It is officially harvest season around here. The garden produce is flooding into the kitchen and every day I am putting up some form of produce. Storing green beans is what I was working on last week!
I have harvested all my cabbages, potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, cauliflower, and the few heads of broccoli that I got.
This past week I harvested all my green beans. There were so many of them and I was able to put up 6 quarts this round! I did 4 quarts the first round.
Green beans are on our favorite foods list around here, so I don’t want any to go to waste and I want to pick all of them.
Last year I had a hard time getting any green beans. By the end of the season I think I got 4-5 plants that produced a handful of fresh green beans that we got to enjoy. It was rough.
This year God blessed me abundantly and I am excited to share how I am storing green beans this year!
What types of green beans should you grow?
There are two types of green beans you can grow, with a number of varieties in each! You can either grow a bush bean, which will grow in the form of a large bush and you do not need a trellis. Or you can grow pole beans, which will grow up on a vine and need some form of a trellis.
I have grown both but I always feel like my pole beans have done better then my bush beans, in terms of the quantity. The struggle with the pole beans is letting them get too big before picking. They are like string beans when they get to that point and there are a lot of strings to pull out.
The varieties I grew this year were a blue lake bush bean, a golden wax beans (bush), and a Kentucky wonder pole bean. I love to grow my pole beans on a hog panel that we have hooped over and stakes down. That is where I grow my sugar peas, cucumbers, green beans, and okra!
Ways to preserve green beans.
Of course our favorite way to eat green beans is fresh. There is just nothing better then fresh beans. In fact my oldest daughter would actually prefer to eat them raw rather then cooked anyways. Whenever we are snapping beans to get ready to can I always have to tell her, “stop eating all the green beans!”
Although, I can’t really blame her!
Although fresh is our favorite, that doesn’t work well when you grow an abundance. A lot would go to waste if you were only eating them fresh. There are a couple ways to preserve your green beans.
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First you can freeze them in large freezer bags. To do this you will want to snap the ends off and snap them into the size you want. Wash them well. Then blanch them for 3 minutes in boiling water and quickly move them to an ice bath. Lay them on a baking sheet in a single layer and freezer them for 20 to 30 minutes. Then place them in a freezer bag, label with year and contents, and store in freezer for later use.
Another method you could use is to ferment them. Fermenting foods is a great way to get some probiotic snacks into your diet. One of our favorite recipes for fermented beans is Fermented Garlic Green Beans in Melissa K. Norris’ new book, Everything Worth Preserving. I highly recommend her book for all your preserving needs!
But our favorite way, and I feel is the best way, is to pressure can the beans. The beans keep their fresh flavor and it is so simple. My husband grew up on canned green beans from the grocery store, so he prefers them this way because it reminds him of when he was young.
I always add salt to my jars of green beans, but that is completely optional.
What pressure canner should you use?
You can use any form of pressure canner you have to can green beans. But remember green beans have to be pressure canned, they can not be water bath canned. I have used my All American pressure canner and I have used my Denali Canning pressure canner.
The video below shows you how to do this method with the Denali Canning pressure canner. It is the only canner I am using right now because it is suitable for my glass top stove. In fact, the Denali Canning pressure canner is suitable for all stove tops! You can use it on glass top, induction, or gas. It is really simple to use, however it is slightly different then the All American so make sure to watch the video!
I also use Denali Canning’s lids and rings. They use a preserve lock seal so all my jars seal with ease.
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- Fresh green beans (any variety)
- salt (optional)
- boiling water
How to Pressure Can Green Beans:
- Pick all your own green beans from your garden or find a local farmer’s market where you can get a large amount. The pounds of green beans doesn’t really matter because the process is the same whether you have 1 jar or 8 jars. This process is so easy, I usually do multiple pickings throughout the canning season as they are ready.
- Wash all your mason jars and lids well with warm soap water and set in a sink full of hot water to stay warm.
- Take your large bowl of fresh uncooked green beans and snap the ends of the beans off, along with snapping them into the length of the beans you want. I always get the girls to help me with this and it goes so fast! We snap them into about 1 inch pieces.
- Wash your green beans really well.
- Place a kettle on your stove with water and bring it to a boil. If you don’t have a kettle,. you can use a large pot of water and ladle the boiling water into your jars.
- Remove jars from the sink and using a wide mouth funnel, fill each jar with raw green beans. Really stuff them in there because when they cook in the canner they will start to float.
- Add 1 tsp of salt for quart jars and 1/2 tsp of salt for pint jars on top of your green beans. This is optional but they do bring the beans lots of flavor.
- Fill each jar with boiling water leaving a 1″ head space.
Placing your lids and rings on:
- Taking the back of a wooden spoon or a bubble popper canning tool stick it into each jar a couple times to remove any air bubbles.
- Use a clean damp dish towel and wipe each of the rims clean. This is an important step to make sure you get any particles off the rims or they won’t seal.
- Place your lids on and screw bands on fingertip tight. This just means as soon as you feel resistance, stop.
Getting Jars in the Canner:
- Fill your canner with several inches of water. You do not want your jars to be completely submerged in water.
- Place each of your jars into the canner, making sure they have room in between each jar. You do not want your jars to be touching. The Denali Canner can fit 7 quart jars and 8 pints.
- Place your lid on and slide into place. The weighted gauge should be on for the Denali canner. Check your elevation on if you need to use a 10lb weight or a 15lb weight. In Missouri I use a 15lb weight.
- Turn your stove on to medium heat. The Denali Canning pressure canner has an automatic vent, so it will vent on it’s own. Once it is done venting, it will seal off and start to build pressure.
- When you hear the first sound of the jiggle/hum start your timer. Process quart jars for 25 minutes and pint jars for 20 minutes. Processing times will remain the same regardless of your elevation. Your weight is what changes in pressure canning depending on where you are located at.
- Once your timer goes off, turn your stove off and let it come down from pressure slowly. DO NOT open the lid or remove the canner from the heat.
- Once the dial gauge reads zero wait a MINIMUM of 20 minutes before opening the lid. I find the longer it sits undisturbed the easier the lid comes off. I always wait at least an hour.
- Open the lid and remove the jars using a jar lifter onto a clean dish towel. Let sit on the counter undisturbed for 12-24 hours.
- Check seals, remove rings, label jars with year and contents, and place on shelf in a cool, dark, dry place. The shelf life is 12 months but I usually go longer if they last that long!
Our favorite way to eat our canned green beans.
Our favorite way to eat green beans is with some add ins! We like to place a couple tablespoons of butter into a pot and add some diced onion and bacon. Cook them until the bacon is cooked all the way and your onions are soft and translucent.
Add in your canned green beans, fresh green beans, or frozen beans to the pot. Depending on which one you are using will depend on the amount of time it takes to cook the beans. If you are using canned they won’t take long because they are already cooked from the canner. Frozen and fresh will take longer.
You can also season with salt and pepper to taste but I find with the canned ones they don’t need it since I add salt to the jars before canning.
Serve as a side with any meat and your family will love these delicious green beans!
We also love to add them to a stir fry with meat and other vegetables. Once you have the green beans canned and ready, the possibilities are endless.
Next time you come across a large amount of green beans for sale or want to grow them in your garden, try storing green beans by pressure canning them. It’s simple, fast and you will have green beans for months to come!