Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Greener Beans

So if you have a garden next year, I HIGHLY recommend planting a lot of green beans.  They are so easy to grow, are usually pretty productive, and are delicious!  Plus when they are ripe, there is nothing like fresh green beans sauteed in butter, with a little bacon.  YUMMMMM!!! 

But if you plant like I did this year, you will have WAY more then you can eat in one sitting.  So it's time to break out the Pressure Canner!  Green beans are usually the first thing I can in the pressure canner each year.  

My plants this year were VERY productive!  But as fall approaches my plants are starting to die back.  I've had a bunch of "baby" green beans on my plants for about a week.  Usually it takes 5-7 days for them to go from "baby's" to "adult" green beans.  But because my plants are dieing back they didn't get very much bigger then the adolescent stage.  So I picked them and pulled my plants for this year.

You can see the difference between the sizes.  I did have a couple of Big green beans, but majority of what I had on my plants were itty bitty.

The first step in the canning process is to pick your green beans.  Then you want to wash them really good in a colander. 

When you pick them they will usually have a pointy end and a stem end.  Both of these need to be snapped off before canning.  Why?? I have no Idea.  The canning Goddess known as my Mother-in-Law told me to do so, so I do it. lol

When you get both end off this is what they will look like. 

I then snap them into littler pieces.  You do not have to do this, I just like having them broken up, you tend to be able to fit more in a jar as opposed to leaving them whole.  But, it is all about personal preference, it doesn't make a different when canning.

So when the ends are all broken off and they are all broken into pieces.  You put them in the Sterilized Jars.  Cram them in there.  They will shrink, no matter how tightly you think you have them packed they always shrink.  I mean don't put so many in that they squish, just make sure they are full and compacted down a little bit.

Once they are packed in there, you'll want to add 1/2 t canning salt for pints, and 1 t for quarts.  If you want lo sodium green beans then you can leave this out.

I ended up with 4 pints of Green Beans.  So I just put the canning salt right on top.  When you add the boiling water the salt will all mix in and be dissolved.

Usually while I am filling the Jar with the green beans I'll start my Tea Pot.  I just pour in enough to cover the green beans, leaving about 1 inch of head space.

Once you fill the jars with the boiling water, you will need to use a butter knife to get all of the air bubbles out.  There will be a bunch of little tiny air bubbles through out the jar.  I tried to take a picture of some of them, but they are kind of hard to see.

I usually run my knife around the outside of the jar and push the knife towards the center a little to let the bubbles come to the top.

I'll also usually stab a couple of times down the center to make sure I get all of those bubbles worked out.  At this point if you need to add more boiling water to fill them up, do so.  Sometimes when all of the bubble's get worked out you'll need some more water added.

So then, you'll want to wipe the rims of the jars, and put the lids and bands on.  Once they are finger tight, you'll want to add 3 quarts of boiling water to the pressure canner along with 2 T of vinegar if you have hard water.  You'll want to process them them at 10 pounds of pressure for 20 minutes for Pints, and 25 minutes for Quarts. 


If the guild that came with your pressure canner tells you to do something different then what I have said.  FOLLOW THEM!!!  I bought my Pressure canner at Walmart because I cannot afford the super fancy ones with dials, and gauges.  I am writing my "how to" stuff assuming you have the same pressure canner.

 So when your green beans come out of the canner they will sometimes be boiling.  This is normal and will eventually stop. 

Also when they come out of the pressure canner the color will change, and you will have some shrinkage.  THIS IS NORMAL!   Have no fear! 

So there ya have it, homemade from the garden freshly canned green beans.  ENJOY!!!


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