I’m now a country girl.
Nick and I canned green beans this week for the first time. 8 pints on Monday night and 7 quarts Tuesday night.
And we still have buckets of green beans to get through. Plus, we’ve only picked the first harvest of the beans, which means we have weeks of beans to deal with.
Until Monday, I was terrified of canning. I knew it couldn’t be horribly hard to do, but I know that it’s one very long process that you have follow – to the letter – or your food will go to waste.
I think starting with green beans was a good idea. They weren’t hard at all!
First, the basics you need:
- jars, lids, and rings
- a pressure cooker
- boiling water
- green beans
That list doesn’t look too scary, right?
We started out by filling our clean jars with some hot water and letting them sit while we got everything else ready.
While the jars were warming from the water, we set the green beans out next to the jars, got the hot water going in the tea kettle, turned the pressure cooker on to start getting warm, and got the lids simmering in a small pan of water.
Once the water in the tea kettle was boiling and our lids were simmering on low, we got started filling the jars.
We decided to do a raw pack with the green beans (not cooking them before putting them in the jars) because they cook for 20 minutes in the pressure cooker and we didn’t want totally mushy green beans.
Nick dumped the hot water out of each jar and filled them with green beans (to the bottom of the ring part of the jar, leaving a 1” headspace for cooking) before passing them to me.
I poured some of our boiling water from the tea kettle on top of the green beans, filling to the same level.
Then we used this canning tool I got last year to press any extra air bubbles out of the jars before sealing. You could also use any other wooden or plastic spoon.
Once the air bubbles were out, I wiped the top of the jar off, put a lid on and secured the ring.
Then once each jar is filled and the lids and rings are on, you put them in the pressure cooker and get cooking.
We followed the directions that came with our pressure cooker, which were to let the jars cook in the cooker (without the pressure seal) for 10 minutes with constant steam coming out of the cooker. After those 10 minutes, we put the seal on to trap the pressure until it got to 10-11 pounds of pressure.
Once it hit that level, we cooked these pint jars for 20 minutes at 10-11 pounds of pressure.
Once the time is up, you move the pressure cooker off the heat and let it cool until the pressure is released.
By the time the cooker has cooled down and the pressure is gone, the jars have (most likely) sealed and popped and are ready for storing.
And now we have 15 jars of green beans! With plenty more beans to get through.
For our first time canning, I think it went well. It’s not a hard process, but it does take a long time from start to finish.
I seriously can’t wait to use these this winter when green beans are a summer memory. And tomatoes? Those will be exciting come January. But canning tomatoes will be a different adventure – coming soon!
Have you ever canned anything?