Every year I plant a large garden; potatoes, beets, lettuce, green beans, corn, peas, zucchini, watermelon, cantaloupe, tomatoes, peppers, squash, pumpkin, and brussel sprouts abound.  The whole purpose of our garden is to feed our family not only in the summer, but throughout the year.

I grew up canning with my mom and grandma.  I have many fond memories sitting on the floor with a cutting board, knife, and mounds of green beans, helping stem them in preparation for canning.  I know a lot of people that would like to can their own food, not only because it’s a safe and low cost method of storage, but also because they grew up canning with their moms and grandmas as well.  I’ve had many questions from friends both locally and in the online world that have shown interest in either learning how to can or sharing canning recipes.  Well, friends, I will go through step-by-step how I pressure can green beans and I’ve also included a link up at the bottom so if you have a blog on canning or a recipe to share then you can link it up!

The first process in canning green beans is picking them.  I pick my every other day when they are really producing well, and that keeps the beans a nice size and also prevents getting woody or over ripe beans.  After they are picked I wash them, stem the ends and cut them into small bite size pieces.  I usually do this the night before I can, put them in a big bowl of water, and place them in the fridge overnight until I’m ready to can in the morning.

When I’m ready to can in the morning, I first prepare my canner and jars.  Every pressure canner is different, so I recommend preparing your canner to manufacturers instructions.  I use a Presto brand 23 quart Pressure Canner and Cooker (you can also remove the pressure regulator on this model and it converts to a hot water bath canner–BONUS!).  I wash all my jars and place them in the canner while it is heating up to sanitize them.

While my jars are sanitizing, I heat my green beans up.  This is done by putting them in a large heavy bottom pan and placing boiling water over them.  I bring them to a boil and let them boil for 5 minutes.  This is called the hot-pack method (placing hot product into hot jars).

While my beans are boiling I gather all my tools, and place them on a tea towel folded in half.  You don’t necessarily need the canning tools shown here (L to R: Jar lifter, lid lifter, head space ruler & debubbler, and jar funnel), but they do make canning easier. Regardless of the type of counter top you have, this is a very crucial step.  I have had a jar crack because the hot jar accidentally was placed on the cool granite countertop.  Also, you could run the risk of scorching your counter…please use a towel!

I also boil water for my lids, and let them sit in a pan of water while I’m waiting for the beans to boil.  I forgot to mention that I use this book–The Bernardin Complete Guide of Home Preserving.  It is a great resource not only for recipes, but for canning times as well.

Once the beans have boiled for 5 min, I drain off the water to re-use for packing the beans in jars.

I then add salt, and pack my beans in jars.

I use my debubble tool to go around the edge of the jar to get the air out between the packed beans & jar

I check the headspace & wipe the rim of the jar.  If you don’t wipe the rim with a damp paper towel you run the risk of debris being on the rim and your lid not sealing.  Centre the lid on the jar & place the metal band in place.


The jar is now ready to go into the canner!  Repeat for all your beans and jars until you’re out of beans or your canner is full.  Place the lid on the canner.  With my canner I have to wait for it to vent all the steam out & the plug in the front of the picture below pops up.  When that happens it’s time to place the overpressure plug on the vent to begin building pressure.

Where I live I can beans at 12 pounds of pressure for 20 minutes for pints & 25 minutes for quarts.  If I’m doing a mixed load of pints & quarts I can for 25 minutes.  Once the time is up, I take the canner off the burner & place it on a towel to cool & come down from pressure.  Once it’s returned to 0 psi and the plug has fallen back down, it’s safe to remove the lid.  I let my jars sit in the canner for 10 min before removing them to a towel to cool & listen for the lids to “snap”.

I do about 3 loads of beans a week during peak season for my garden.  I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but I’m very confident in my canning abilities.  Any brand names mentioned in the blog is not an endorsement, I am not getting compensated in any way for this post.  This is what has worked for me, and I thought I’d share my experiences with others!

Happy Canning!