Green beans are my favorite vegetable. That’s really saying something considering how much I love veges! Most harvest seasons, I hunker down at my grandmother’s house to can veges into glass jars. I had really steep ambitions this year, and I’m still hoping to make pickles and can some carrots and tomatoes. We have some tomatoes left from last year, and we’ve done jam so far, but this is only the beginning!
Canning green beans is a lot like canning carrots in that they’re a low acid food, so they must be cooked in a pressure cooker when prepared. I took some photos today to walk everyone through the process, but it’s always good to read up on the canning process to avoid mistakes, waste, or food borne illness.
We began with a bushel of green beans, and snapped off the nipple-y ends with our fingers. Then we washed them well and cut them into pieces.
We prepared our kitchen by washing the jars beforehand, then heating the rings and jars in the dishwasher. If you don’t have a dishwasher, keep them in hot water in a stock pot, stovetop. We also boiled the lids and let them sit in the hot water. My grandmother puts a towel on the counter to contain any mess, and to keep water from pooling on the counter, which can be a mess on the floor but also a safety hazard, as the components of the jars are all hot all the time and are easily dropped and shattered.
Next we brought the water in the pressure cooker to a boil while we filled the jars. Before filling the jars, we put 1/4t salt in the bottom. Then we filled it a little way above the first line in the rim. After that, we filled it to the first rim with hot water.
After the jars are full, we put the lid and rings on and place them in the pressure cooker. The lid must be sealed well for safety and effectiveness.
As far as cooking in the pressure cooker, once we seal it and the water comes to a boil, there is a mechanism on the top that releases steam. When the steam forms a steady stream, you place a hat-like knob over the mechanism. When it begins to hula (gram’s words, not mine), you time it- 20 minutes for these pints. Once 20min is up, my grandmother removes the hat-like device and it releases a hot and heavy stream of steam. The pot is not able to be opened until a second knob near the edge of the pot releases. Don’t worry- ALL of these instructions come with your pressure cooker. You’ll need to can these with 10lb pressure.
I made this picture extra large so you could see- the knob on the left top of the lid is the knob that lets you know when it’s safe to open the pot. It becomes flat when it’s time. The knob in the center of the lid is what releases steam to let you know when it’s boiling. The device that fits on top (that does the hula) is not shown in this picture.
Once you can remove the lid to the pot, you slowly take out the jars with a special grabber that has rubber grippers. We place them to cool on the counter on a towel. The jars are not fully sealed until the lids are firm. There is a soft button-like center on the lids, and when you press it with your finger it should not bounce up and down if the jars are sealed. If you can still pop it after a couple of hours, you may have to stick it in the fridge for consumption or back in the pressure cooker. Sometimes when there is debris on the edge of the jar it prevents the lid from sealing, so make sure your jar mouths are clean.
And this is your final result: