I saw the very first of this season’s green beans this past week at the farmers market. The long, green pods were snatched up by the first lucky customers to discover them. As the coming few weeks progress, green beans will be plentiful. Good eating is in store.
The day following the farmers market, I taught a canning class. The resounding comment from the participants during the class was, “I can’t wait to pick my green beans in the garden.
Now I’m ready to can them and see them on the shelf.” I certainly understand that anxious sense of waiting for the garden and know well the satisfaction of seeing the jars of vegetables cooling on the counter.
The nutritional content of green beans is particularly attractive. Without added fat, green beans are a dieter’s dream come true, containing fewer than 25 calories per half-cup serving and a fair amount of vitamins A and C. At that rate, you can help yourself to a super-size serving and still come in under 100 calories.
If you find yourself with plenty of green beans this summer, there are a variety of possibilities for putting them up: freezing, canning, or pickling. Freezing is the easiest option and requires the least amount of equipment. Canning, however, yields the flavor that most people prefer. While canning requires more equipment, when done properly, several quarts of green beans can be canned in one afternoon.
How to Can Green Beans
Select tender, crisp pods. Prepare beans for canning by washing well, stringing, and breaking into 1-inch pieces or leave whole. At this point, you can choose to do either a raw pack or a hot pack
Raw pack: Pack prepared raw beans tightly into hot canning jars, leaving 1-inch head space. Add ½ teaspoon salt to pints or 1 teaspoon to quarts (salt is for flavor only; it does not aide in preservation.) Fill jar to 1 inch from the top with boiling water. Remove air bubbles, wipe jar rims, adjust lids and process in pressure canner.
Hot Pack: The instructions are the same except that beans are boiled for 5 minutes before they are packed into hot jars. Regardless of the type of pack you prefer, the beans should be processed in a pressure canner. Process jars in a dial gauge canner at 11 pounds pressure OR a weighted gauge canner at 10 pounds pressure. Pints should process 20 minutes and quarts should process 25 minutes.
Source: So Easy to Preserve, 5th Edition.
Interested in learning more by attending a hands-on canning class? Here’s a list of the upcoming Clemson Extension Canning programs in the area. $30 registration fee per class. Take home the product you helped to can and Ball Blue Book at the end of class.
Jams and Jellies — June 22 Greenwood County
Water bath Canning — June 24 Greenwood County
June 28 Laurens County
July 8 Abbeville County
Pressure Canning — June 25 Greenwood County
June 29 Laurens County
July 9 Abbeville County
Call 864-446-2276 Ext 0 to register for any of these programs (limited space) or for more details.