Of all the vegetables we grow, the garden area dedicated to green beans is bested only by that afforded tomatoes. We’re partial to Blue Lake bush beans, a variety with compact growth and impressive yield, but there are many suitable typesboth bush and poleon the market. Contender is another that many home gardeners swear by. Of course, whatever is growing at your local u-pick or gracing the tables of your nearest farm market will work. And canning isn’t limited to green beansthose crunchy chartreuse pods to which we Americans are most accustomedmany wax beans can up just as beautifully, and are a welcome addition to the winter table. Of the wax types, Dragon's Tongue is a favorite here, tending to produce even through times of intense heat and moderate drought. Of course, Asian noodle beans and deep purple snap beans can also be preserved.
Whatever the type of bean you choose, it’s important to remember that all beans are low-acid vegetables and require pressure canning. The water bath technique we used last month for jams won’t get the content of your jars hot enough to kill all possible pathogens. While pressure canning may seem like a daunting task at first, it’s much easier than it sounds, and much safer than your Grandma probably made it out to be. Our Home Preserving Safety post can help you understand the ins and outs of both pressure and water bath canning and our Guide to Home Canning Equipment and Supplies will explain what you need to get started. It may be a good idea to run your pressure canner through one cycle with nothing but water inside the first time to get the hang of how it works without risking the loss of food.
Beans can be either raw or hot packed. Beans that are raw packed tend to be slightly firmer than those that are hot packed, and raw packing is also a little bit easier (especially if you’re canning a large batch of beans at once). If you’ve never canned beans before, you can always try a batch of each and decide which you like best. Directions for both are included below.
Home Canned Green Beans
- 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 lbs Green Beans per Quart (or half that per pint)
- Prepare your jars, lids and canner.
- Put a large pot of water on to boil.
- Wash beans in cold water, paying special attention to remove any debris.
- Remove tips and cut or break into bite-sized pieces (about 2 inches).
- Pack cut beans into jars, leaving a generous inch of space between beans and top of jar.
- Ladle boiling water over beans.
- Apply lids and rings to fingertip tight.
- Move jars into pressure canner, positioning them around the canner for balance. Add water according to manufacturer's directions (usually a few inches in the bottom of the canner). Apply and seal lid.
- Bring canner to 10 pounds pressure* with weighted gauge or 11 with dial gauge, and process 20 minutes for pints or 25 minutes for quarts.
- Allow pressure to completely dissipate before removing lid and allowing jars to cool.
*If your altitude is above 1,000 feet, adjust pressure accordingly. A chart for pressure requirements at altitude can be found in the Ball Blue Book or Ball Complete Book. I highly recommend one or the other for any home canner.
After cutting beans, but before packing into jars, boil for five minutes until tender crisp. You can retain this liquid for covering your beans after packing, instead of a separate pot of boiling water. All other directions are the same.
Looking for more preserving goodness? This post is part of BlogHer's Practice of Preserving, a series that runs through the end of the year. Join us as we can everything from strawberry jam to meat. Happy Canning!
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