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Canning Green Beans

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This step by step with photos guide on How to Can Green Beans – the wet pack method – is perfect for anyone new to canning. Simple, clear steps to canning garden fresh green beans to last all winter long!

 

How to Can Green Beans

 

Growing up, my mother was an avid Gardener. We grew up with our backyard looking a bit like the Garden of Eden yet with more edible plants than floral. She has a green thumb that rivals anyone else I’ve ever met.

Despite her green thumb she is always looking for new ways, better ways, more efficient ways, to garden. Because of her extensive garden, and all the variety of berries and fruit that were all around our city, we canned a lot.

Every fall, the kids were all expected to help her can the bounty our garden had given. I hated it, as I suspect all kids do and swore I’d never can again once I moved out of the house. And it was true.

For many years I refused to can or learn to can fruits and vegetables. That is until we moved to Minnesota.

My Mother-in-Law, Liz always has a garden and she always cans green beans. Her green beans are delicious and two of the three kids go nuts for them.

Several years ago I asked her to show me How to Can Green Beans. We spent the day canning her fresh from the garden green beans and having a good time with one another. However, my memory is pretty pathetic and by the next summer I can forgotten everything she had taught me.

So this year, I asked her to show me how to can green beans again.  This time I was going to document it and create a blog post so that I would ALWAYS know just how to can green beans. I’m a woman in my late 30’s learning to can.  I figured if I can learn, anyone can learn.

Though this is a long post, and it may seem overly detailed, I hope it helps others like me learn how to can green beans. I have pages of chicken scratch writing down everything she told me and I hope I can do her directions justice.

Learn How to Can Tomatoes HERE!

Learn How to Can Carrots HERE!

 

Step 1: 

First things first, you want to pick your green beans.  If you do not have a garden then you can purchase them from the store as well.  The amount shown below filled 5 pint sized jars full.

 

whole green beans unwashed

 

Step 2:

Always wash your green beans.  Soak them in cold water for about 3 minutes.  Make sure to give a good swish to your green beans to get any bugs and dirt off.  Remove and place on a plate or dish.

 

Soaking green beans

 

Step 3:

Start by trimming each end of the green bean then cut it into approximately 1 1/2 inch pieces.  Discard the trimmed edges for compost or garbage. Placed sliced green beans in a bowl.

 

Trimming green beans with knife

 

Step 4:

Once you’ve cut your green beans, set them aside.  Now it’s time to clean your jars.  You want them to be sterile and clean so you can place them in boiling water for a few minutes or if you are 100% sure they are clean, rinse them with very hot water.  Set upside down to drip dry on a cloth.

 

washing canning jars

 

Step 5: 

After letting the jars drip dry for a few moments, fill cans to the top rim with green beans.

 

fill jars with green beans

 

Step 6: 

Tap the bottom of the jars on the counter a few times to allow beans to settle down into can and add additional as needed.  Beans should be filled to the rim.  Set aside.

 

green beans in open jars

 

Step 7: 

Place pressure canner on stove.  Place the canning base inside and fill with 2 quarts of water.  Turn burner on to medium.  Canning works best with a gas or coil top stove.  Glass top stoves struggle to reach a high enough heat for canning.  Or so I’m told by the smartest Green Bean Canning Machine I know!

 

empty pressure cooker

 

Step 8:

Place NEW flat lids in a small pot of water and bring to a boil.  It is VERY important that these are hot and sterile.  You’ll want to have a pair of tongs ready for grabbing them out of the water or two forks would work too.  DO NOT USE OLD FLAT LIDS.  They will not reseal.  New ones are required every time.

 

boil canning lids

 

Step 9: 

While lids are coming to a boil, place 1/2 teaspoon of CANNING SALT into each pint jar of green beans.  Do not use table salt.  Canning salt does not contain iodine which is why it is used for canning.  If you are doing quart jars, use 1 teaspoon of canning salt.  Liz always add this before the water. However I know other people add their water first. Both methods appear acceptable.

One reason for doing the salt first is that if you get distracted you can still see which jars you already added salt to.  If you add the water first, the salt begins to dissolve immediately upon touching the water.

 

put canning salt in jars

 

Step 10:

Fill each jar with BOILING water.  You’ll want to pour water to the neck of each jar.  Do not fill to the rim.  As you can see, you’ll need to boil another pot of water or you can microwave a large heat proof measuring cup (as shown below) until the water is boiling hot.

Place a butter knife inside the jar and go around the outside of the jar pressing in toward the beans.  This will remove any air bubbles that may be hiding and help with the canning process.

 

fill jars with boiling water

 

Step 11: 

Wipe each rim with a dry paper towel to ensure that there is no moisture on the rim.  To get a good seal you’ll want to have a nice clean rim for the lid to connect with.

 

dry the jar rims

 

Step 12:  

Now place HOT flat lids on each jar.  You may need tongs for this.

 

place hot lids on jars

 

Step 13:

Place screw lids on top and screw on.  Once you hit resistance, give them one more good tight twist.

 

screw lids on jars

 

Step 14:

Place jars in prepared pressure canner.  Make sure that none of the jars are touching.

 

filled jars in pressure cooker

 

Step 15:

Place pressure canning lid on and lock it into place.  Let it boil until steam comes out of the top.  This should take 5 – 10 minutes.  While waiting, begin prepping the next batch of green beans.

 

closed pressure cooker

 

Step 16:  

Once steam begins to come out of side spout, let it steam for 10 minutes then place canning weight over the little steam spout.  Steam will them begin to pour out of the center hole.  This is ok.  It will seal itself off after a few moments.  Allow pot to continue to boil until the Gage reads 10 pounds.

 

place cooker vent weight on

 

Step 17: 

Once the dial reaches 10 pounds, (which should take about 5 minutes), you’ll want to watch it carefully and adjust heat of burner to keep it at 10 pounds.  Depending on the age of your pressure canner this may be a constant adjustment or you may not have to adjust it at all.  It is ok if it get above 10 pounds but do not let it get anywhere near the black line of doom.

Once you reach 10 pounds, set your timer for 20 minutes for pint jars, and 25 minutes for quart jars.  Keep an eye on that pressure Gage!

 

10 lbs of pressure on cooker gauge

 

Step 18:

When your timer goes off, turn your burner off and allow your Pressure Gage to slowly return to zero.  Once your Gage reaches zero, using hot mitts, remove the weight and then open the lid AWAY FROM YOUR FACE.  Do NOT open it towards your face.  If there is any extra build up of hot steam it can hurt you.  So always open it AWAY from your face.

 

open pressure cooker

 

Step 19:

Remove jars with a jar lifter (yes that is actually what it is called).  The cans will be BURNING HOT so do not use your hands. Place jars on a wire cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature.  As jars are cooling you’ll start to hear a popping sound as each jar seals itself.  It is importantly that each jars lid pops and seals itself. If it doesn’t then you’ll be eating green beans that night from the jar that did not seal itself.

 

remove jars from pressure cooker

 

Step 20:  

As you can see the beans cook inside the jar and go from a bright green color to a dull green color after being cooked.  Our first batch took approximately 1 1/2 hours (with all the slicing of the green beans for all batches).  However as each batch was cooking we prepped the next batch and each batch thereafter only took approximately 30 minutes.

 

let hot jars cool and seal

 

Canning green beans is a labor of love.

It is not something you do on a whim and certainly shouldn’t be done in a hurry.

However, if you are willing to invest the time and effort into canning, you’ll not only have fresh tasting fruits and vegetables all year, you’ll have a life skill that can literally feed your family.

 

green beans with butter in bowl

 

Each year Liz cans enough green beans for her family, our family and many friends and family members.

Some of our favorite Christmas gifts are fresh canned fruits and vegetables and we feel so blessed to receive them.

So if you have a bountiful garden and aren’t sure what to do with all of it, I hope you’ll follow these easy step by step directions for how to can green beans.

Thanks Liz for always sharing your wisdom with me and teaching me all your secrets!

 

How to Can Green Beans

How to Can Green Beans - uncooked jars of green beans next to cooked green beans to show color difference.

This step by step with photos guide on How to Can Green Beans - the wet pack method - is perfect for anyone new to canning. Simple, clear steps to canning garden fresh green beans to last all winter long!

Inactive Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • Green Beans
  • Water
  • Pint or Quart Jars
  • Canning Salt

Instructions

  1. First things first, you want to pick your green beans. If you do not have a garden then you can purchase them from the store as well.
    Always wash your green beans. Soak them in cold water for about 3 minutes. Make sure to give a good swish to your green beans to get any bugs and dirt off. Remove and place on a plate or dish.
  2. Trim each end of the green bean then cut it into approximately 1 1/2 inch pieces. Discard the trimmed edges for compost or garbage. Placed sliced green beans in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Now it’s time to clean your jars. You want them to be sterile and clean so you can place them in boiling water for a few minutes or if you are 100% sure they are clean, rinse them with very hot water. Set upside down to drip dry on a cloth.
  4. After letting the jars drip dry for a few moments, fill cans to the top rim with green beans.
  5. Tap the bottom of the jars on the counter a few times to allow beans to settle down into can and add additional as needed. Beans should be filled to the bottles neck. Set aside.
  6. Place pressure canner on stove. Place the canning base inside and fill with 2 quarts of water.
  7. Turn burner on to medium. Canning works best with a gas or coil top stove. Glass top stoves struggle to reach a high enough heat for canning. Or so I’m told by the smartest Green Bean Canning Machine I know!
  8. Place NEW flat lids in a small pot of water and bring to a boil. It is VERY important that these are hot and sterile. You’ll want to have a pair of tongs ready for grabbing them out of the water or two forks would work too. DO NOT USE OLD FLAT LIDS. They will not reseal. New ones are required every time.
  9. While lids are coming to a boil, place 1/2 teaspoon of CANNING SALT into each pint jar of green beans. Do not use table salt. Canning salt does not contain iodine which is why it is used for canning. If you are doing quart jars, use 1 teaspoon of canning salt. Liz always add this before the water. However I know other people add their water first. Both methods appear acceptable.
    One reason for doing the salt first is that if you get distracted you can still see which jars you already added salt to. If you add the water first, the salt begins to dissolve immediately upon touching the water.
  10. Fill each jar with BOILING water. You’ll want to pour water to the neck of each jar. Do not fill to the rim. As you can see, you’ll need to boil another pot of water or you can microwave a large heat proof measuring cup (as shown below) until the water is boiling hot.
  11. Wipe each rim with a dry paper towel to ensure that there is no moisture on the rim. To get a good seal you’ll want to have a nice clean rim for the lid to connect with.
  12. Now place HOT flat lids on each jar. You may need tongs for this.
    Place screw lids on top and screw on. Once you hit resistance, give them one more good tight twist.
  13. Place jars in prepared pressure canner. Make sure that none of the jars are touching.
  14. Place pressure canning lid on and lock it into place. Let it boil until steam comes out of the top. This should take 5 – 10 minutes. While waiting, begin prepping the next batch of green beans.
  15. Once steam begins to come out of side spout, place canning weight over the little steam spout. Steam will them begin to pour out of the center hole. This is ok. It will seal itself off after a few moments. Allow pot to continue to boil until the Gage reads 10 pounds.
  16. Once the dial reaches 10 pounds, (which should take about 5 minutes), you’ll want to watch it carefully and adjust heat of burner to keep it at 10 pounds. Depending on the age of your pressure canner this may be a constant adjustment or you may not have to adjust it at all. It is ok if it get above 10 pounds but do not let it get anywhere near the black line of doom.
  17. Once you reach 10 pounds, set your timer for 20 minutes for pint jars, and 25 minutes for quart jars. Keep an eye on that pressure Gage!
  18. When your timer goes off, turn your burner off and allow your Pressure Gage to slowly return to zero. Once your Gage reaches zero, using hot mitts, remove the weight and then open the lid AWAY FROM YOUR FACE. Do NOT open it towards your face. If there is any extra build up of hot steam it can hurt you. So always open it AWAY from your face.
  19. Remove jars with a jar lifter (yes that is actually what it is called). The cans will be BURNING HOT so do not use your hands. Place jars on a wire cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature.
  20. As jars are cooling you’ll start to hear a popping sound as each jar seals itself. It is importantly that each jars lid pops and seals itself. If it doesn’t then you’ll be eating green beans that night from the jar that did not seal itself.
  21. As you can see the beans cook inside the jar and go from a bright green color to a dull green color after being cooked. Our first batch took approximately 1 1/2 hours (with all the slicing of the green beans for all batches). However as each batch was cooking we prepped the next batch and each batch thereafter only took approximately 30 minutes.

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gayle

Monday 23rd of May 2022

can i can my green beans without a pressure cooker

Jill-Anne Pyke

Thursday 31st of March 2022

Hi Janelle! I'm researching various methods of preserving or canning vegetables from the garden for this summer's harvest. Many thanks you and your dear mother-in-law for sharing this very informative post with others. You can tell from the photos that Liz has spent a lifetime doing work with her hands.....reminds me so much of my late mom's hands as well. As the world spins toward food uncertainty in the future we should all want to learn these skills before they are lost. People need to be more self reliant and have less of an 'I can get it at the grocery store.' mentality. The empty shelves and hard to get items during the Covid-19 pandemic should be a total wake up call to all of us. The ground is just beginning to warm up here in Southern Ontario, Canada and I can't wait to get outside and begin planting! My best to you and Liz for your generousity. Jill-Anne

Buford - Statesville NC

Sunday 13th of March 2022

Yo Janelle - You have done an outstanding job on documenting your aunt's canning of green beans.

I am an old geezer, always had big gardens (40 years) and usually canned 250 or jars of everything (heavy on beans, maters, salsa, spaghetti sauce, pickles, etc.)

You made one statement that is halfway correct - you mentioned not to let jars touch in your pressure canner. That does not matter, they can touch. Additionally depending on size of jars, and size of pressure canner you can stack jars 2-high.

When you use a "Water bath" canner - there is a rack to make sure "the jars do not touch" - this is likely where the slight confusion arises for some folks. It operates on lower heat than "pressure canner" and needs hot water to swirl around jars.

And buried deep below in the comments, one lady was suggesting to another gent to "cover" his jars with water. Please don't ever do that in a pressure canner. I have known some folks that actually used a boiling water bath for green beans and they did not die - but the science says they should go through the pressure canning process.

Thanks again for a splendid job of watching, writing and learning - happy canning.

I learned for older others and have my grandmothers "Ball Blue Book on Canning" she got around 1955 and my mother picked up several good books on "putting food by" as they used to say. It is amazing how much has appeared within easy reach on the internet - read three and take the best ideas...

Dennis

Thursday 20th of January 2022

Hey, hi. That write up and explanation was the absolute best I have ever seen. We are canners, but it would have taken me 4 years to put that narrative to your pictures ... a labor of love. We are in our 70's and have always used yellow beans. We have learned that green beans are healthier .... or so we are told... lol. Thank you

Nikki Cahalane

Tuesday 11th of January 2022

Beautifully written and what a lovely mother-in-law you have!! Thank you for the recipe. I have just received my very first pressure canner and no one in my family (or anyone I know) has ever used one so I'm excited to try 😊

Janelle

Tuesday 18th of January 2022

I hope you find years of success with yours! Post a photo of what you make and tag me on social media so I can see!

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