Sunday, April 10, 2011

“G” Is for Canning Green Beans

Green beans are a major vegetable stable at our house. They find their way into all kinds of things. They low calorie (44 per 1 cup), low-carb (5 gms net per serving) and a good source of vitamin C (20% USRDA). It’s also one of the vegetables everyone in our house enjoys. So green beans are something I can and freeze every year. Fortunately for me my garden supports bean crops well. I grow a lot of my own but still haven’t mastered growing enough so that I don’t have to buy more.
Canning provides longer shelf life than freezing when it comes to green beans. Frozen beans are good for up to 18 months while canned beans, if done properly are safe to use up to 5 years later. Jars should be stored where they will not experience wide swings in temperature. A cool, dark place is best.
For every half-pound to pound of green beans, you will need 1 quart or two pint jars and the appropriate lids and caps. One bushel of beans will usually yield 14 to 20 quart jars. Because green beans are low acid, they must be canned in a pressure cooker. You will need jar tongs, a funnel and some dish towels.
Prepping the Beans
Buy only fresh, crisp beans that are free of scars or imperfections. Minor imperfections can be trimmed away. Any type of green bean is suitable and is a matter of taster or availability. Trim both ends and cut beans to desired lengths. Common length choices are from 1 inch to 4 inches. Some people do several jars of each length to provide options for recipe selections later on. Rinse the beans in cool, clean water.
Prepping the Jars
Check all the jars for cracks and chips and discard any that are damaged. Only use new flat lids each time to ensure a good seal. Prying the lid off once it’s been used can cause warping or bending. However minute the bending might be, it can cause the lid to fail to seal properly if used again. You can reuse the screw caps so long as they are not rusted. Sterilize the jars and lids in either boiling water for ten minutes or in your dishwasher if it has a sterilize cycle. Keep the jars warm until ready to use.
Filling the Jars
Boil enough water to fill the number of jars you are processing. Most canners hold seven or eight jars. Fill the hot jars with the clean, cut beans. Gently press the beans down to firmly pack and leave 1 inch of space at the top of the jar. If you prefer, add ½ teaspoon of salt to each jar. This step can be omitted if you want to avoid additional sodium. Place funnel in jar and carefully pour boiling water I, maintaining the 1 inch space at the top of the jar.
Use a spatula to dislodge any air bubbles. Wipe off the jar with the towel and place the lid on top. Screw on the cap until just tight. Don’t tighten it all the way. Continue until all the jars are filled.
Processing the Beans
Start heating 3 to 4 inches of water in the pressure cooker while you are filling the jars to save time. Place the jars into the pressure cooker and secure the lid. Once the pressure has built to 11 pounds, start timing the beans. Process jars 20 minutes for pints and 25 minutes for quarts for young tender beans. If older beans, almost ready for shelling, were used, increase the time by 15 and 20 minutes respectively. . Let the canner cool down and make sure all the steam has escaped before trying to open the lid. Stem is very hot and can cause burns.
Use the tongs to remove hot jars from the pressure cooker. Set them on a towel on the counter and leave them for 24 hours. Then, check the lids to make sure the jars have a good seal. Wipe jars and apply label to glass or using a permanent marker, write the contents and date on the lid. Then store until ready to use.
Voila! You have canned green beans!
These articles may help you decide how many green beans and supplies you will need if you want to can a year’s supply for your family:


PK said...

This is an excellent post, full of resources. Thanks.

Theresa Wiza said...

I think you should open your own online shop so those of us who are inept at the canning process can purchase your goods ;)

Kerry said...

Excellent information. I remember doing this with Mum:) Can't wait to move out into the boonies and grow all my own again.

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