Saturday, August 25, 2012

Cold Packed Canned Green Beans

Canning green beans is just about as easy as growing them.  They are a great starter crop for a new gardener and they are also a good vegetable to learn how to pressure can with.

Green beans . . . water packed . . . must be pressure canned due to their low acidity.  

Green beans can be either hot packed or cold packed.  I prefer cold (raw) packed green beans because I will be using them in recipes and they will be less cooked than if I were to hot pack them.  It's also less work up front.

Equipment you will need:

Pressure Canner (I use an All American model 915. An excellent canner, by the way!)
Pint or quart canning jars (quart jars are more economical but for me pint jars are a good serving size so that's what I use for beans.)
Large spoons and ladles
Lids and Rings
Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars)
Lid lifter
1 small pot to sanitize the lids
Jar funnel

I've been told you don't need to sanitize the jars before pressure canning; however, I think it's a good practice . . . better to be safe than sorry.

Sanitizing the jars kills any fungus and bacteria to prevent spoilage.  You can use the dishwasher for this if you have an extra hot or sanitize cycle, but you can boil them in the canner while your prepping your beans, which is what I usually do.

If you're using the canner, fill the jars with water and place them in the canner.  Then fill the canner with water  until it is over the tops of the jars and bring to a boil.  You will only need about 3 inches of water for the actual canning process but you can dump out the excess water before you put in your filled jars.  Otherwise, fill the canner about half full and bring to a boil.

Put the lids into the small pot of boiling water for at least several minutes.  

Wash beans in cold water and snap or cut them to the desired size . . . I typically cut mine into 2-inch pieces because they fit nicely into the jar.  

Pack the jars tightly with the raw cut beans.  I add a bit of salt into each of the jars . . . use kosher or canning salt NOT table salt.  

Cover with boiling water leaving 1-inch head space.

After your jars have been filled you will need to remove air bubbles by running a utensil down inside the jar between the jar and the beans  . . . a plastic knife or rubber spatula works well for this.
Wipe the rims of your jars clean then top the jars with the canning lids and rings. 

Place filled jars in a pressure canner.  Bring the water to a boil and put the lid on and lock it down.  Vent the canner for 10 minutes.

After venting, start your timer for the processing time - 20 minutes for pints and 25 minutes for quarts.

Adjustments for Pressure Canner
Altitude in Feet
Dial Gauge Canner
Weighted Gauge Canner

If you live above 1000 feet elevation you need to figure your altitude adjustments canning. As your altitude goes above 1000 feet above sea level the atmospheric pressure is reduced. This causes water to boil at temperatures lower than 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

For safety in water bath canning you must bring the contents of your jar to at least 212 degrees Fahrenheit. To compensate for the temperature difference you must increase processing time.

The pressure canner is also affected by atmospheric pressures. A pressure canner must reach a temperature of 240 degrees Fahrenheit in order to stop botulism. To compensate for altitude differences, you must increase the amount of pressure used. The time does not change, only the pressure used.

Once processing time is up, vent the canner to release the pressure.  Make  sure the pressure gauge is down to zero before removing the lid.

Place the jars in a draft free area and leave undisturbed for at least twelve hours.  At that point, you can remove the rings.  Test to make sure the jars are sealed by pressing down on the middle of the lid.  If isn't sucked down then put the jar in the fridge and use as soon as possible.

Otherwise, place your jars in a cool dark place for storage.