Widgets Magazine

Sep 30, 2011

Food for Thought - Canning Green Beans

I’ve told you before, canning is in my blood. And that’s a good thing since my sweetie likes gardening and we can’t possibly use everything he grows.  Yesterday my kids brought in a couple of five gallon buckets full of green beans and we get that many about once a week. Even though the patch is nothing like my in-laws used to grow, it still helps a ton at the grocery store. I don’t believe I’ve ever bought a “can” of green beans.

Greens beans are my favorite thing to can because they are so easy. I get the kids to help me snap them and pull of the ends and then the whole process takes about an hour. My mom used to get beans from neighbors when they were tired of picking them and those beans were not the best. Once the bean inside gets big and bulgy and especially dry, just throw it away. And remember that if you find a string down the side of your bean, pull it off. These new string-less varieties aren’t perfect. Now start snapping and get on with it!

Canning Green Beans

Canning green beans is fun and easy! You start with fresh green beans and break off the ends. My kids tend to waste way more than I do. Then snap the beans into bite-sized pieces. I shoot for about an inch or so. You can leave them whole, but it is harder to get them in and out of the bottles.

When you have all of your beans prepared, wash them thoroughly.

Then place them into jars. We use quarts and we usually go through a jar and sometimes two at a single meal. Fill the jars with the broken beans. I use a canning funnel to keep them from spilling all over, but it’s not necessary.

You need a little salt. My mom used a teaspoon per quart, but we have cut that to half a teaspoon per quart. Then fill the jars with water to within half an inch of the top.

Now heat a small bowl full of water to sterilize your lids. This takes 2 ½ minutes in my microwave and then I just throw the lids into the hot water. While you are waiting for the water to boil, wipe the tops of the jars with a clean cloth. It’s unlikely that you will find anything, but even a few grains of salt can keep your jar from sealing.

Pull your lids from the boiling water and place them immediately on top of each jar. Add a ring and tighten. A general rule for canning is that fruits need a water bath or steamer, and vegetables need to be pressured in a pressure cooker. My sweetie bought this one for me about ten years ago. I love it because I can do 14 quarts in it instead of 7. It cost about $300.00 at the time, but it has been well worth the money since we do so much canning. If you decide to get a tall one, make sure it will fit under your microwave hood. When we first got this one, we had a different microwave and that was a problem.

For beans in Utah, we pressure quarts for 30 minutes at about 13 pounds pressure. Pints take about 25 minutes, but ask your County Extension group time and pressure for your area. Make sure your pressure cooker has a rack in the bottom, then fill it with about 4 or 5 inches of water. Put in your bottles. Lock your pressure cooker…tight! Mine has a little round weight that goes on top to regulate the pressure.

Don’t leave the room while you are using the pressure cooker! If the pressure gets too high, the bottles will break. And if it gets too low, the bottles don’t seal properly. When the timer rings, turn the canner off, but don’t touch it. It takes a while for the pressure to come down. When the canner is cool and the dial registers 0, you can open the canner up and take out the jars. Make sure they are all sealed down properly. Poke each lid in the center. If you hear that little popping sound, refrigerate that jar and use them within a couple of days. Like pears, I take off my rings and wash the jars in warm soapy water. Then write the year on the lid with a Sharpie. Beans keep just fine in a cool dry place for about 10 years.

3 comments:

Nicole said...

One of my goals is to learn how to can....

LOVE MELISSA:) said...

Interesting! I have to learn to do this

Angi said...

Hi. I saw your comment about fried scones. Do you happen to have a recipe for them? Also, I like your canner. I've been thinking about getting one. I want to make Chow Chow with all the tomatoes I have from my three tomato plants. Have a wonderful weekend.

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