Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Canning Green Beans

I requested and received a pressure canner for my birthday back in January for this summer so that I could can green beans.  I've never been happy with how my frozen beans turn out.  They always seem to get freezer burnt, and it's almost the same amount of work to blanch and cool and bag them as it is to can them.  Since you can only do low-acidity vegetables like green beans in a pressure canner, I was anxious to give pressure canning a try.

First I snapped all of the green beans' ends off.  You can use a knife or just snap them with your fingers.  You can leave the beans whole length, or cut them into one-inch pieces.  I think you fit more in a jar if you break them into smaller pieces, so that's what I did.  Snapping beans is somewhat rough on your hands.  I told Eric that pretty soon my hands are going to resemble that of our Amish neighbor's wife!

Rinse the beans in a colander.  Clean your jars and put the lids in a pan to heat up (but not boil).  I got the water in the pressure canner heating but was careful to not let all of the water evaporate up out of it.  My pressure canner's directions said to put 3 quarts of water in.

I then started packing green beans into the warm jars.  I put about 1/2 tsp of salt into the top of each jar and then used the funnel to pour boiling water over them 1 inch from the top. I've also learned that as long as you aren't doing too big of a batch, you can use a tea kettle to pour the water.  Much easier to handle than a full pot of boiling water.

Wipe the rims and place the lids and bands on each jar just like you do with water bath canning. 

Make sure you follow the directions that came with your pressure canner.  You basically allow the canner to heat up on medium to high heat until a steady steam comes from the vent.  You let it vent for 10 minutes, then put the pressure regulator over the vent.  This will start the process of allowing the pressure to build up in the canner.  You will see the plug pop up when pressure has filled the canner, and then the guage will start to move higher.  Allow the pressure to build to the proper pounds of pressure that the recipe calls for.  For green beans, this was 11 pounds of pressure.  It is a little tricky to keep the pounds of pressure on the right level (not too high and not too low), but you can do this with adjusting the flame of the burner.  For green beans you process for 20 minutes, then remove the canner from the stove.  Allow the pressure to go down on its own, then you can remove the pressure regulator and open the lid to remove your jars. 

I've been doing about 5-7 pint jars at a time.  It really is not difficult, and now we will have beans throughout the long winter!

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