Sunday, August 26, 2012

Canning beans . . . what happened?

My garden has been offering up a bounty of green beans.  Consequently, I've been canning a lot of beans . . . water pack, dilly beans, spicy pickled beans.  

This is my first year growing and canning beans, so this is all new to me.  I'm not new to canning but I am newish to pressure canning.  I was surprised when I noticed that in some of my jars a lot of the water had boiled out.  Why is that?  

Well . . . it's my own fault.  My impatience and inexperience . . . thankfully the beans sealed up okay and they will keep okay but will probably discolor due to the lack of liquid. 

According to the Presto (manufacturer of pressure canners) FAQ on pressure canning this is what causes jars to lose liquid during processing . . . 

• Jars were packed too solidly with food or were overfilled. Allow 1/2-inch headspace for all fruits and tomatoes, and 1-inch headspace for vegetables, meat, poultry, and seafood. This is necessary since food expands during canning.
• Exhaust period was insufficient.

• Pressure regulator on the weighted gauge canner rocked vigorously during processing. It should maintain a slow, steady rocking motion.
• An unsteady heat source or steam leakage caused a fluctuation of pressure during processing.
• Removing or bumping the pressure regulator before pressure has completely dropped. Pressure should always drop of its own accord.
• Uneven pressure from rapid temperature changes or drafts blowing on the canner.
• Lids were not adjusted according to manufacturer’s directions.
• Failure to precook food before packing in jars thus allowing shrinkage to occur in the jar. It is especially important to preheat fruit.
• Failure to allow the canner to remain closed for 10 minutes after pressure has completely dropped.

What I did was the last one . . . I didn't  know that the canner should remain closed for 10 minutes after releasing pressure.  I thought that once the pressure was at zero it was safe to open the canner and remove the jars.  So, now I know better and the next time I can beans they'll be perfect   . . .   I hope.  :)

1 comment:

  1. Ah, so that's what went wrong with my ratatouille! I'm also new to pressure canning, and my wonderfully helpful, if overeager, husband assisted me in canning 7 quarts of ratatouille the other night, but did not allow for the 10 minutes or for the pressure to drop on it's own...thankfully all our jars sealed. Thanks for solving my mystery!