When your parents end up with far more green beans then they expected what do you do? Why pressure can them of course. This year’s harvest has been quite abundant and so it has resulted in large amounts of green beans almost every week since they came in. Since green beans are a low acid vegetable they have to be pressure canned. So out comes the good old Presto Pressure Canner.
Now I use a 23 quart pressure canner with an extra canning rack to allow for double stacking. In fact I had so many green beans I completely filled the pressure canner. Double stacking pints means 19 pints and 6 quarts of green beans!
So here is what you’ll need if you want to pressure can your own green beans
Canning Jars – make sure to only use jars designed for canning, that spaghetti sauce jar will not work, and will most likely break
Canning Equipment – I like to use the funnel and a measuring stick
Pots and pans
Lots and lots of green beans
A good canning recipe. I like to use the Green Beans recipe found in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. All the canning recipes in that book have been tested as being safe to use as long as the directions are followed.
First up you want to read the manual for your pressure canner. Each pressure canner model can be different.
Next sort through your green beans. You’ll want to snap them into a size that you like to eat and that will fit into the jars. Make sure to discard any discolored/rusted or diseased looking green beans. Only the best for you. Give them one final rinse and they’re ready to go.
After sorting the green beans add them to a large pot with water. Make sure you include enough water for your jars as well. The water in the pot is what fills the jars with the green beans.
Turn the stove on and let the beans come up to a boil. The goal here is to have them boil for about five minutes and then pack them into the jars.
Wait, you haven’t got your jars ready yet? Better do that quick while the water and beans are heating up. Whew, there done just in time.
I like to use a canning funnel, a canning measuring stick, and ladles.
Canning Tip: I like to lay a dish towel out on the counter to put my jars and tools on. It’s very helpful when whatever you canning can stain as well. Nothing like scrubbing up blackberry juice from the counter.
Now that the green beans have boiled at least five minutes it’s time to put them in the jars. If you are adding salt to your green beans put 1/2 tsp per pint or 1 tsp per quart. Leave a one inch head space to allow for expansion. If you are using Tattler Lids only tighten the metal band finger tight.
Time to load up the pressure canner. Make sure enough water has been added to the pressure canner for the model you’re using. In the case of my pressure canner that’s three quarts.
Canning Tip: Add a tablespoon or so of vinegar to your water when canning. Aluminum pots can react to certain foods and discolor. Also, the vinegar helps prevent mineral build up on the jars and lids.
Once the pressure canner is loaded and the lid is on bring the temperature up and start the venting process. Air needs to be vented from the canner to allow room for the steam. Vent for at least 10 minutes. Again, check the manual for your pressure canner as the process may be different.
After the canner has vented it’s time to bring the pressure up. With my model I place a weight on the venting tube to allow pressure to increase. At sea level you want to bring the pressure up to at 10lbs. For higher elevations consult your manual to adjust for the pressure difference.
At full pressure start the timer. For pints 20 minutes and for quarts 25 minutes.
Now that the timer has beeped, you did set a timer right? It’s time to allow the pressure canner to cool. Opening the canner at this point would be very dangerous, and in fact, depending on the design, may be impossible if it has a pressure lock. Let the canner cool and once cooled pop the lid open.
Canning Tip: I use a pair of silicon gloves to open the canner since they are water proof and won’t get soaked by the steam. Also, open the lid away from you to allow steam to vent safely in the opposite direction.
Use a jar lifter and lift the jars out one at a time. Place each jar on a kitchen towel to allow it to cool. If tattler lids are being used remember to tighten the metal bands fully on each jar to ensure a proper seal.
Now you have home canned green beans that are far tastier then the cans of green beans from the store. Remember to save at least some for that green bean casserole at Thanksgiving!
– Jason Snell