Fresh, garden-grown green beans were always a staple in my home growing up. I remember many mornings waking early and my grandma would have sausage gravy and biscuits for breakfast with a cold glass of orange juice before heading outside to pick beans. It would be around 11 AM and we would take a break to get lunch and watch “The Price is Right” (my pap’s favorite afternoon show) while snapping beans so grandma could get them in the pressure cooker. There are so many great memories of picking rows and rows of beans! Another vivid memory was hearing the pressure cooker and watching my grandma in the kitchen prepping the jars and placing them in the cooker.
Now, I’m married with my own home and garden. My husband and I truly enjoy this time of year as busy as it is. From watching the seed we plant go into the soil all through to watching them go into the jars and sealed for our meals. In this article, we would like to invite you into our kitchen and show you how we can green beans to share, enjoy and preserve.
This year we decided to plant the Blue Lake Garden Beans from Southern States. We were very impressed with these beans!
They came in nice and full and the leaves sheltered the beans from bugs and too much sunlight! Additionally, this year we staggered the planting of our bean rows. In total, we planted 4 rows of beans, but the 1st two rows were planted two weeks apart from the 2nd two rows making it much less of a hassle to pick, snap and harvest. If we had all four rows on at once, it would have made for a stressful time with trying to pick and harvest before the beans went bad.What You Will Need to Begin
-Green Beans (Enough for 7+ Quarts)
-Quart Jars (Mason Jars)
-Lids and Bands
-Home Canning Utensil Kit
– Large pot to boil 7+ Quarts of Water
-Clean Dish Cloth & Dish Towel
-Labels (Optional) & Sharpie
-Salt, Onion, Garlic (Optional)
***Before beginning be sure to familiarize yourself with the parts of the pressure canner and read your instructions that are included with the canner.
1.) Pepare Beans
Pick & Snap the fresh crisp green beans, get rid of all of the worms, rotten spots and tips.
2.) Wash your jars, lids and rings.
Make sure you use hot water and soap. Rinse well!
Examine jars for any nicks, cracks, bad rims or sharp edges that could prevent a proper seal or breakage. Examine canning lids and rims that they are free of dents and sealing compound (wax) is even and complete.
3.) Prepare Lids & Rings
Start preparing the water and lids/rings. Submerge rings & lids in saucepan of simmering water (180°F) *DO NOT BOIL LIDS!
4.) Prepare the Canner
Prep your canner by adding 2 to 3 inches of water in the bottom (ours has a mark inside where you fill water to). Allow hot water to to simmer around (180ºF) until ready to add the filled jars.
5.) Boil 7+ Quarts of Water
Start boiling 7+ Quarts of water in a separate pot. You’ll need this for step 10.
6.) Wash Your Beans
Wash the beans that you’ve snapped in a sterilized sink to get rid of any chemicals and dirt they’re carrying. I usually clean mine in several changes of water before packing the jars.
7.) Drain Beans & Pack
Drain your beans (I use a spider skimmer to help with this). Pack the jars with green beans, leaving ample room at the top for headspace (~ 1″ for quart jar).
9.) Add Salt
Add 1/2 – 1 tsp of salt to each quart of beans.
At this step you can add onions and garlic also. This year we used fresh green onions from our garden.
10.) Ladle Hot Water into Jars
Carefully ladle the boiling water we started in step 5 over the beans while leaving ~1″ headspace (See in Video Below) Fill the jars up to the bottom of the neck with boiling water (this is called raw packing). Use the Jar funnel in your kit to help. This will help make packing easier!
11.) Remove Air Bubbles
Remove air bubbles with the air removal tool in your kit.
Slide the tool between green beans and jar pressing back gently on beans to release any air bubbles. Repeat this 2-3 times inside the jar for each of the jars. Don’t press down too hard otherwise the jar will crack or the tool will break.
12.) Wipe Off the Rims
Wipe off any debris on the rim of the jar using a clean damp dishcloth (this could prevent the jar from sealing later if you skip this step).
13.) Add Lid and Ring
Using your magnetic lid wand in your kit, remove a lid and ring for each jar from the saucepan where they’ve been warming up and place on the jars. Place lid on the lip of each jar to where it seals the wax compound on each rim. Add each ring to the jar make sure not to over tighten (fingertip tight).
14.) Place Jars in Canner
Using your Jar lifter from your kit, place jars in the canner according to your particular canner’s instructions. Our canner allows for 7 Quart jars to be processed at once.
15.) Place Lid and Refer to your Pressure Cooker Manual
Place the pressure cooker lid on to your canner and lock in place. Be sure you double check that your lid is locked in place! Follow the steps in your canner manual to begin your canning process.
16.) Prevent Botulism
In order to prevent botulism (pretty much canning’s worst-case scenario), process the jars at the stated pressure for the stated amount of time. Botulism thrives in no-air, low-salt, low acidity environments and messing up here greatly increases the chances of this happening. For our canner, we have to process quart jars between 10 & 11 pounds of pressure for 25 minutes. Note: It’s not 25 minutes from the time you turn the burner on, it’s 25 minutes from the time the canner reaches 10 pounds of pressure.
17.) Be Patient and Wait
After the required time has elapsed, turn the burner off and let the pressure bleed off naturally until gage reaches 0. Don’t rush this by unsealing the lid in any way, otherwise the water in the jars will be forced out of the jar. Also, stay close-by the canner to listen for when the canner has fully depressurized. Processing 7 quart jars usually requires about an hour to completely depressurize. You need to remove the jars immediately after depressurization to further reduce chances of botulism or contamination. The jars need to cool quickly, and the high heat inside the canner does not allow this.
*To remove lid, raise canner lid toward you so the steam will escape opposite in your direction. The steam is VERY hot so be careful! You can use dish clothes or oven mitts for this step.
When pressure starts to build up inside the canner this will lock will pop up and seal so the pressure can build. When the pressure is completely gone, the lock will drop.
This is when you can safely remove the canner lid. When the vent lock drops and gauge is on zero. For us, the gauge often stays at zero for 15 minutes before the lock drops.
18.) Wait for the PING!
Let the jars sit for 6+ hours and cool off. When they’re fully cooled, check the seals on the jars. We do this in 2 ways, first by checking that the center of the lid has been vacuumed in and the second is by gently pulling on the lid without the ring. If the center of the lid is popped out or it pushes in when you touch it, the seal is not good. Also, if the lid pulls off with light pressure the jar needs to be reprocessed. If you have to reprocess, make sure that the jar isn’t damaged and then clean the ring and process it again with another batch using a new lid. The necks of some jars are imperfect, and you may just need to use a new jar.
19.) Label your Jars
Label what you’ve canned, the ingredients that are in it (if you added garlic, onions, etc…) and the date it was canned. This way you know exactly what you have and when you should discard it (12 – 18 months depending on the product).
20.) Store jars in a cool place!
For more tips on Canning I highly recommend this book!
Finally, if you want to read more, check out the USDA’s Complete Guide to Home Canning for the latest in safety standards.