Pressure cookers should never be used for canning. If you don’t have a pressure canner, you can still process green beans using the water bath method. To do so, they must be acidified in pickling liquid before canning them because beans are a low-acid food.
Is it Possible to Can Green Beans Without a Pressure Cooker?
Green beans should never be canned in an electric pressure cooker. They may be canned in a pressure canner or a water bath canner as long as they are pickled first.
The National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends pressure canning as the best method for foods with a pH above 4.6. Green beans have a pH of 6.5, which makes them a low-acid food that requires acidification before canning in a water bath canner.Print
How Long Do You Process Green Beans in a Water Bath?
Depending on your elevation, the processing time for green beans in pint or quart-sized jars is 10-15 minutes. If you live under 6,000ft, process for 10 minutes, and increase the time by 5 minutes if you live over 6,000ft.
As the altitude increases, food is likely to boil at lower temperatures. When boiling temperatures are low, it may not kill harmful bacteria. That’s why it is important to increase the processing time to prevent under-processing.
What Size Jars Should You Use to Process Green Beans?
Pint jars and quart jars are the best sizes to use when canning green beans using a pressure canner or boiling water canner. Per the University of Michigan, the size and shape of a jar dictate how heat penetrates the jar.
What is a Boiling Water Bath?
A boiling water bath is a canning method. It involves processing sealed jars of food in boiling water (212°F or 100°C). This is done in a water bath canner or a deep aluminum stockpot with a lid.
While the technique is often recommended for high-acid foods (with a pH of 4.6 and below), it’s also safe when preserving pickled low-acid fruits and vegetables. Pickling raises the acidity of low-acid foods, which prevents botulism spores from germinating while being processed in a boiling water bath.
Canned Green Beans: Raw Pack versus Hot Pack
It is okay to raw-pack or hot-pack green beans into jars before canning them.
Hot-packed beans undergo blanching first, where they simmer in boiling water for 2-5 minutes before being placed into canning jars. Blanching improves the flavor and retains the color of green beans.
A raw pack involves putting raw, fresh, chopped, unheated green beans into airtight canning jars and loading them into a boiling water canner for processing. This cold pack method is easy to do, but the beans will likely lose color and flavor over time.
How Much Headspace is Needed When Canning Green Beans?
When canning green beans, leave a 1-inch headspace if using a pressure canner and ½-inch for the water bath method. This headspace is essential for creating a vacuum seal and preventing oxidation during the canning process.
Tips for Delicious Canned Green Beans
The quality of canned green beans depends on various factors, including the canning method and how the beans are harvested.
For the best home-canned green beans, follow these tips:
- Avoid harvesting during extreme temperatures.
- Blanch freshly picked or store-bought beans in hot water for 1-3 minutes before canning to preserve the bright green color.
- Pick tender, firm, crisp, young pods without fully-developed seeds for harvesting.
- Wait for any dew to evaporate before picking fresh green beans for the best texture.
- Wash and rinse your beans thoroughly in cool, running water to remove dirt and residual pesticide before canning to improve flavor.
Storage and Shelf Life of Canned Green Beans
Consume canned green beans within 1-2 years for the best flavor. Store jars in a cool, dry room away from moisture and sunlight. Once opened, refrigerate the beans and use them within 3-5 days.