We did it!
For the first time in 3 years we outsmarted the bunnies, overcame the weeds, and even avoided the bugs – and we finally have green beans. LOTS of green beans.
I dusted off my pressure canner and started in.
First you need to pick the beans. This is a good job for the young-uns.
Young, tender beans work the best. Make sure you get the entire stem end when you pick, then the plant will produce more beans.
(Unless of course you are up to your eyebrows in green beans – in which case – don’t worry about it!)
Once the beans are harvested, it’s time to snap and sort them. This is another good job for the young’uns. I put a towel or sheet down on the living room floor and let them watch a movie while they are snapping. It works so well – I actually have kids volunteer for this job!
We only snap the blossom end off – leaving the tail. It tastes great and saves time, so why take it off?
When the beans are snapped and sorted (throw out any that have spots or marks, and any that are too big or too small), you need to wash them well.
Now you are ready to can.
You will need clean canning jars (either pints or quarts), a jar funnel, a ladle, a jar lifter, salt, canning rings and your washed and snapped beans.
I should add here that it is important to only use real canning jars when pressure canning. Old mayo jars just aren’t strong enough to take the pressure.
You will also need to put your canning flats in water and boil them slightly to soften the rubber.
And of course – the most important piece of equipment is the canner. I love my All-American Pressure Cooker/Canner with the explosion proof top. After receiving a severe burn as a newlywed with a borrowed pressure canner, my husband bought me this canner and it has seen a lot of use!
Read your directions carefully before beginning. A pressure canner is a wonderful tool – but it can be dangerous!
I put mine on the stove with about a quart of water on the bottom.
Now we’re ready to fill those jars.
First I fill them with boiling water and let them sit for a minute to sterilize them.
Then I pour the water out and use the canning funnel to fill the jars with beans. I add 1 teaspoon of salt to a quart jar or 1/2 teaspoon of salt for every pint.
Then I carefully ladle in boiling water, stopping 1/2 inch from the top of the jar (that’s called the head space).
This next step is very important! Take a clean damp cloth and wipe the very top of the jar. If there is anything on the jar, even a small grain of salt, the flat may not seal. Then carefully place one of the softened flats on the top of the jar.
Then I place a ring on the jar and tighten slightly. This jar is ready for the canner!
Using my jar lifter, I put the jar carefully in the canner and repeat the process until my canner is full.
Once the canner is full it is very important that you carefully read the instructions for your canner.
You will need to carefully put the top on and seal it.
Watch the pressure gauge carefully. The beans need to be at 10 pounds of pressure.
Once you reach the 10 pound mark, set your timer for 20 minutes if they are in pints and 25 minutes if they are in quarts. Adjust the heat under the canner to maintain the correct pressure.
Watch that valve very carefully! If too much pressure builds up – the canner can blow!
After the time is up, turn the burner off under the canner and let it cool. DO NOT TOUCH THE LID!
Wait until the pressure gauge reads 0 pounds of pressure. Then release the lid according to directions and carefully remove the jars using the jar lifter.
I let them cool on a clean towel out of the way on my counter for at 24 hours without moving them.
To store, I just remove the ring, wipe down the jars and date them. Then they are carefully carried down to the cool, dry pantry were they will be appreciated and enjoyed all winter long!