Whether you grow the bush or pole type, green beans are a beautiful addition to the home garden. One of the best ways to preserve them is to can green beans for great flavor after the harvest.
Green beans are typically prolific in any garden. Many plants will give you a harvest at least 2-3 times in a season, and 15 plants could easily yield several bushes of green beans.
When you are knee deep in green beans, you are probably wondering how you will save them all.
Canning them will give you more space in your freezer PLUS make them for quick and easy meals later on. Just open the jar, reheat and eat!
In this post, I’ll tell you everything you need to know in order to safely and effectively pressure green beans at home!
Do You Have to Use a Pressure Canner for Green Beans?
Green beans are a low acid vegetable and MUST be pressure canned for proper food safety. There really is NO amount of time you can process in a hot water bath that will be safe and high enough temps to avoid botulism.
You may not know if your food is contaminated until someone gets sick, and it’s not worth the risk.
Should You Cold Pack or Hot Pack Canned Green Beans?
Canned green beans are a convenient and affordable way to add vegetables to your diet. But how you pack them can make a big difference in taste and texture. If you’re looking for a crisp, fresh-tasting bean, then cold packing is the way to go.
Cold packing, also referred to as the raw pack method, simply involves adding raw beans to the canning jar along with water or broth. The beans are then heated along with the liquid, sealing in their flavor and crunch.
The cold pack method is the ideal technique for people who want a crunchier bean. However, if you prefer a softer, more tender bean, then hot packing is the better option.
Hot packing involves cooking the beans before adding them to the jar. This pre-cooking process helps to soften the beans and release their flavor into the liquid.
As a result, hot packed beans tend to have a richer, more robust flavor than cold packed beans.
Canning Green Beans Step by Step Instructions
Here’s how to can your green beans for pantry storage…
You will need the following equipment in order to can your own green beans at home:
- Pressure canner
- Jar lifter
- Bubble removal tool
- Canning jars
- Canning lids and bands
- Dish rag
- Colander for rinsing green beans
- Assorted pots and pans for cooking and blanching beans
Pick Your Beans
If you’re planning on canning green beans, it’s important to use only the freshest, best-quality produce.
Look for beans that are bright green in color and free of blemishes. Avoid beans that are yellowing or have brown spots.
Snap the ends off the beans. For uniformity in canning times, you want to get them as close to the same size as possible.
Wash the Beans
Before you can enjoy those delicious home-canned green beans, you need to wash them properly.
The best way to do this is to fill a sink with cool water and add the beans. Stir them around gently, then let them soak for a few minutes.
This will help to loosen any dirt or debris that may be clinging to the beans. Next, drain the sink and refill it with fresh water.
Again, stir the beans gently and let them soak for a few minutes. Once they’ve been rinsed thoroughly, you can drain them again and proceed with the process.
And yes – if you’re lazy, you can wash other produce at the same time (peep my broccoli and potatoes hiding among my green beans in the pics!).
Boil and Blanch Beans (Hot Pack Method Only – Otherwise, You Can Skip)
For the hot pack method, you’ll need to blanch your beans.
You can either do this in a large pot of water or in a steamer. If you’re using a pot of water, you’ll want to blanch the beans for three minutes before removing them with a slotted spoon.
If you’re using a steamer, simply steam the beans until they’re tender-crisp. Then dunk the pot of beans into an ice bath for a couple of minutes.
I prefer to just do the cold pack method, which is what is pictured in my images in this article. When you cold pack, just pour boiling water on top of the beans in the jar.
It’s also referred to as a raw pack. It lets the beans be a bit crunchier and less mushy when you can them.
So again, if you’re doing cold packs, you can skip this step.
Sterilize the jars by boiling them in water for 10 minutes. This will help to prevent any bacteria from contaminating your food. Next, make sure there are no cracks in the jars.
Even small cracks can cause the jars to break during the canning process. Finally, clean the rings you plan to use. Always start with fresh lids!
Put three quarts of water in your pressure canner to heat up (most pressure canners require three quarts, but this can vary, so check your manufacturer suggestions). While the canner is heating up, you can fill your jars.
Place the beans in a clean, hot canning jar.
Add boiling water on top, leaving 1 inch headspace. If you want to add canning salt, you can add a teaspoon at this time for quart jars or half a teaspoon for pint jars. It will not affect your processing time or your recipe in any way.
Don’t use table salt, though – a teaspoon of canning salt is what you want, not table salt, since this has iodine in it and is not suitable for canning.
Wipe the rim with a clean towel to remove any residue. Remove any air bubbles in your quart or pint jars and ensure that you have 1-inch headspace.
Add a new lid and clean band, screwed on finger tight.
Next, you will load the jars into the canner, placing them gently on the rack.
Process in a pressure canner at 10lbs pressure for 25 minutes for quarts, 20 minutes for pints.
To do this, start by locking the lid on to the canner. Allow the unit to heat up and vent steam for ten minutes. Then, add your weight.
The pressure canner will begin to build pressure. Once it gets to 10 lbs, start your timer. If it goes much over 10 lbs, reduce the heat. If it dips below 10 lbs, you’ll need to reset the timer and start again.
Allow the canner to cool, then remove the jars. Let the canner cool on its own, and not by running cold water over it. This is for safety for you, the canner, and the jars inside.
Don’t try to remove the canner lid until the canner has returned to 0 pressure. I like to leave mine on the stovetop with the burners turned off and just let the whole thing cool down overnight.
Now, when you remove the jars, you may notice that some of the beans have migrated to the top of the jar. That’s okay! It just means the jars weren’t packed totally full. They’re still safe to eat.
See the picture to reference what I’m talking about:
After 24 hours, check the seals on the jars by pressing down on the lids. Any that “pop” back will need to be stored in the fridge and used within 2 days, or reprocessed.
To see if that jar you are wanting to reuse is safe, check out the post here.
You can normally get 10-12 quarts from a bushel, depending on how small you break the pieces into.
The smaller the pieces, the more you need to fill the jar. The jars will store well in a cool, dry, place for up to 1 year before loss of nutrients and flavor can happen.
If you’re new to canning, green beans are a great place to start. Here are a few more tips to help you get started.
One of the most important things to remember when canning green beans is to always use a pressure canner.
A water bath canner simply won’t get hot enough to kill all of the bacteria that can cause food poisoning. While pressure canning may sound daunting, it’s actually very safe and easy to do.
If you’re planning on canning green beans, it’s best to start with small to medium sized beans.
They’ll be easier to process and will result in a higher quality product. Not to mention, they’ll be more attractive in the finished product. When selecting beans, look for ones that are fresh and have a nice green color.
Canning green beans is a great way to preserve the harvest and have delicious, home-grown beans all year round. But what do you do if you don’t have enough beans for a full canner load?
No need to wait; you can store the beans until you have enough. Just be sure to keep them in a cool, dry place. Once you have enough beans, give them a quick rinse and then start canning.
One of the most important safety rules is to never reuse canning lids. The metal lids are lined with a rubber seal that helps create an airtight seal.
However, the rubber seal can be damaged during the canning process, which can allow bacteria to enter the canned food. For safety’s sake, always use new lids when canning green beans (or any other food).
Canning lids are relatively inexpensive, and they’re available at most hardware and home improvement stores.
Adjusting for your altitude is essential when canning green beans. At high altitudes, water boils at a lower temperature, which can lead to under processing. As a result, it is important to increase the boiling time when canning green beans at high altitudes.
Consult the National Center for Home Food Preservation for more information on how to can green beans at altitude.
Canned green beans are a convenient and shelf-stable option for adding veggies to your diet.
But how long do they last? Once opened, canned green beans should be consumed within two to three days.
If stored properly in a cool, dry place, unopened cans of green beans will be safe to eat for up to two years. However, it’s important to note that the quality of the beans may decline over time.
Canned green beans are a versatile and convenient ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. Here are a few tips for incorporating them into your cooking.
One way to use canned green beans is to add them to soups and stews. They can provide a pop of color and flavor, and their texture holds up well when simmered for long periods of time.
Another option is to use them as a side dish. simply drain and rinse the beans, then sauté them with some garlic and olive oil.
For a heartier side dish, mix the beans with other cooked vegetables or grains. Finally, green beans can also be used in salads. Toss them with some chopped onions and diced tomatoes, then dress with your favorite vinaigrette.
Canned green beans are an easy and affordable way to add nutrition and flavor to your meals. With a little creativity, they can be incorporated into a wide variety of dishes.
So there you have it – everything you need to know about how to make green beans. If you’re feeling inspired, consider giving this a try in your own kitchen. The process is simple and the end result is delicious.
Want to learn how to pressure can other vegetables? Try these posts:
Heather’s homesteading journey started in 2006, with baby steps: first, she got a few raised beds, some chickens, and rabbits. Over the years, she amassed a wealth of homesteading knowledge, knowledge that you can find in the articles of this blog.
Learn more about Heather and the rest of the writers on this page.