Sunday, July 7, 2013

Canning Green Beans

One of my favorite vegetables is green beans. We go through quite a few cans every year fixing beef macaroni soup, Andy's hamburger soup, chicken stew and more. There has been one thing that has prevented me from canning them...fear of a pressure canner/cooker. I have heard stories of them "blowing up" and it kept me from going there. This year I decided I'd put that behind me.
I purchased a pressure cooker a few weeks ago and haven't looked back. One Saturday I put up 21 quart jars and a few days later I put up 12 pints. My only complaint is there is no rushing this. Once you're committed, that's all she wrote. Safety is my concern and I did it by the book.

Green beans are a low acid food. My understanding of why green beans must be pressure canned versus a hot bath is that botulism can not be killed at 212 degrees. It takes 10 pounds of pressure to get the temperature to 240 degrees which will kill the bacteria.
I picked a 5 gallon and 1 gallon bucket one evening. I transferred them to 3 Wal-mart bags kept them refrigerated overnight. (I do not weigh vegetables. I go by the space the vegetable occupies and it's pretty reliable). In my opinion, they're easier to break when they're cold. I snapped these into 1 to 1-1/2 pieces and washed them in the sink.

Each bag made 7 quarts. A few days later I picked a very packed Wal-mart bag and canned 12 pints.
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 Pack them into sterilized quart jars and leave 1" of head space.

Fill the pressure canner with 3 quarts of water. Leaving 1" head space, fill the jars of green beans with boiling water. Using the end of a spatula, poke into the jars to release bubbles. Wipe the tops of the jars and seal with lids and rings that have been boiled..
 Place the lid on the canner. Turn the heat up on your stove so that steam begins to stream from the vent. I had my stove on 9 out of 10 on the dial.
Let that steam expel for 10 minutes.
 Place the regulator on top to cook with 10 pounds of pressure. 
For this canner, that meant I took one of the rings off.

 The lid will lock and this piece will pop up. Once that is up, you cannot remove the lid. Do not remove the pressure regulator when this is up! Start timing when the regulator starts a consistent rocking motion. I had to drop the temperature down to 7 out of 10 on my stove.  For quart jars, let it can for 25 minutes; pint jars, 20 minutes.
Once the timer goes off. Set the canner off the stove eye. Once the lock drops down, at that point you can remove the regulator and the cover. It took quite a while for it to release the pressure. Using canning tongs, set the jars on towels on your counter to let them cool. I love hearing the "Ping" that rings when the lid starts sealing the jars as they cool. I was amazed at how long the water in the jars boiled after removing them from the pot.

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