Every couple of years we spend a Saturday afternoon canning beans. It’s a pretty simple process, but it can be intimidating for those who are new to canning. For a full tutorial on canning beans, read on!
We spent the majority of Saturday canning beans. My step-father had grown beans (half white runners, if you’re interested) for me in his garden. My garden is an 8’x8’ raised bed, which is hardly enough room for growing beans.
The original plan was that the husband and I would spend the night with my Mother and step-father Friday, pick beans early Saturday morning and then head home to can them.
At least that was the plan, until my Mom called Friday afternoon to say they had already picked the beans and would meet us at the halfway point between our respective homes to give us the beans. Between you and me, I really wasn’t looking forward to picking beans bright and early Saturday morning anyway.
We became the proud new owners of a five-gallon bucket of half white runner beans Friday evening.
If you’ve never canned beans before it’s not the quickest process. It’s very simple, but very time consuming.
Here’s what you’ll need to can beans:
- Jar Lids, commonly called flats
- Jar Bands, commonly called rings
- Pressure Canner
- Jar Funnel
- Jar Lifter
- Bath Towel
How to Can Beans from Start to Finish
- Remove strings from beans and break into two or three pieces. Then, place in water to remove dirt. It’s best to do this outside in case any bugs came along for a ride on the beans.
- Take the beans that are in the water (we filled a cooler with water to accommodate all the beans), and remove the bad places with knife.
- Transfer cleaned beans inside and place in sink filled with water. This will remove any dirt that may still be clinging to your beans.
- Check beans in sink for any bad places or strings one more time.
- Blanch beans on stovetop for about 15 minutes. This begins the cooking process and cuts down the time it takes to cook beans from the jar. You could omit this step and “dry pack” the beans, but I prefer blanching.
- Funnel beans into jars and pack them down with a spoon. Fill the jars nearly to the top with beans.
- Top jars off with water used to blanche the beans.
- Place your lid and band on the jar.
- Place in the pressure cooker.
- Repeat steps 6 through 9 until your pressure canner is full.
At this point, you’ll need to refer to the instructions that came with your pressure canner as they may vary from mine. Pressure canners can be dangerous if you do not follow instructions.
Here are the basic steps for using a pressure canner to can beans. Please be sure to carefully read the instructions that came with your canner.
- Be sure your canner is thoroughly cleaned. Refer to your instruction manual for proper cleaning techniques.
- Place canner on stovetop and put a small amount of water inside. There should be a mark inside showing where to top the water. Your instructions will have more information on this. Generally, only a small amount of water is needed. For instance, my pressure canner required only three quarts.
- Place the canning cooking rack inside canner.
- Place filled jars on top of cooking rack. Do not leave a lot of room in between jars. During the canning process they will knock into each other and break if there is too much room inside the canner. If you have any leftover space, place water into an empty jar, close it with a lid and band and then place into canner.
- Place lid on top and lock into place.
- Turn your stovetop where your canner is on high.
- Once you see steam coming out of the top, place your pressure regulator on the vent pipe on top. Ours was sent to 10 pounds pressure. Different canning recipes call for different pounds of pressure.
- Once the regulator begins to jiggle, turn your burner heat down. You’ll want your heat somewhere between high and medium heat. Your regular will continue to jiggle.
- Set a timer for 15 minutes and wait.
- At the end of the 15 minutes turn off your burner and remove canner from heat source. Be very careful when moving your canner.
- It is very important to let the pressure drop on its own. Do not remove the pressure regulator. Check your instruction manual to know when pressure is completely reduced. DO NOT remove the lid or pressure regulator until the pressure is completely reduced.
- When the pressure is completely reduced, remove the lid carefully and slowly to keep steam away from you.
- Remove each jar from the canner with a jar lifter.
- Place jars on bath towel on counter top.
- When all the jars have been removed from the canner, cover them with a bath towel to keep jars from cooling too quickly. If they cool too quickly, they may break. You’ll hear the lids popping into place as they seal.
- Leave jars overnight to seal and cool.
- Once the jars are cooled, check each one to make sure they are all sealed. To do this press down on the top of each lid. If it pops, it hasn’t sealed. If a jar is not sealed, you’ll need to repeat the canning process.
- Write the canning date on the top of the jars and store in a cool, dry place.
Once again, it is VERY important to refer to the instructions that came with your canner when canning. Pressure cookers can be extremely dangerous when not used properly.
So, have you been canning anything this year? This was my first attempt at beans, and I am so happy my in-laws were here to help us through every step.