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Canning green beans is a summer ritual at our house. When the garden is in full production, we may can 15-20 pints of beans every three or four days. Once beans start bearing, you have to pick them about every 3 days to keep up. But it's worth all the effort, when we get to enjoy eating our own home grown and home canned green beans year 'round
Green beans are easy to can, and are an inexpensive way to add to your self sufficiency skills. Here's how...
-Large stock pot
-Small sauce pan
-Canning lids and rings
-Magnetic lid wand
-A couple of old towels or scrap rags
-Rinse loose soil from the beans.
-Break off stem ends, and break beans into about 1" lengths.
Most people also remove the blossom ends from the beans. We never do. The pods are edible all the way to the end, so it seems wasteful not to use them.
-Remove any strings and bad places.
-Rinse the cleaned and broken beans again.
A note about growing green beans...We prefer to grow stringless green beans. A couple of varieties I like are Blue Lake and Kentucky Wonder. Both grow well and are hardy. Even these varieties develop strings if you let the pods get too big.
Pick beans when they are about the diameter of a pencil or standard ink pen, and strings shouldn't be a problem. Doing this also seems to encourage the plants to continue to produce.
If you do get some pods that have
gotten too large, you can shell the beans out, and add them to the
canning batch. For more information on growing green beans you can go to my
Growing Beans page.
-Wash canning jars, lids, and rings, rinse and dry.
-Prepare a couple of extra jars, in case you need them.
-Prepare the small sauce pan with about 2" of water.
-Fill stock pot with water and bring it to a boil.
-Put about 3 inches of water in the pressure canner
-Place the canner on stove, and begin bringing the water to a boil.
-By the time the jars are filled, the canner should be boiling.
-Bring the small sauce pan to a boil and remove from the heat.
-Place the dome lids in the pan.
-Fill each jar with beans leaving about 3/4 to 1 inch of headspace.
-Add 1/2 teaspoon canning salt to each pint or 1 teaspoon per quart.
-Add enough boiling water to cover the beans.
-Wipe the rims of each jar with a damp cloth or paper towel.
-Assemble the lids and rings and apply to filled jars.
-Tighten the lids to hand tight.
Follow the instruction manual for your canner, but basically you have to do the following:
-Place jars in the canner and lock down the lid.
-Vent canner for 7 to 10 minutes
-Process at 10 PSI - pints for 20 minutes and quarts for 25 minutes.
-When done allow pressure to drop off naturally.
-Remove jars and place on old towel or scrap rags on your counter to cool.
Jars should begin sealing within a few minutes, but wait until they have cooled to room temperature to be sure. Any jars that do not seal will have to be either eaten right away (within 24 hours) or refrigerated and eaten with in a week or two. Jars that don't seal are fairly uncommon if you follow instructions, but it does happen occasionally. When the odd one doesn't seal, just think of it as a quality check of your work!
Assuming that you already have all of your equipment and canning jars (the reusable stuff), the cost of canned green beans is considerably less than buying from a store.
-A bushel of green beans weighs approximately 30 pounds,and will cost around $30.00 from a farmer's market.
-It takes about 3/4 pounds of beans per pint, so you should get about 40 pints from a bushel.
If you grow your own, you only have the cost of seeds (1/4 pound of seeds cost around $2.50.)
You could get considerably more than a bushel of beans from 1/4 pounds of seed, but for now assume you only get one bushel.
-Average cost for a can of green beans from the store = around $1.25.
-Cost of buying and canning green beans = about 75 cents per pint.
-Cost of growing your own and canning them = about 7 cents per pint.