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Hey there! Hopefully, you’ve learned the benefits of growing a garden, and you’ve taken the plunge into growing your own. And now, you’re ready to preserve some of the food from your garden.
One of the garden plants that I’ve found that is easy to grow is green beans! And not only are they easy to grow, but they are also extremely easy to can and save all year long!
Canning fresh green beans is not only super easy, but it will also save you a ton of money! We’ve been canning fresh green beans from our garden for several years. Some years that aren’t so good, we have about 35 quarts canned for the year. In other years, we can over 85 quarts!
Would you like to know my super-simple steps for canning all these green beans for my family? Here are all the supplies you’ll need to can your own green beans. Then keep reading to find out how to do it!!!
- Buckets of green beans
- Bowls to hold broken green beans
- Quart canning jars (narrow or wide mouth)
- Canning lids in either size
- Canning rings in either size
- Kitchen sink
- Small paring knife
- Wooden butter knife or similar narrow tool
- Jar funnel
- Pressure canner
- Jar remover
Break the Green Beans
I talked in my last post about picking green beans at the right time. If you need more info on that click here to read my post on gardening tips. So after you’ve picked the green beans, it’s time to break them.
Breaking the green beans is a very important part of canning fresh green beans. You need to break them into small enough pieces to fit nicely into your quart canning jars. I usually break my beans into halves or fourths, depending on the size. You also need to break off the ends of the beans.
Something else I do at this time is to look for bug bites or other imperfections in my beans. If they don’t break with a nice crisp “snap” they are either not ready to can or are too old and dried out, I toss those. When I see bug holes, I try to break that part off of the bean. I also look inside the bean to see what it looks like near where I broke. If it’s all brown and yucky, I toss those too! All the bad parts of the green beans can be thrown out or put into a compost pile.
I like to use this breaking time as my first “weeding out” (no pun intended) of less desirable beans. My goal is to have fewer beans to cut or throw out when I wash them in the next step. When my husband and kids break green beans, they tend to skip over some of the spots I would cut out. That’s okay. But when I break green beans, I want to get rid of as many problems as I can.
Wash Before Canning Fresh Green Beans
Now we move on to the washing of the broken green beans. I usually wash the beans right before I can them. If you don’t have time to wash and can them right after breaking, they will stay good in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
I will use my sink to wash the green beans, so I make sure to sterilize the sink before dumping them into it. On one side of my sink, I dump the beans. In the other, I fill it about half full of lukewarm water.
Next, I start going through the beans. I grab them by the handful and sift through them, with clean hands, of course! Any good beans, I drop them into the sink of water. For the beans that have a bad spot that was missed, I set them aside on the edge of the sink by the beans. I keep doing this step until I have a small pile of beans that need help.
This step is a time-saver for me. I could stop and take care of each bean with spots when I see it. I’ve tried it that way, and it takes up too much time. So, I set them aside and tackle the pile at once.
When going through these spotty beans, I use a short paring knife. It helps me cut out any bad spots on the green beans. If a really bad bean has slipped through I simply toss it. I don’t need to waste time cutting tons of holes out of a 2-inch bean piece. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Sterilize Your Lids and Jars
Once I’ve transferred all of the beans from one side to the other, I wash them through the water again. This gives me a chance to look them over one last time before the canning begins!
Fill the Jars with Green Beans
The next step to canning fresh green beans is filling the jars. This is such an exciting step! Your hard work will soon pay off!
Before you fill the jars, you’ll want to sterilize them. Running them through the dishwasher is a great way to do this. It’s good to have hot jars before canning, so coordinating your bean washing with the time the jars finish will make this step easier.
My pressure canner will hold seven one quart jars at a time. So I put 7 at a time in the sink. Be sure to put the stopper in the sink below them. You don’t lose any beans!
A neat tool I use in this step is a jar funnel. This funnel is the perfect size for fitting into both narrow and wide mouth quart jars. It also belonged to my granny. She’s been gone since I was 5. Every time I use it canning fresh green beans, I feel a little more connected to her!
So I grab handfuls of green beans from the sink and start putting them into the jar with the funnel. Then I fill each jar to the bottom lip of its mouth. That’s the bottom part where the cap screws on. Once I fill all of the jars with green beans, I look for any beans in the bottom of the sink and put those in there too.
Finish and Seal the Jars
At this point, I add about a teaspoon of salt to each jar. This adds a little flavor, and some say it helps the canning process. I learned to can with a little salt, so that’s what I use.
Next, you’ll fill the jars with hot water up to the bottom lip of the mouth. Some canners say to use boiling water. Since I always can the green beans using pressure and plenty of time, I just use hot water.
When adding the salt and the water to your jars, you might have some air bubbles hiding in there. These air bubbles are NOT good for canning, so it’s important to remove them. Simply take a flat utensil and skim it down the inside of the jars on all four sides.
At first, I used a butter knife because that’s all I had. But then I read that the metal could cause damage to my jars. So, I started using a bamboo knife which works very well. Anything like this, such as chopsticks, will work just as well. You can also buy your own “de-bubbler” at most grocery and canning supply stores. Yes, that’s what it is really called lol!
Next it’s time to add the lids and rings. Just like the jars, before you use your lids, you’ll want to sterilize them too.
Once I add the lids, I wipe down the jars and seal them with the rings. Be sure you have the right types of rings and lids for your jars. There are two types; wide-mouth and regular-mouth. In the past, I’ve realized mid-canning that I don’t have enough of the correct lids. So it’s good to have plenty of these two items before you start canning fresh green beans.
Begin Canning Fresh Green Beans
It’s time to start canning your beans!!! First, you need to add water to your canner, usually an inch or less in the bottom. My canner has a little mark that shows how high to fill. You’ll also want to be sure that you use the flat bottom stabilizer at the bottom of your canner. This makes sure your jars remain level throughout the canning process.
I carefully add my seven jars to the canner and lock the lid onto it. Then, I turn the burner on high. As the pressure begins to build, I put the sealing cap on the valve at the top. This cap will help my canner pressurize much faster.
Once your canner seals, you’ll want to keep an eye on it. You need to watch the pressure increase on the pressure meter. For my canner, 10 psi is the best setting for canning fresh green beans. At this point, I turn the heat down to low and set a timer for 30 minutes.
Keep Your Pressure Steady
This is not the time to walk away and forget your canner! Your canner needs to stay on that 10 psi for the whole 30 minutes. If it drops too low, your green beans won’t can properly. If the psi gets too high you can have an explosion!!!
I’ve never had a disaster, but I have walked away from my canner a few times. Coming back to find the meter in the caution area is not awesome! It’s best to simply stay in the kitchen and wait out the thirty minutes. That way you can adjust the heat and keep your pressure steady.
Release Pressure and Remove Jars Safely
When the 30 minutes are up, I turn off the stove burner and allow the canner to release its pressure naturally for a few minutes. I don’t remove the valve cap yet. This gives the green beans a few more minutes of pressure. It helps ensure that they have been canned long enough.
After about 15 minutes I will take the cap off and release the rest of the pressure quickly. Be sure to wear oven mitts when removing the valve. The steam that will shoot out is VERY HOT!!!
I continue to wait as the remaining pressure is released and the seal is finally broken.
If I don’t have another set of green beans waiting, then I will let those jars set inside the canner for up to an hour. Whenever I’m ready, I use my jar remover to safely lift the jars out of the canner. This is another tool my mom passed down to me from my granny, and it’s super useful!
Allow Remaining Jars to Seal On Your Counter
The secret to canning fresh green beans is the lid sealing properly! This seal means that you can keep your green beans over a year, and they will still be good to eat.
One way to tell if your jars have sealed is by hearing a “pop” come from them. This “pop” is the lid vacuum-sealing to the jar. You might hear some of the jars sealing while still inside the canner. The rest of your jars will probably seal overnight on your counter.
Sometimes you might have a jar that doesn’t seal at all. Even though it didn’t can, the beans are still good to eat. Simply put them in the refrigerator and eat them in the next few days.
Once my sealed jars cool, I write the year on the lid. This helps my family be sure to eat up all of last year’s green beans first!
Enjoy Your Fresh Green Beans For Months to Come!
That’s it! That’s all there is to canning fresh green beans! Canning isn’t very hard, and it saves us a TON of money on our groceries each year. Plus, I always have a side dish on hand. I know where it came from, so I can feel confident eating my own green beans!
Now you’re ready to can your own green beans, fresh from the garden! Be sure to comment below if you have a question or comment about canning green beans. I’d love to help you start canning!