Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Canning Beans

With tomato season nearly done, I've moved on to canning beans for my little family. It really is a labor of love: I remember snapping beans with my great-aunt, and I love the job, but I absolutely hate green beans to eat. So, these are all for Mr. FC&G.

Growing up, we used to joke about pressure canners exploding and winding up with beans on the ceiling, but today's pressure cookers seem to be more reliable. At minimum, I can promise that I've never had to scrape beans off the ceiling, and the only jar failure I've had was indeed the result of a chip in the rim of the jar, not a problem with the canner.

If you want to can beans or any other "low-acid" vegetable, you must use a pressure canner in order to kill as many of the bacteria in the jar as possible. A pressure canner is, in fact, an autoclave, just like the machinery that sterilizes medical instruments. It does just as good a job on foodstuffs.

For green beans, just blanch the beans for three minutes and then fill the jars full.  Top off with water from the blanching so that all the spaces are full, then load the jars in your canner.

Since we are right at the 1,000 foot elevation line, I use 15 pounds of pressure with my canner; other guides will say 10 pounds at lower elevations. Follow your canners instructions for the amount of water and the amount of venting time, then process for 20 minutes for pints and 25 minutes for quarts.

Easy as that. And no need to clean the ceiling.
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