Canning green beans at home is easier than you imagine, but make sure you have a pressure canner!
We are in the middle of prime green bean season, where our plants are overflowing. Canning green beans allows you to put them up for casseroles and easy side dishes later in the year. First, you have to learn how to can green beans, and it’s easier than you think when you have a surplus of your own green beans.
I aim to can 30 to 50 jars per year with beans from my own garden. This is enough for weekly side dishes, soup additions, casseroles, and more. They’re so versatile, the perfect addition to any homestead canning pantry.
Canning green beans is different than canning jams and jellies. You will need a pressure canner; a water bath canner cannot safely can green beans. Green beans are a low-acid vegetable, which means botulism can grow faster.
If you are new to pressure canning, canning green beans is a great introduction. I prefer the raw pack method. Let’s get going – it’s easier than you imagine!
Can You Can Green Beans without a Pressure Canner?
No, you cannot can green beans without a pressure canner. Green beans are a vegetable and one of the low-acid foods commonly canned, so they must be canned in a pressure canner. It’s the only way to ensure your beans are safe from botulism.
The only way you could safely trying canning green beans in a water bath canner is to pickle them. I tried that this year and created dilly beans. They’re quite yummy for snacks or antipasto trays, but they won’t replace your traditional canned green beans for side dishes or casseroles.
Do You Have to Blanch Green Beans Before Canning?
If you use the raw pack canning method – which is my favorite way of canning green beans – blanching the beans is an unnecessary step. That’s why I prefer this method – it cuts down on steps and makes the process easier.
If you want to use the hot pack method, you’ll blanch the beans for one to two minutes before removal. Some people prefer blanching green beans in chicken broth instead of water for extra flavor – yum!
Related: Try Canning Chicken Broth at Home
Raw Pack vs. Hot Pack
A raw packing is sometimes referred to as a cold pack. Don’t assume that it means you don’t process the beans – you do!
It means you will put the raw veggies in clean jars to the indicated headspace and fill the rest of the jar with boiling water. The pressure canner does all of the cooking for you.
Hot packing is when you boil snapped beans for up to five minutes before packing them into the jar and covering them with clean, boiling water.
Most canners have a preference; you have to decide which one works better for you. Neither produces better results when canning green beans.
Recommended Supplies for Canning Green Beans
- Presto 23-Quart Pressure Canner
- Ball Glass Mason Jars – 12 Jars
- Norpro Canning Essentials – 6 Piece Set
- Pickling and Canning Salt
You need items, such as a jar lifter, funnel, and headspace measurer.
Canning Green Beans Using The Raw Pack Method
I’m going to take you step by step through the canning process of green beans – I swear; it’s so easy!
Step 1: Snap Your Green Beans!
The first thing you want to do is snap your green beans. You have to do this whether you plan to freeze or can these veggies.
Snapping green beans can feel like a never-ending task. Kids help make this job easier and quicker!
Step 2: Wash Your Bean & Jars
After the ends are snapped off, you will want to wash them thoroughly, removing any dirt with cold water. At this time, put a pot of water on the stove to boil.
You also will want to clean your jars. When you use a pressure canner, there is no need to boil or sterilize the jars beforehand. Just clean them with hot soapy water and inspect for cracks and chips.
Step 3: Fill Your Jars
Once cleaned, it is time to fill up your jars! The jars fill better when the green beans are between one and two inches long. I found that 1-inch pieces work best in the jars and allow you to fill them up adequately without losing space.
Fill the jars up, leaving one-inch headspace at the top. Headspace is important for pressure canning!
Step 4: Add Salt – Optional!
You will want to add salt to the jars. I tried no salt before and the beans were bland. Consequently, those beans were great for casseroles but not side dishes.
Try 3/4 to 1 TSP of canning salt per jar.
Step 5: Fill Your Canning Jars with Hot Water
Now is the time to put the indicated amount of water into your canner (check your manual), and turn the canner on medium to start heating up the water. After you add the salt, ladle in the boiling water, leaving the one-inch headspace!
It is important to maintain the proper, inch of headspace. Otherwise, the hot cooking liquid may seep out and compromise the seal of the lids.
After filling with boiling water, use your included tool for checking headspace or a wooden skewer to move around the jar, popping air bubbles.
Wipe off the rim of the jar and put on the lid. Your jars are ready to go into the canner!
Step 6: Process the Green Beans
Put your hot jars into the canner and close the lids. At this point, it is best if you follow your canners instructions.
However, most of them follow the same type of instructions. You need to allow the canner to gain heat, and it will push out steam until the lid is locked. You need to put the valve over on top, allowing it to gain pressure.
The process time is 11 pounds of pressure for 20 minutes for pint jars or 25 minutes for quart jars per canner load.
Your manual should have specific times; make sure that you double-check! You need to process them for the correct amount of time to ensure any bacteria and spores are killed.
If you live at a different altitude, you’ll need to adjust your weighted gauge or dial gauge based on your location. These are the generally recommended altitude adjustments from the National Center of Food Preservation
Altitude: Dial Gauge – Weighted Gauge
- 0-1,000 ft: 11pounds – 10 pounds
- 1,001-2,000 ft: 11 pounds – 15 pounds
- 2,001-4,000 ft: 12 pounds – 15 pounds
- 4,001-6,000 ft: 13 pounds – 15 pounds
- 6,001-8,000 ft: 14 pounds – 15 pounds
- 8,001-10,000 ft: 15 pounds – 15 pounds
Step 7: Let the Jars Rest
Once the jars are processed, turn off the heat and allow the canner to de-pressurize on its own. It can take up to 30 minutes for this to happen.
Once unlocked, make sure that you open the lid AWAY from your face. The steam could burn you!
Lift the jars out of the canner and place them on a dry, clean towel. Doing so helps to avoid breaking from the shock of the temperature change. Let the jars set for 24 hours until the jars are at room temperature to check for a good seal.
Using Home-Canned Green Beans
Having jars of fresh beans on your pantry shelf is useful for tossing together from-scratch recipes. Aside from eating them as is, you can use the beans for soups, fried green beans, and potatoes, or green bean casserole.
That’s my favorite!
Canning Green Beans is So Simple!
Canning green beans couldn’t be easier! We had a small batch this time, but by the end of the season, our shelves will be lined with jars.
What do you prefer – frozen or canned green beans? Let me know in the comments.