Saturday, August 7, 2010
Green Beans - a pressure canning tutorial
While I prefer the taste of frozen green beans we don't have nearly enough freezer space to freeze all of the produce we grow and also keep a good supply of local grass-fed meat.
So...we have to make some choices and one of those choices is to can up most of the green beans we grow. We always have a few meals of freshly picked and steamed green beans, but the bulk of the crop is washed, cut, and canned.
Because green beans by themselves have a low ph value they must be canned using a pressure canner in order to prevent hazardous bacteria growth.
The first step is always prepping the food. In the case of green beans I just cut off the ends and stem and chopped them in smaller pieces. Then I washed them well and drained them.
To can them I do the same sort of prep I always do when pressure canning.
I filled my pressure canner with about 1.5" of hot water and filled clean jars with water and placed them inside the canner. I put the lid on and turned the heat on the burner up to high. This warms the water in the canner and warms the jars so they're less likely to crack when I fill them with the green beans and boiling water.
Then I put a saucepan full of hot water on the range. I turned the heat on low and put the jar lids in it. They only need to be warmed. Warm lids are more likely to form a good seal.
Then I laid out my other canning equipment - a canning funnel, jar tongs, magnetic lid lifter, ladle (for scooping out boiling water), and jar rings.
For canning up green beans I also needed a pot of boiling water.
Then canning them is amazingly simple.
I used the jar tongs to lift one of the warmed jars out of the canner. I emptied the water into the sink. Then I filled the jar with green beans,
ladled it nearly full of boiling water (stopped at about an inch below the top of the jar), put on a lid and tightened it down with a ring.
Then I placed it back in the canner and repeated until all the jars were filled.
I can fit 7 quarts in my canner so that's how many I did in this batch.
The next step was to put the lid on the canner and tighten it down.
I made sure the heat was on high and waited for steam to come out of the vent pipe. Once I saw a steady stream of steam I set the timer for seven minutes. This is called venting the pressure canner. After those seven minutes were up I put the weight on the vent pipe at the 10 pound mark. Green beans need to process for 25 minutes (in quarts) at 10 pounds of pressure at my altitude.
I watched the pressure gauge and when it reached 10 pounds of pressure I set a timer for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes of processing I turned off the heat. When the pressure gauge returned to zero I unlocked the lid of the pressure canner and carefully removed it. Then I used the canning jar tongs to remove the jars and placed them on a repurposed piece of cardboard on the countertop to cool.
After they were completely cooled I removed the rings and checked the seals on the lids. Then I wiped down the jars and labeled them with the date and contents.
I ended up canning up two batches and the final tally for this day was 12 quarts and 1 pint of canned green beans.
I stored them on a shelf in our basement. Canned goods like a cool dark storage place and our basement is ideal.
- A 40 something mama meandering through life an 8 year old girl (the big girl) who is a ball of lightening and a 5 year old girl (the baby girl) who brightens our lives with her smiles. I'm grounded by my 40 something husband and partner (the hubster) whose quirky mannerisms brighten my days. Our family is rounded out with with an eclectic 21 year old boy-man (the boy) who I hardly ever right about now since he's off starting his own life.
I've been a single mama, married mama, divorced mama, career mama, SAHM, and WAHM. There was a short time of my life when I wasn't a mama, but that was a LONG time ago!
I hold an AA, BS, and MA and most say I'm wasting them by devoting my intellectual capabilities and energy in the nurture of the wee ones that I've been entrusted to raise, but there is nothing else I'd rather be doing these days. :)
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