The end of the week is coming to a close. Do you have a project lined up for the weekend? Perhaps you took my advice in this post and are preparing to can green beans. If not, check it out and consider this as your weekend project. I shared before the equipment you will need to gather. Today I will share the know-how. Canning green beans instructions – start to finish!!
As discussed in the Canning Green Beans: Equipment article you will need the following:
-pressure cooker for canning
-large stock pot (to sterilize the jars)
-medium stock pot (to boil water)
-glass canning jars (pint or quart size, depending on your preference)
-canning lids and rings
-hot jar grabber
As previously suggested, it’s best to wait until right before canning to round up the green beans (either harvesting from your garden or purchasing at the farmer’s market). So, if you haven’t already, now is the time to get those green beans on hand.
With all your equipment at the ready – let’s get started!
Canning Green Beans Instructions Step 1: Prepare Jars
Canning, regardless of which veggie is on the agenda, requires a LOT of boiling water. I’m always aggravated with myself when I don’t get a pot started very first thing (I sometimes get this going while I’m rounding up the rest of my equipment). Canning isn’t an overly difficult process, but it is lengthy. Waiting for water to boil only extends that time. So, take my advice, get a large pot going right away. While you’re at it, start another smaller pot that you will use to fill the jars.
Wash all the jars and lids in hot, soapy water. You might be thinking, “my jars are already clean” and that this is an added <unnecessary> step. Here’s the thing: if they’ve been sitting around for any amount of time, there’s no telling what might have landed on them. Clean and sterile jars are essential for canning, so give them a quick wash down as a first order of business.
Next, sterilize the jars by immersing them in the stock pot of boiling water.
With the boiling water working its magic, you are ready to move on to step two!
Canning Green Beans Instructions Step 2: Prepare Green Beans
Everything used in the canning process needs to be super clean, the veggies are no exception. This is probably the part of the process I dislike the most. Getting fingers on each and every green bean to ensure cleanliness is tedious work. There’s no way around it though, so best get started!
I tend to wash my green beans with the kitchen sink faucet, and since it requires an excruciating amount of water, I catch the majority in a bucket that I run outside and use to water the plants. It’s an added step and you certainly don’t have to; it just makes me feel better about so much water that would otherwise be going to waste.
Once the beans are washed, trim the ends and then cut down to size for stuffing in jars.
We are using a raw pack method for this project. Once the beans are clean, trimmed and cut down to size, that’s all you need to do!
Canning Green Beans Instructions Step 3: Fill Jars
Carefully remove one jar at a time (you want to keep them hot through this process) from the boiling water.
Fill the hot jar with the prepared green beans. Re-arrange often to ensure you are packing as many green beans into the jar as possible. Leave 1″ of head space at the top. Repeat this process until all the jars are full of green beans.
Then, fill each jar with clean boiling water (remember that 1″ of head space at the top!).
Hint: the pot of boiling water, now empty as all jars have been removed, can still be useful. Don’t dump it out! Instead, drop the lids for the jars into the water so the rubber ring can begin to soften. You can reduce the burner temp for this. The water just needs to be on the hotter side of warm, not boiling.
Finally, add salt. This is an optional step but I’ve made them both ways (with and without) and the honest truth is that I will always use salt going forward. If you’ve used pint size canning jars you will use 1/2 tsp salt. For quart size jars, 1 tsp.
Canning Green Beans Instructions Step 4: Processing
With jars full and ready, wipe the rims of the jars to ensure there is nothing that will prevent sealing. Remove as many air bubbles as possible. Gently tapping the jar on the counter will do the trick! Top with a lid (carefully removed from the hot water), and screw the ring down tight.
IMPORTANT: This is the part of the process I really encourage you to refer to your pressure caner instructions. I will share with you what my particular pressure caner and higher altitude calls for, but with safety in mind please refer to your instructions!!
The pot of water used to sterilize the jars will serve one final purpose — filling the pressure caner. Using hot water will help the caner come up to pressure more quickly.
After three quarts of hot water have been added to the pressure caner, the jars are slowly added to the caner as well. My system can process 8 pints at a time.
Once the jars are in the caner, ensuring they are standing up right and not leaning against one another, the lid is placed on the caner and locked tight.
Place the pressure caner on a larger burner and turn the heat up to high. As the water boils, steam will begin to vent at a steady pace. Allow this to happen for 10 minutes, then drop on the weight (for my altitude, 15 lbs). Once the weight begins to gently rock (and this can take what feels like forever), adjust the temperature so that the rocking continues at a gentle, consistent speed. Then, set the timer (again, for my altitude, 20 minutes).
When the timer dings, turn off the burner and slowly/gently remove the pressure caner from the hot burner. Allow to cool on its own. Do NOT attempt to speed up this process. Once the indicator button drops, and no more steam is coming out of the vent, it’s safe to remove the lid. If the lid shows resistance to being removed, leave it be and allow to cool for a bit longer.
As soon as is safely possible, remove the jars from the pressure caner. Allow them to finish cooling on the counter. You will hear the lids ‘pop’ as the seals take hold.
Label the jars with the date, store in a cool/dark place and enjoy the yummy-ness all winter long!