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How to Can Green Beans Using a Pressure Canner: An Illustrated Guide

Joilene has been gardening and preserving food of all kinds for many years, and she thrives on the creativity involved in these processes.

Last summer (2009), I canned three different varieties of snap beans: two overgrown French Filet types (oops) and a Yellow Wax variety.

Last summer (2009), I canned three different varieties of snap beans: two overgrown French Filet types (oops) and a Yellow Wax variety.

Tasty and Prolific Snap Beans

One summer, I canned three different varieties of snap beans: two overgrown French Filet types (oops) and a Yellow Wax variety. If you have cellar space and you love home-grown green beans, this is a great way to preserve your harvest (or farmer's market bargain).

Step 1: Prepare Your Equipment

Estimate the number of jars you will need. This will depend somewhat on the size and shape of your beans (some varieties are curly, some are thin and straight), but a good rule of thumb is this: You will need 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 lbs of fresh beans to fill each quart jar.

Select Your Jars

Select only jars (quarts or pints, usually) that are free of nicks, cracks, and other imperfections, as these could cause the jars to seal poorly, which can cause them to break during canning. Select new, self-sealing lids whose seals are whole and even. Do not reuse lids, as they do not always seal properly a second time.

Wash the Jars

Wash all jars, lids, and rings in hot, soapy water, and set them on a towel to dry. Place lids in a little cake pan and pour scalding water over them. Leave them in the water until you use them.

Prepare the Pressure Canner

Wash or rinse your pressure canner, if necessary, and fill it with the recommended amount of water (usually 2 quarts). Add a splash of white vinegar if you have hard water. This will prevent your jars from collecting mineral stains. Begin heating the canner with the lid off or set it on loosely.

Now you are ready to prepare your beans.

Step 2: Snap and Wash the Beans

Snap the ends off the beans, and remove any strings. Break into pieces, if desired. If you like eating whole green beans, leave them whole. Drain them for a few minutes. It is best to prepare no more beans than you can put in your canner at one time.

Step 3: Fill the Jars

  1. Lay the beans close together. If you have broken them into pieces, you may wish to use a large-mouth funnel to help get them in the jars.
  2. Using a funnel, pour boiling water into each jar to within 1" of the rim.
  3. With a plastic spatula, remove air bubbles.
  4. Wipe rims with a clean, damp cloth or paper towel. Put lids and rings on snugly but not tightly.

Step 4: Process the Beans in a Pressure Canner

  1. Place the jars in the rack in your gently heating pressure canner. Put the lid on tightly. For lids with knobs, tighten two knobs at a time in opposite pairs to keep the pressure even.
  2. Wait for steam to come out of the vent, then count 7–10 minutes to allow the proper amount of pressure to build up. Add weight.
  3. Process quarts 25 minutes at 10 lbs pressure, and pints for 20 minutes.

Step 5: Cool the Canner, Cool the Jars

  1. Allow the pressure canner to come back to zero lbs pressure naturally.
  2. Remove the weight, then carefully open the lid, tilting it open away from you to avoid steam burns.
  3. Carefully lift out jars with a jar lifter and set them on a towel or board away from drafts to cool overnight.
  4. Lids may "ping" as they cool and seal. When cool, check seals, and refrigerate or reprocess any unsealed jars. Store in a cool, dark, dry environment.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: Why does the water in some of the jars escape when using a pressure canner?

Answer: The lids are probably screwed on to varying degrees of tightness, creating different amounts of pressure, which causes the liquid inside the jars to boil harder or sooner in some than others.

© 2010 Joilene Rasmussen