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I love growing my own food. Part of growing all the food is not only eating it fresh in the summer, but preserving it for winter use. One vegetable we eat a lot of is green beans. While actual processing time takes a bit, it is a simple process.
You will need:
Step 1. Pick the beans from the garden when they are the approximate diameter you want, and are plump and juicy. Length really doesn't matter here, as you will be shortening them later.
If you come across some that look to have little juice and can see the seeds just leave them on the plant. At the end of the season, just when the plant is drying up, go back and pick them. You can use the seeds for next year's crop.
Step 2. Sterilize the jars. Get your water on and jars in and let them boil. Usually by the time I have a pile of beans big enough for all the jars, the jars are sterile and ready to pack. I also start my water on and started heating in the pressure canner at this time too so it is hot and ready for jars as soon as they are packed. Step 2 and 3 are usually happening at the same time for efficiency.
Step 3. Clean and snap the beans. I usually dump the beans in my sink, rinsing the ones that need it, and snap them onto the counter. It is beneficial if you have a lot to can, to snap them sitting down into a clean bucket or basket.
You are snapping the beans to about 1 inch pieces. To 'snap' the beans simply break them in pieces with your fingers, no knife required.
Step 4. Salt the jars. Remove the sterile jar from the water and carefully dump the water out.
For a quart Jar you need to add 1 Tablespoon of canning salt to the jar. I put it in the bottom right away so I don't forget. Make sure it is canning salt and not table salt. There is a difference!
Step 5. Pack the beans. Pack the beans in the jar to 1 inch from the top. Then add HOT (like near boiling) water to 1 inch from the top.
Step 6. De-Bubble. This step is very important!
Slide a long spatula along the edge of the jar 2-3 times to remove any trapped air bubbles.
If an air bubble is trapped and not removed your jar could explode in the canner.
Step 7. Lids. Rinse the, one time use, canning lids in hot water. This is new compared to older lids which you needed to boil first. Then set them on the jar and attach the rings down as tight as you can.
If you are using reusable lids you will want to boil the seals and follow the instructions from the manufacturer. I purchased some from Tattler at www.reusablecanninglids.com.
If the jar is too hot to grab you can use a lid tighter as shown to help.
Step 8. Into the pressure canner. Using jar lifters pick the jars up and place them in the hot water in the pressure canner.
Once all the jars are in, make sure your water is 2 inches above the jar lids.
Step 9. Close the canner and wait. The hard part is done. Now the waiting.
Seal up the canner and turn your heat on high. Wait until you see steam coming from the vent as shown.
Step 10 Adjust the pressure and wait some more. Adjust the pressure to 11 pounds and wait for the canner to reach pressure. In a weighted canner you will hear it. It's loud and sounds like water is on somewhere in your house.
My weight is in 5 pound increments. Always adjust higher rather than lower. Thus mine is set at 15 instead of 10.
Step 11. Set the timer and wait again. Once the canner is to pressure set the timer for 25 minutes for quart jars.
After the timer goes off, turn off your heat and let the canner depressurize. You can use a hot pad and take the weight off. It will be very hot. The canner will easily open once it is depressurized. You should NOT have to force it open.
If you have another batch to do, start packing the jars now and about the time you're done the canner will be ready to open.
Step 12. Remove the jars and let them cool. Using the jar lifters, carefully lift the jars out of the hot water and place them someplace safe to cool. I use a towel doubled up.
At this point I usually walk away until the next morning. Check the lids by pressing in the center. If a lid pops back up, it is not sealed. Easiest solution? Put it in the fridge and use it within a week. Label the jars and store them away for later use!
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