the plants “rust” and die off.
Prepare the Green Beans
Now that you have oodles of green beans sitting around it’s time to get them cleaned up!
First, I find a movie to watch on my phone or I put on an audio book. Entertainment is the key to mundane task enjoyment!
Then, I snap my beans. I break off each end of the bean and then snap it into three or four bite-sized pieces.
Some people prefer to cut their beans. So instead of snapping you just lay five or so beans down own your cutting board and swipe your knife through. Mom always had me snapping when I was little so that’s what I still do.
After your green beans are the size you want them, fill the bowl of them with water and agitate the beans with your hands. This will rub off most of the dirt and old blossoms.
Then put the beans in a sieve by the handfuls. This way you can look at each handful you throw in the sieve and double check for dirt.
Fill the Jars
While the beans are draining you can make sure your jars are clean. Even if you are using brand new jars you will want to wash them. If you have time, load up your dishwasher and do them all at once. I’m usually not thinking that far ahead so I just wash mine by hand.
Then you can put a teaspoon of salt on top of each quart (1/2 a teaspoon for pints).
Lastly, you will fill each jar of beans to the neck with water.
Jump in the Hot Water
Now that your jars are filled you need to get them ready for the canner.
I don’t know that you will find this next step in any canning book (I’ve never read one) but it’s something my mom always taught me to do.
Dip your fingertip in water and run it around the rim of each jar. This serves two purposes: it cleans off any dust or salt that may be on the rim and it checks the rim for any cracks or chips.
The minute I skipped this step, I would have a jar come out of the canner not sealed because of a chip in the rim of the jar. Mom always finds you out…
Carefully pick each lid out of the boiled water and place them on the jars. Screw the rings on with a firm tightening but not a cranking.
Into the Canner
Place the jars of beans in the pressure canner. Pour enough water in the canner to come up an inch on the jars.
Set the lid on and turn to the “lock” position.
Set the jiggler on the canner and turn the heat on high.
Once the pressure canner has reached 10 pounds turn down the heat to maintain that pressure and set the timer for 20 minutes.
Keep adjusting the heat throughout the 20 minutes as needed to keep it at the 10 pound mark.
After 20 minutes, turn off the heat and let the canner sit until all the pressure has been released. This usually takes over half an hour. Gently touch to the jiggler with a hot pad to see if it hisses. If it hisses there is still pressure built up and you have to wait!
Once the pressure is released, take off the jiggler and carefully open the lid away from you.
Do not disturb the jars until they are completely cool. I like to let mine set overnight.
Storing Your Canned Green Beans
After your beans have completely cooled, remove the rings and wash them. If you don’t wash the rings they tend to rust quickly.
I like to wipe off the jars with a wet rag, as well. This isn’t necessary, but one year I was lazy and didn’t wash off my jars. A few months later mold started growing on the outsides of the jars. Yuck!
Any jars that didn’t seal properly keep in your fridge until you can eat them.
Too Few Green Beans to Can?
If you have just a few beans and don’t feel like canning a jar or two at a time, just put them in the fridge. I put my beans in a grocery bag and tie it off or in a bowl with a tight lid.
Or if you have all your beans snapped at 8pm and want to go to bed, just put the beans in a bowl with a tight lid in the fridge and can them when you have time.
Stored either whole or snapped, beans will last in the fridge for four or five days.
Now that You Know How to Can Green Beans
Green beans are a simple vegetable to begin canning. Now that you know how to can green beans you can venture on to canning lots of other fruits, veggies and meats!