Watch My Food Grow ~ A South Florida Raised Vegetable Garden

Florida Backyard Raised Vegetable Garden

Canning Green Beans

April 28th, 2013 by Lila Steinhoff

Prolific Green Beans

I have 10 green bean plants in my garden, and they are producing a prolific amount green beans every day.

green bean plant Green Beans on the Bush

When I planted, I figured 10 plants would be enough to have fresh green beans for supper a few nights a week. Boy, did I underestimate what they would produce.

Picking Daily

I have been picking half a gallon of green beans every day for two weeks.

fresh picked green beans

Fresh-picked Green Beans

Not only do I have more than enough for my table, I have given them away to neighbors, friends and relatives… and I still have way too many green beans. I don’t want anything growing in my garden to go to waste, so I decided that canning the green beans was the answer.

What Is Needed

I haven’t canned green beans in more than 30 years, but it seems to be like riding a bike… you never forget how. Besides a pressure cooker, I have two items that I have owned ever since I can remember… a jar mop to wash the jars and a jar wrench.

jar mop and jar 'tongs'Jar Wrench and Jar Mop

A jar wrench is actually used to open jars and bottles, but I have always used it to lift the jars from the pan after they have been processed… my own form of multi-purposing.

Use Clean Jars and Lids

The steps have been the same since I was a little girl snapping green beans and watching my grandmother, Christina Hoffman, can them.

canning jarsSterilized Canning Jars

First, wash and sterilize the canning  jars. The jars can be run through the dishwasher, but I washed mine with kitchen detergent and rinsed them with boiling water. Since I will not be cooking for more than two, I used pint jars.

Prepare the Green Beans

Wash the green beans, and snip the ends from them.

trimming green beansSnip End from Green Beans

Snap the beans into 1-inch to 1.5-inch pieces and put them into the jars.

put cut beans into jarsSnapped Green Beans

I add 1/4 teaspoon of salt to each pint jar, but they can be done without salt.

1/2 tspn salt in each pint jar1/4 Teaspoon Salt in Pint Jars

Fill the jars with boiling water, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top (called the head) of the jar for expansion while they cook.

pour boiling water into jarsFilling Jar with Boiling Water

Pressure Cooking

The jars must have lids and bands on them before they go into the pressure cooker. The lids must be sterilized, too.

boiling canning lidsBoiling Lids

I place the lids in a pan of boiling water. They continue to boil on very low heat until I take one out to place it on the jar and cover it with a screw band. Lifting the lid out with a fork and placing it on the jar with the prong of the fork  is the easiest way I have found to get the lid on the jar without touching the surface. Just be careful that the fork does not scratch the surface of the lid.

Into the Pressure Cooker

Place the bottom rack  in the cooker, and then place the jars into the pressure cooker which has about three inches of boiling water in it. Placing the jars in the cooker will raise the water level up around the jars. If the water comes up too high, take a soup ladle and remove enough to leave room for the steam.

pressure cooker with jarsPressure Cooker with Jars of Green Beans

Put the lid on the pressure cooker and begin timing when the steam comes out of the top and the pressure gauge is set. Green beans need 20 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure.

Completely Cool

When the jars are cooling on the counter, listen to the ‘pop’ of each lid as it seals itself… a sound of accomplishment and satisfaction.

canned beans coolingCanned Green Beans

When the jars are completely cooled, remove the bands carefully. If you prefer to leave the bands on, loosen them slightly to allow any water to evaporate so the bands don’t rust.

Thanksgiving Green Bean Casserole

bands removed and beans storedCanned Green Beans

As they sit on the shelf, I think of the green bean casserole everyone makes during the holidays. This year, they may not be French cut, but ours will be made from the green beans that came from my garden. How cool is that?!!?

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4 responses so far ↓

  • I have been looking for a jar mop for several years now. I had one for about 10 years and loved it! Now I am unable to find a new one. Do you have any idea where they can be found? I live in northeast Ohio and have been canning for over 35 years! Thanks

    • Sandi, I’m afraid I can’t help you. I have not seen a jar mop, other than mine, since I watched my grandmother can when I was a child… 55 years ago. I think the advent of dishwashers may have something to do with the mop’s availability.

      In all honesty, unless I have just a few, I do put my jars in the dishwasher to clean and disinfect them. This time, with the green beans, I had only six jars and used the jar mop. I have a lot of fond memories connected to something so mundane.

      Good luck on your search. If I ever see one, I will post it here.

  • What kind of green beans did you plant? Mine have never done that well. Maybe it was spacing? How far apart? I’d love to have your results!

    • Hi, Sarah.

      They were Blue Lake green beans. I can’t tell you what brand, because I have to admit to using the remaining seed from the previous year.

      I will tell you that I generally buy Ferry-Morse, Burpee or Lake Valley seeds. Most of these brands can be found at garden centers and places like Lowe’s or Walmart that have a garden departments.

      The seeds were planted 1.5 inches deep and about 3 inches apart. Green beans like to be crowded. Of course, leave enough room between rows to walk to pick the beans. Beans like water, especially when they are sprouting. They like warm weather, but if it gets really hot, they will quit producing rather quickly.

      Since green beans produce their harvest all at once, a trick to having green beans all growing season is to plant a small patch every two weeks or so.

      In addition to what I have listed here, I know a great website that answers a lot of gardening questions. They have tons more information on growing green beans. Give them a look: http://www.weekendgardener.net/vegetable-gardening-tips/growing-bush-beans-061006.htm

      Good luck with your garden.