Time to Can, and Our Favorite Green Bean Recipes – Green Bean Canning, Part 3

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Good record keeping is important.  We weigh everything to help us with planning next season.

Now it’s time to can!  You’ve already done your preparation so you know how to use your canner, have your jars ready, and know how long to process them.  You can hot or cold process green bean, but I like to hot process them personally.  More beans fit in a jar with hot process because the beans are already soft.  

To hot process the green beans boil them for five minutes.  While you’re waiting for the water to boil wash your jars and lids.  The jars don’t need to be sterilized, just clean and hot.  Adding hot green beans to cold jars can cause the jars to crack.

Once your green beans have boiled scoop them into the jars.  You don’t want to pack it too tight, just tap the jar on the counter gently to make the beans settle.  Pour the water they boiled in over them, making sure to respect the headspace, that’s the air gap between the beans in the can and the lid.  Headspace matters, it’s part of the canning science.  

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It’s not always necessary, but I like to lightly wash the beans before boiling them.

Everyone has their own recipe, but I like to can without any salt or spice added.  Salt is not actually necessary to the preservation of canned food, it’s just a personal preference.  Because we will use these green beans in all sorts of dishes I want to be able to add the salt, pepper, or other spices then to suit whatever dish I am making at the time.  The downside to this is that the flavor won’t cook into the green beans, so if you want to be able to just dump them out in a bowl, and have ready made side dish I would add your salt and pepper to each jar before filling with beans.

Now for the part of canning I don’t like.  Follow the instructions in your canner’s manual and the recipe you have selected from the USDA to process your cans.  For us this was 15lbs pressure for 25 minutes.  Canning is loud, and you have to stay in the kitchen for most of the processing in order to adjust the stove heat, and keep the pressure where it needs to be.  I like a quiet kitchen and don’t appreciate the noise the canners make.

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What’s wrong with this canner load?  Nothing!  It’s okay to mix foods and jar sizes as long as you are processing using the pressure and time for the jar which needs the most and the longest respectively.

While your canners are boiling you probably need to cook lunch or supper. I would recommend a green bean dish.  Here’s two of our favorites.  

Crockpot Green Bean Roast

Ingredients:

Thinly sliced ham pieces

1 onion

Potatoes

Green beans

Seasoned Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, (Bay Leaves, Rosemary)

Butter or Bacon Grease

Use whatever ratio of ham, potatoes, and green beans you would like.  We usually do about two times more green beans than potatoes.  Quarter the onion, and cut the potatoes in large chunks.  Brown the whole mess on high heat in butter or bacon grease.

When the onion and ham have browned some put it all in a crockpot.  Pour 1 cup of water into the skillet and boil and scrape until the brown stuck on the bottom of the pan has come loose.  Then pour that in the crock pot too.  If you want more liquid you can add water or broth to this.  Sometimes I just use broth for the liquid and put bacon fat on top if I don’t have time to brown it.

Season to your liking,  I typically use seasoned salt, pepper, and garlic powder, but sometimes I add in some bay leaves and rosemary.

Cook on high for 3-8 hours.  

Old Fashioned Boiled Green Beans

Ingredients:

Green Beans

Bacon or Ham, (or just bacon grease if you don’t have any meat)

Onion

Garlic Cloves

Salt and Pepper

The old fashioned part of this recipe is that I boil the green beans absolutely to death.  Remember that these aren’t skinny little new beans, there really are fully formed beans in these green beans.  

Brown the meat in a hot skillet, and add to a pot with the beans.  Pour 1/2 cup of water in the skillet and boil and scrape until the brown has gone into the water, then pour this in the pot.  Finely dice the onion and garlic and add it with the salt and pepper to the pot of beans.  Fill the pot with just enough water to cover the beans and simmer for 1-3 hours. 

To serve, strain and top with butter or bacon fat.

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