If you’ve canned fresh goods yourself, then you know that there’s nothing quite like a jar of home-canned food. Almost everything can be canned, from apples and apricots to carrots, squash, and even salmon!
Canned green beans, in particular, are quite popular because they’re very nutritious. Whether you buy them at the store or grow them yourself, you can preserve them at the start of the summer and have them ready to cook all year round!
However, for it to be safe, you need to can your green beans properly.
Don’t worry, it’s so easy to do that even beginners can try it. You just have to clean the beans, cut them into bite-sized pieces, place them in a jar, cover them with boiling water, and finally, pressure can them for about 20 to 25 minutes.
Follow our step-by-step guide, learn how to can green beans, and find out the best tips to do it properly.
There are only two ingredients you’ll need for canning green beans:
- Fresh green beans
- Canning or pickling salt (while this is an optional ingredient, we highly recommend its addition to give the beans a bit more flavor)
Luckily, you don’t need anything too fancy to can green beans, since most of the supplies can be found in your own kitchen:
- Pressure canner
- Canning jars
- Canning tools (lid lifter, jar lifter, canning ladle, funnel, and bubble popper)
- Kettle or large pot
- Large bowl
- Small pot
- Kitchen towels
- Cutting board
How to Can Green Beans Step-by-Step
Before grabbing your pressure canner, you have to prep your green beans and the canning jars you’re going to preserve the beans in.
Preparing your green beans
- Rinse your green beans under running water and strain them.
- Choose the beans that are tender and crisp when snapped, and avoid the ones that have blemishes or rust spots.
- Grab a knife, trim the ends of the strings, and cut them into 1-inch (3 cm) pieces. If you don’t care that much about accuracy, you can simply snap the beans into bite-sized pieces.
Preparing the canning jars
If you’ve never used a pressure canner before, we recommend that you read the manufacturer’s instructions first.
- Wash both the canning jars and the lids in warm, soapy water. Don’t forget to rinse them well, you won’t want your beans to taste like soap! Don’t boil the lids as it can affect their ability to seal.
- Pace the jar rack into the pressure canner, set the jars in, and fill the canner with water.
- Boil the jars over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes to sterilize them. Remember you shouldn’t boil the lids, but you need to keep them warm, just like the jars, until they’re ready to use. You can warm them in a small pot over low heat, but always keeping a close eye on them.
- While you wait for the sterilization process to end, you can start boiling the water needed to fill the jars of green beans in a large pot or kettle over high heat.
- Place a clean kitchen towel on the counter and line up your freshly washed jars on it.
Caning your green beans
Now that your green beans are snapped, and your jars and lids are nice and clean, it’s time to start canning!
But first, a quick tip in case you’re canning a large number of green beans. Since the beans should stay as hot as possible throughout the entire canning process, you should try filling one jar at a time. After you seal it, place it in your pressure canner, and only then move on to filling the next jar.
The process to can green beans is the following:
- Fill the jars with your green beans, making sure to leave a 1-inch (3 cm) headspace (i.e. the space between the top of the beans and that of the jar). We recommend that you pack them in tightly since they will shrink when processed.
- If you want to enhance the flavor, add ½ teaspoon of canning or pickling salt. You can find out why it’s not recommended to use regular salt in the FAQ section at the end of this guide.
- Pour the boiling water from your large pot or kettle over the beans in each jar, always leaving a 1-inch headspace.
- Use the bubble popper to remove any air bubbles by running it between the glass and the food. If you don’t have a bubble popper, you can just use a clean ruler.
- Measure your headspace again, and add extra water if needed.
- Then, wipe away any food or liquid that might’ve spilled on the rims. It’s important to remove anything that can prevent a seal from forming.
- Finally, attach each lid and canning bands. Keep in mind that overtightening canning bands can prevent the vacuum seal from forming. As a good rule of thumb, they should be tight enough that you could still tighten them another ¼-inch to ½-inch (0.50 cm to 0.25 cm).
Processing the jars of green beans
We’re reaching the final stage of green bean canning!
- Using the jar lifter, place each filled jar carefully on the pressure canner’s rack. The pressure canner should be at least half-filled with simmering water.
- If you have many jars, but you’re following our advice on canning large quantities of beans, then you should lower the rack back into the water to keep the jars hot while you fill the remaining ones.
- Once all the jars are in place, you can adjust the water level according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you need to add more water, try to use the hot water from your large pot or kettle if you still have some left.
- Fasten the pressure canner’s lid securely, heat at the highest setting, and bring the canner to a boil.
- Let the canner vent for 10 minutes, then place weight on the vent.
- Follow the instructions for your pressure canner to adjust the processing time for your altitude. Typically, pint jars should be processed for 20 minutes and quart jars, for 25 minutes.
- Once the processing time is complete, turn the heat off and let the canner cool for approximately 1 hour.
- Careful of the steam, remove the lid, and let the jars adjust to the change in pressure for a few minutes.
- Grab the jar lifter again to lift the jars and place them on a kitchen towel.
- After cooling for between 12 and 24 hours, you should hear the “pop” signaling the successful jar sealing.
And that’s it! Don’t forget to date, label, and store your green bean jars in a cool, dark place.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now it’s time to answer some of the most common questions about how to can green beans.
Can I can green beans without a pressure canner?
Green beans are a low-acid vegetable, so the best way to can them is by using a pressure canner. This way, they can be safe to eat for up to a year from the moment you can them.
Can I can green beans in a water bath?
Canning green beans in a water bath is possible, but only if they’re pickled. By pickling your beans, you increase their acidity, and only then can you process them in a water-bath canner.
Can I use regular table salt instead of canning or pickling salt?
You shouldn’t use regular table salt when canning green beans. Regular table salt typically contains anti-caking agents or additives to prevent the grains from clumping together. These additives aren’t water-soluble, so the salt won’t dissolve in water, giving the liquid a cloudy and unappealing look. What’s more, you risk the development of harmful bacteria.
Canning and pickling salt, on the other hand, is pure granulated salt and doesn’t contain any additives. Moreover, it’s very fine in texture, so it dissolves even faster in water.
Where can I buy canning or pickling salt?
Canning or pickling salt is not hard to come by. You can find it in the salt section at your supermarket, and even on Amazon. It might also be labeled as preserving salt, but they’re all the same thing.
How long do canned green beans last?
If stored in proper conditions, canned green beans can last for up to 12 months while retaining optimal nutritional benefits. You can find more information on this topic here.
If you’ve tried freezing green beans before, then you probably know they end up having a rubbery and rather unpleasant texture once you thaw and cook them.
Canning them is the best way to preserve them, their texture, flavor, and nutritional benefits. It’s such an easy process that even a beginner can do it, and the best part is that you don’t need to precook them.
Now that you know how to can green beans, you can enjoy them for many months to come!