Dedicated to All Things Gardening – DIY – Cooking – Canning & More…Intertwined with the story of building of our little farm from scratch!
As many of our readers know, last year our purple green bean crop was enjoyed by deer, leaving Jim and I only enough to salvage a handful for our own tasting. Well this year is different – the new fence around the garden has provided the deer with a detour requiring them to walk on a different path and thus far, leaving the garden alone.
That means not only do we have a bountiful crop of bush green beans, but we also have a ton of purple green beans to preserve.
Because beans are a low-acid food, pressure canning is required to kill micro-organisms and to prevent botulism. But don’t stop reading now — it really is easy!!! I will take you through step by step instructions on how to can green beans using our weighted pressure canner. However, it is very important to follow the instructions on your own pressure canner, as it may differ from the one that we use. This is a great first recipe when learning to use a pressure canner.
1. Gather 9 pounds of green beans to make approximately a 9 pint batch – or 14 pounds which will make approximately a 7 quart batch. Choose only fresh, filled out, and firm beans.
2. Prepare your jars by sanitizing them – easy to do in a dishwasher or boil the jars for 10 minutes in a large pot. Keep the jars and lids hot until ready to use. I place the lids in a small frying pan and keep them on a back burner until they are needed. This is where the magnetic lid lifter comes in handy – and well worth the investment to prevent burnt fingers! Check out our article on The Must-Haves for Canning.
3. Fill a large stock pot with water and place on medium high heat to achieve a nice rolling boil.
4. Place 3 quarts of water into the pressure canner (again, follow your manufacturer’s instructions on what’s required for your canner). **Hint – place 2 tablespoons of white vinegar in the water to prevent water stains on jars. With the lid off, turn on medium heat to warm the water but not to a boil.
5. Prepare your beans. Wash in cold water – then cut each end off. If they are string beans, remove the string from the top of the bean. Remove and discard any bad spots. You can leave them whole, however, I prefer to cut them in 1-2 inch pieces.
* If you like French green beans, feel free to slice them that way before canning.
6. Pack the beans in the canning jars, leaving 1 inch head space at the top of the jar to allow for expansion during the canning process. For the newbies, this step is called ‘cold packing’. That is because we do not cook the green beans before canning.
7. Using a ladle pour the boiling water into the jars leaving the 1 inch head space at the top. The green beans should be covered.
8. The salt debate — many people will put in 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of salt into the jars at this point. This is not required to preserve the beans, it is purely for those who like a lot of salt. I do not add any salt to my jars.
9. Use a plastic utensil to slide down the side of the jars to release any air bubbles. Add more water if necessary to cover the beans while still leaving 1 inch of head space.
10. Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean cloth. Add a warm lid **Use your lid lifter** and apply the ring only finger tight.
11. Use your jar lifter and place it into the pressure canner.
12. Repeat process until all jars are filled or your pressure canner is filled – whichever comes first.
13. Make sure you can see light through the vent pipe on your lid – then place the lid on your canner and tighten. Turn burner on high heat.
14. Heat pressure canner until there is a steady flow of steam that can be seen, heard or felt coming through the vent pipe. Continue to heat for 10 minutes – reducing heat if necessary to allow for a steady flow of steam.
15. Place 10 pounds of pressure on the regulator and add it to the vent pipe. Heat canner on high setting. As pressure develops, the cover lock will lift – this means there is pressure in the canner. **Never remove the regulator or lid when the cover lock is lifted.
16. Processing time begins when the pressure regulator (the weight) begins to rock gently. Adjust the heat to maintain a slow steady rocking motion.
Process pints for 20 minutes, and quarts for 25 minutes. *Times and pressure may differ slightly depending on your altitude.
17. At the end of processing time, turn burner off and remove canner from heat source. Here is where the waiting begins — you must let the pressure drop as the canner cools. Pressure is completely reduced when the cover lock drops back down in place. Do not remove the regulator or lid until this drops!!! This step seems like it takes forever – be patient and in the mean time, I am sure you can find something to do.
18. Once the cover lock has dropped, remove the regulator and let the canner cool for an additional 10 minutes. Remove lid — Lift the back of the lid up first so the steam escapes away from you.
19. Remove jars from canner using your jar lifter – and place on a towel to cool. Within several minutes you will hear that wonderful ‘pop’ sound indicating that the jars are sealing. Let cool for 24 hours.
20. Remember to label your jars with the contents, batch number, and date. Store in a cool, dry place.
Mary and Jim