Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Canning Green Beans

Our Romano Italian Bush Beans have been producing very well.  After 2 harvests, a few days apart, I had
5 1/2 pounds of beans.  I wanted to can them to save for later use.

The first harvest of Romano Italian Bush Beans

I rinsed the beans in cold water, trimmed the ends off and cut them into 1 1/2 - 2 inch pieces.  Then they were placed in a large stock pot with cold water, brought to a boil and simmered for 5 minutes.

5 1/2 pounds of beans waiting to be trimmed, cooked & processed

I then filled 4 hot pint jars with the beans and then filled with the hot cooking water, leaving 1 inch headspace.  Lids and bands were placed on the jars and then the jars were placed in a pressure canner.  A pressure canner is a must for processing low acid foods.  A water bath canner can not reach the high temperatures needed to kill bacteria in low acid foods.

3 of 11 pints processed

The jars were processed for 20 minutes (follow instructions for your particular pressure canner). After 20  minutes, the pressure canner was removed from the heat and left to sit while the canner depressurized.  This took an hour.  The lid of the canner was removed and again the jars sat for a few more minutes.  Once the jars were removed, they were left to sit for 24 hours at room temp.
*Once the jars are removed from your canner, begin filling 4 more jars -or however many jars your canner holds- with beans and repeating the process until you've canned all of your beans.

Labels clearly indicating type of bean, date & batch number

After the jars sat for 24 hours, I removed the rings, checked the seals and gently washed the jars to remove any residue from leaking liquid during processing.  I washed and dried the rings as well and then labeled the jars.  I decided to label mine with their batch number (batch #3 in this photo).  In case there is a problem with a jar, we can easily check the other jars processed in the same batch.
On this particular day, I processed 11 pints of beans.  It took a full day, but is well worth it.  As I type this, I have plenty more beans in the refrigerator waiting to be processed and more in the garden that will need picking in the next day or so.

If you decide to pressure can low acid foods, follow the instructions for your particular pressure canner and recipe.  There was definitely a learning curve with processing these beans.  I hadn't used my pressure canner in about 6 years.  Adjusting the heat on the stove to maintain proper pressure was tricky in the first batch and the jars lost a bit of liquid.  The 2nd and 3rd batches came out better, but still lost a little liquid.  The beans are still safe to consume, however the jars with the lower liquid level should be eaten first.

Check back for news on blackberries & zucchini........

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