Canning your own green beans doesn’t have to be intimidating. Learn how to preserve all the green beans you want!
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Canning green beans is more of a process than it is a recipe. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Canning Tools (tongs, lid wand and more)
- Pressure Canner
- Pint canning jars (or quart) with lids/rings (jars and lids should be clean and inspected for any damage prior to use)
- kitchen towels
- fresh, tender green beans – washed, trimmed, de-stringed, and snapped/cut into 2 inch pieces
- salt (optional)
- boiling water
- white vinegar in a small dish
- damp rag
First of all, when you are canning any kind of food, always read through the entire instructions before even starting. That way you have an idea already of what will be taking place and won’t forget anything.
Always inspect your pressure canner prior to use. If yours has a rubber gasket, make sure it is clean and not damaged, and make sure that all the parts are in good shape and properly attached.
Still not sure you want to can green beans? Freeze them instead! Learn how here: How to Freeze Green Beans
How to Can Green Beans
- First, start a pot of boiling water. This will be added to the jars as you fill them.
- Place your jars in your pressure canner with some water and turn on the stove to get them hot. You don’t have to sterilize them because they are being pressure canned. However, they do need to be hot because you will be adding the boiling water to them. Use jar tongs to move the hot jars in and out of the canner.
- Line your work space with a kitchen towel. This does two things. First, it absorbs any water that drips from your ladle, keeping the surface manageable. Second, it creates a buffer between the counter (which my be cold) and the hot jars.
- Fill each jar with green beans, packing them in tightly, and leaving an inch of head space. Head space is the distance between the top of the food to the top of the jar.
- If you are canning in pint jars, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the jar. If canning in quart jars, add 1 teaspoon. The salt is optional and only for flavor, it is not vital for the preservation of the beans. You can omit it if you wish.
- Ladle in boiling water and fill to the head space.
- Using a “bubble wand”, slide it in around the beans pressing the beans into the jar and allowing any air bubbles to escape.
- Adjust the water level if you need to in order to return it to 1 inch of head space.
- Dip the damp cloth in a little white vinegar and wipe the rim of the jar to ensure there is no residue. Oils, or anything like that, could hinder your jar from sealing properly.
- Place your lid and ring on the jar, then tighten it finger tight. Place the jar back into the pressure canner. Repeat the above process with all of you beans.
Now that your beans are ready to can, fill the pressure canner with hot water to the fill line. Inside your pressure canner is a line that marks where the water should come to. Depending upon your canner, this might be difficult to see, so you may want to look for it and know where it is before you even start.
Place the lid on your canner, locking it into place. Turn your stove up to high heat to bring the water inside to a boil and begin building pressure. DO NOT place the weight on yet.
Once the canner vents a steady stream of steam, set a timer for 10 minutes. This allows the canner’s environment to reach the correct internal temperature.
After 10 minutes, carefully place your weight/rocker on the vent.
Green beans should be canned at 10-11 psig. If you live more than 1000 above sea level, you will need to make a few adjustments. Adjustments are needed for both pressure and hot water bath canning, so know your elevation. For hot water bath canning, you adjust the time. For pressure canning, you adjust the pressure.
Pressures Based on Elevation:
- 1001-3000 ft – pressure can at 12 psig
- 3001-5000 ft – pressure can at 13 psig
- 5001-7000 ft – pressure can at 14 psig
- 7001+ ft – pressure can at 15 psig
Once the pressure has reached the appropriate level for your elevation, start your timer.
Green Bean Processing Times:
- 20 minutes if canning pints.
- 25 minutes if canning quarts.
Adjust the heat of the stove to maintain the pressure at the appropriate level.
If you are using a weighted canner, (like my favorite All American Canners) this is a fairly easy process. Simply adjust the heat so that the weight rocks (vents bursts of steam) 2-3 times per minute.
When your time is done, turn off the heat and allow the canner to cool and the pressure to come down naturally.
Do not vent the lid to release the pressure faster.
While that is something that is easily and safely done with pressure cooking, if you do it with a pressure canner, the pressure can drop too quickly causing your jars to not seal properly. Just be patient. You’ve hovered over the stove monitoring the heat & pressure – go get a cup of coffee, vacuum the house, or do something else for a while.
When the canner has cooled and the pressure has dropped to zero, wait 2 more minutes.
Remove the weight from the vent and open the lid.
Let the jars inside rest for 10 minutes.
With your jar tongs, carefully remove each jar placing them on a towel-lined surface (or on a rack) out of the way and away from drafts.
Leave the jars untouched for 24 hours.
After 24 hours, remove the rings and check each lid to be sure it sealed. To do this, simply press down in the center of the lid with your finger. It should feel firmly pulled down into the jar. If it bends and buckles, the jar is not sealed. Or you can simply lift the jar by the lid. If the lid stays on, you’re good!
Label your jars with the contents and date, then store them away in your pantry to enjoy all year.
The method above is called the “Raw Pack” method of canning green beans.
Just a Few Notes about Canning Green Beans
There are many people out there that insist that green beans can be canned in a hot water bath canner. And yes, while that may be how your great-granny always did it, science has shown that it is not the best or safest way to do so.
Green beans are a low acid food. All low acid foods must be pressure canned. Hot water bath canning simply does not reach the internal temperature that is hot enough to kill bacteria like botulism: a tasteless, colorless, odorless, and deadly bacteria.
I am a big rule breaker when it comes to lots of things in the kitchen, but not when it comes to things like this. The health and well-being of my family comes first.
Watch Me Can Green Beans in the Video Below!
This article was originally written in 2017, and updated with more information, photos and new video in 2021.