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How to Can Green Snap Beans for Beginners

Greens beans
Cut green beans into short pieces for canning.
Cut green beans into short pieces for canning.

Green beans are easy to can. You pick them, quickly snap or cut them in half or short pieces, simmer them for four minutes or less, pack them in jars, and process them in the canner for less than half an hour.

Canned beans are delicious and versatile; they can be served as a side dish or included in a salad or casserole.

Select fresh green beans which are young, tender, smooth, and crisp. Beans should snap easily and be free of blemishes and spots. You want to avoid shriveled, discolored, or fibrous pods. The seeds of young beans will not be bulging through the pod; these will be the most tender—and flavorful.

The best practice is to can beans immediately after they have been picked, but beans will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days without losing too much crispness or flavor.

Canned Green Beans

Ingredients

  • You will need about 1 to 1½ pounds of fresh picked beans for each quart jar.

Instructions

  1. Wash and heat the jars and scald the lids.
  2. Wash and rinse and the beans in several changes of cool water; lift the beans out of water and drain.
  3. Snap off the stems and tops (fresh beans will snap easily). You can leave the pointy end of the bean if you like—this gives a restaurant finish to whole beans. Most hybrid beans are now stringless, but remove the strings if present.
  4. There are several ways to prepare the beans for canning: (1) Simply leave the beans whole; (2) Snap the beans in half; (3) Cut or break the beans into uniform pieces, 1- to 2-inch pieces; (4) “French” cut the beans lengthwise on a diagonal.
  5. Prepare only enough beans for one canner load at a time.
  6. Pack whole or cut beans into jars either hot or raw. Hot pack: Blanch the beans in boiling water or broth for 1 to 4 minutes to wilt. For every 3 cups cut beans, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Remove the beans from the cooking water (reserve the cooking water). Fill hot jars with hot beans, shaking the jar to pack fairly tightly. (Optional: add ½ teaspoon salt to pint jars; add 1 teaspoon salt to quart jars.) Stand whole beans on ends or pack cut beans to the jar shoulder. Pour hot cooking liquid over beans, leaving 1 inch headspace. Raw pack: Fill jars with cut beans no longer than 1 inch. Shake the jars to pack fairly tightly. Pack the jars up to the jar shoulders. (Add salt as above if you like.) Cover the beans with hot water or broth, leaving 1 inch headspace.
  7. Run a thin non-metallic spatula utensil around the inside of the jar to allow air to escape. Press on beans to release trapped air.
  8. Wipe sealing edge of jars with a clean, damp, lint-free cloth. Position flat lids over the tops of jars and hand-tighten screw bands.
  9. Place jars on a rack in a pressure canner. Adjust the water level in the canner following manufacturer’s instructions and lock the lid. Adjust the heat to medium-high and bring the water to a boil. Leave the vent open until steam has escaped for 10 minutes. Then put weigh on the vent.
  10. Bring pressure to 10 pounds for altitudes of 1,000 feet or less. Maintain pressure to process pint jars for 20 minutes and quart jars for 25 minutes. Check you altitude and manufacturer’s instruction for variations.
  11. Turn off heat; let pressure return to zero. Once the gauge shows 0 pressure wait 2 minutes then unlock and remove the canner lid. Wait 10 minutes before lifting the hot jars from the canner and place them on a clean towel or rack. Do not re-tighten screw bands.
  12. Let the jars cool to room temperature. This may take from 12 to 24 hours. Remove and store the screw bands and check the lids for a seal by pressing on the center of each lid. If the lid does not flex, you have a good vacuum seal.
  13. Wipe and label sealed jars. Store in a cool, dark place.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. Harvesttotable.com has more than 10 million visitors each year.

Comments

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  1. I just pressure canned 24 pints of green beans last night. All turned out beautiful and sealed. PROBLEM: After going over instructions again, I realized I pressured them at “5” lbs for 20 mins instead of “10” lbs. do I need to remove caps and replace with new ones and repressure them or will they be ok because they sealed?? Please advise ASAP. Thanks

    • If the beans were canned at the wrong (too little pressure) they may not keep. Check the jars for seal after 24 hours. If you are unsure, recan at the correct pressure.

  2. You mention canning green beans using a broth. What is your recipe for broth? My grandmother had wonderful canned green beans, and I’m not sure how she seasoned her beans….while canning or later when she cooked them. Thank you!

  3. I hot prepared my green beans, so they are in the mason jars, ready to pressure cook. Can I wait until the next day to pressure cook them?

  4. We have bush beans picked from the garden yesterday. My grandfather passed away this morning and we cannot get to canning them at this moment. How long do I have no until they cannot be canned and how to keep them properly until doing so? Please help! This is Our first year garden. We did just for my grandpa and I don’t want to lose what we worked so hard on. We already have tomatoes lined up ready to go as well and I’ve never canned before my grandma was going to teach me. I don’t want to bother her with this at this moment. I have no clue what to do and I have read multiple answers that conflict each other..

  5. It’s interesting to learn that canning beans are possible through heat pressure. Thank you for also suggesting here that wiped and sealed jars should be kept in a cool and dark place. Anyhow, if I were them, I would make sure to invest in an angelus seamer that will keep the cans and jars perfectly sealed.

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