Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Canning Green Beans

It's that time of year, again! Time spent picking until you're back hurts so badly you can hardly stand it is off-set by good, fresh vegetables, beautiful gardens, and canning! Even though it takes a lot of time, I enjoy canning. We've finally picked enough green beans for the first batch.

First things first...washing all of the beans.

Next, I tipped and snapped.

After washing the jars in super hot water, I packed the beans in, added canning salt, and poured almost-boiling water over the beans, leaving 1" headspace. I decided to use quarts this year because Travis & I can eat an entire pint at one meal and not have any left-overs. Now that Elizabeth is eating table food, and loves green beans, quarts will feed us all and I may even have enough for lunch the next day.

The lids have to be soaked in hot, but not boiling water for a few minutes while the jars are being prepared. This softens up the rubber comound so after processing, the lids will seal airtight.

Next, the lids are placed on the jar, along with a ring, screwed on until just tight. You don't want it to be too tight, because the lid does not need that much pressure on it to seal. Load the jars into the canner, which needs to have 1-3" of simmering water in it. You also do not want to place the jars directly on the bottom of the canner. My canner came with a rack that fits into the bottom to place the jars on. I can get four quart jars into my canner. Close the lid and process quarts at 10 lbs pressure for 25 minutes. You don't start your time until it reaches 10 lbs, or very close to it. It is also important to keep an eye on your pressure; you want it to stay as constant as possible, so you'll have to keep adjusting the heat while it's doing its thing.

After 25 minutes, turn off the heat and allow the pressure to return to zero. Do not open or attempt to open the canner before then! Open the lid and remove the jars. I have a nifty jar lifter to get my jars out of the canner. You'll want to transfer the jars a short distance to a place where they will not be disturbed for approximately 24 hours. I used a little rolling cart that I had and left it in the kitchen overnight. When the jars were cool, I just rolled my little cart against an empty wall. As the jars seal, you will hear a popping noise for every jar you process. After 24 hours, you can press your finger down on the top of the jar. If it does not move, then you have successfully completed the process! If it does pop up and down, that's ok, too. Just move that jar into the refrigerator and eat within a week!

I had four quarts process successfully. I started with seven, but on three of the jars, the bottom broke out during processing. When Travis & I lived in College Station, we saw a free add for canning jars and promptly went to pick them up. Some of them must be an off-brand of jar, because the three that broke during processing were all the same brand. If a jar does break on you, it's not a big deal, just wait until the water cools and clean it out. You won't be able to eat the beans floating in the bottom; just toss them out along with the broken glass. It's always safe then to wash the canner out with hot, soapy water before processing your next batch.

There are books available to help you with all of your food-storage needs. My MIL gave be a book, Ball Blue Book of preserving, that I use constantly. If you do decide to put up your own produce and need help or advice, leave your question in the comments section or give me a call!

1 comment:

soccermom10 said...

WOW Sara! You are busy all the time....the beans look yummy. I would have never thought that the jars could break! who knew?