Canning green beans is an easy summer activity that allows you to enjoy them all year long! Find out how to can green beans in a pressure canner, as well as how to deal with the fact that green beans are not ready to harvest at the same time.
There's nothing quite like reaching into the pantry and grabbing a jar of home canned food. Whether it's homegrown, or purchased from the store, canning your own food is a blessing that lasts all year long!
No matter what level of canner you consider yourself to be, canning green beans is a simple process that will let you enjoy your efforts for many months to come!
I especially enjoy using home-canned green beans for the holidays in green bean casseroles and soups!
Canning Green Beans
If you've pressure canned before, you know what to expect from the process...
But if you're new to pressure canning, or canning in general, it can seem really scary!! In reality, it's very easy to do and extremely satisfying to complete!
If you're new to pressure canning, I encourage you to read my in-depth look at the process of pressure canning here. It gives a very detailed account of exactly what to expect so that you're not caught off guard!
Once you've done that, or if you're not new to pressure canning, then you're ready to get started canning your green beans!
Before you can them, make sure you snap them and remove the strings first. In the past we've had bean varieties that grew 2-4 thick strings PER bean... what a pain!
However, whatever type of bean you have, make sure that you don't skip the snapping process or your canned beans will be difficult to eat!
How to Snap Green Beans
Snapping green beans isn't terribly difficult, but it is something that needs to be done - especially if you are growing heirloom varieties.
So, to snap (or string) your green beans, start at one end of the green bean and "snap" the tip. You can do this with a knife or with your hands. I like using a knife, but that's up to you! If you decide to use a knife, only slice through the end about 3/4 of the way and then continue.
Pull the broken tip down along the seam to remove any "string" that may be hiding there. Snap off the other end of the bean in the same way.
Discard the snapped-off ends and any strings in the small bowl and feed them to the chickens or pigs if you have any!
From there, you can leave the beans whole or cut them into 1-2" segments for canning.
Bulk Canning Green Beans from Your Garden
Even when you're harvesting several pounds of green beans a day like we were, that's not really enough to fill up the pressure canner. So in order to make the canning effort more "worth it", I tried a few different things to help the green beans stay fresh long enough to can in larger batches.
In order to do this you need to refrigerate the fresh green beans right away - without washing them first. Make sure they are in a sealed bag (press out the air before sealing), and they will stay fresh for up to 7 days!
Then you can wash and snap the green beans in larger batches for bulk canning! Once you have enough beans to can, and you have them all washed and snapped, just follow the directions below to pressure can your own home-canned green beans.
Adjusting Pressure Canning by Altitude
It is important to note that the pressure used during canning changes based on altitude at which the food is being canned. If you are pressure canning a 0-1000 ft above sea level, then no changed are needed.
Refer to the chart below for how to change the pressure according to your altitude:
Best Green Beans for Canning
When you are sourcing green beans for canning, you will have good luck at farmer's markets, and local grocery stores. Be sure to reach out to friends and neighbors who might ben growing green beans, because it's likely they will have extra!
Or, if you want, you can grow your own green beans. I love growing green beans because they are a high yield, low space requirement plant. You can grow two five-foot rows of greens beans and harvest them daily for months. That's a lot of food!
If you're interested in growing your own food, also check out our post on growing in the Back to Eden gardening method. It's so easy to set up and helps lengthen your growing season for even more produce.
Common Questions about Canning Green Beans
Yes, absolutely! I'm partial to round beans, but flat or round beans can be used. You can also use any variety of green beans (even if they are purple beans) for this canning green beans recipe.
You'll follow the same process, but pints can be processed for 20 minutes in a pressure canner instead of 25 minutes for quarts.
No, you don't. It's not needed for safety. However, it's very difficult to season the green beans after the canning process, so I would add at least a little salt. You can adjust the salt to your tastes.
The current "conventional wisdom" is that home canned food is only good for 1 year. However, even the USDA notes that as long as the jars and lids are in good condition, canned food never goes bad. You may lose nutritional value over time, but the food is not "bad".
Currently, water bath canning is not recommended for vegetables, unless they are pickled. The added vinegar raised the PH level and allows foods to be water bath canned where they wouldn't normally be able to. However, if you are canning green beans in just water and salt, they need to be pressure canned. Many people say "my grandmother did it for 50 years and we are all fine" - and I agree. Feel free to use your judgement when canning - however, pressure canning is currently considered the only "safe" way to can green beans.
Canning Green Beans
- Pressure Canner (here's the one I use)
- 4 Quart Canning Jars (OR 8 pint canning jars)
- 10 lbs Green Beans
- Canning Salt
- Prep jars according to canning instructions
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Filtered or spring water is my preference.
- Wash and de-string green beans. Remove ends, and cut or snap into 2" pieces.
- Pack beans tightly into hot jars leaving a 1" headspace.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to pint jars, and 1 teaspoon to quarts (optional, but strongly recommended!)
- Ladle boiling water over beans/salt, leaving a 1" headspace.
- Remove air bubbles with canning knife and add additional beans or water as needed. Adjust 2-piece lids to finger tightness.
- Process pints for 20 minutes and quarts for 25 minutes, at 10 pounds pressure in a pressure canner.
- Remove from canner according to canning instructions and allow to cool for 12-24 hours before putting them away for storage.