One of the things that keep me busy this summer is our not-so-small backyard garden. With all the vegetable harvest we have [in abundance], so far I was able to preserve about 70 total quarts of vegetables by canning, and 40 quarts [zip bag] frozen veggies. Last year and in the previous year I was able to can vegetables and fruits as well.
In my native land, Philippines, a few of the common methods of food preservation are drying, salting and some dehydrating. I have not done nor heard of [home-made] canning before until I came to the US many years ago. My mother-in-law does it every year during garden season and when there are abundant fruits in season. With the knowledge she shared with me, and from reading and hands-on experience over the years, I can say I am one of those proficient ‘home canners’. 🙂
So what is canning? Read a brief history of canning.
Canning is not limited to beans and legumes, fruits and vegetables only. Animal products such as red meat, fish, seafood, and other perishable food products can be processed and canned as well. I enjoy canning even though it takes times to do it. I love the fact that other than eating fresh; I am able to preserve it and enjoy it throughout the year (and many years) even though the vegetables and fruits are no longer in season — without buying it. I know for sure it’s cost-effective and healthier for me!
There are two ways you can can your vegetables and fruits; by pressure canning and by water bath canning. In canning green beans or long beans I typically do the pressure canning method which is the best way to do in less acidic fruits and vegetables.
In this preparation I only season the beans with salt. Other times I seasoned my green beans or long beans with garlic, onion, soy sauce, oil and other seasonings, before packing them. Once you are comfortable in doing canning you can experiment in your seasoning and mixing with other vegetables.
THINGS YOU’LL NEED:
7 quart mason/canning jars
7 pairs metal rings and lids
green beans or long beans (or a combination of both)
1. Check canning jars for nicks, cracks are rough [lip] surface. Do not use if jars are not in perfect condition for it affects the canning process. Used jars can be reused as long as they’re in perfect condition.
2. Make sure lids are not dented. Rings should not be too old and rusty.
3. Wash canning jars with soap and hot water. Rinse thoroughly. You can also wash canning/mason jars in a dish washer. If the jars are really dirty wash them with soap and water, and boil them in hot water for 3-5 minutes. Keep the mason jars clean until you need it.
4. Wash or soak lids and metal rings in a hot water. Some manufacturers require you to boil the canning lids. Wash rings and make sure they are in good condition.
1. Sort and wash young and tender green beans (or any beans; long, wax, Italian).
2. Remove stem and blossom ends or any “strings”.
3. Cut about 1 to 2 inches length (or you may choose whole pieces).
4. In a big pot put about 3 quarts of water (12 cups). Bring it to boil for about 3 minutes.
5. Raw Pack: Place cut or whole green beans (or any vegetables) in hot Mason jars. Cover with boiling water leaving 1-inch head space.
* Hot Pack: Pack cooked beans tightly in clean, hot Mason jars leaving 1-inch head space.
6. Put half or a teaspoon canning salt.
7. Wipe jar rims (opening) with clean damp cloth.
8. Place sterilized/washed lids and rings on each jars… Closing it tight.
* Hot Pack – Option on packing beans (or any vegetables) in the jars. Vegetables are precooked in boiling water until heated through. Pack pre-cooked vegetables into clean, hot Mason jars and cover with boiling water. Whenever possible, the precooking water should be used as liquid to cover the vegetables after packing into Mason jars. However, there are a few vegetables, such as green and asparagus, which make the cooking water bitter and undesirable to use, so you may use freshly boiled water.
9. Place 3 quarts (12 cups) of hot water, canning rack and jars with beans in canner. Always use canning rack as jars may break if set directly on bottom of canner.
10. Look through the vent pipe of the canner before placing cover on canner to make sure nothing’s blocking the hole. Read canner instruction carefully.
11. Place cover on canner and lock securely. Read canner manual carefully.
12. Exhaust air from the canner and jars by adjusting heat to a relatively high setting to obtain a free flow of steam from the vent pipe. Consult instruction book which accompanied your range for recommended heat setting. Reduce heat to maintain a moderate steam flow. Allow steam to flow for 10 minutes.
13. Place pressure regulator on vent pipe. Set burner at a relatively high heat setting, on most range burners, and heat canner until pressure dial gauge registers desired pressure.
14. Process at 11 pounds of pressure – Quarts for 25 minutes (Pints for 20 minutes). For processing above 2,000 feet altitude.
* Altitude and Pressure Chart for Canning Vegetables (based on the Presto Canner manual. Other manufacturer’s chart may vary slightly.)
Altitude Pounds of Pressure for Pints and Quarts
2,001 – 4000 ft. 12 lbs.
4,001 – 6, 000 ft. 13 lbs.
6,001 – 8,000 ft. 14 lbs.
Processing time is the same at all altitudes.
15. At end of processing time, turn burner to “off” and remove canner from heat source.
16. Let pressure drop of its own accord, do not quick-cool. Pressure us completely reduced when the air vent/cover lock and overpressure plug have dropped and no steam escapes when the pressure regulator is tilted.
Note: Do not use the pressure dial gauge as an indicator for when pressure is completely reduced. Attempting to speed the cooling of the canner may cause jar breakage.
17. When pressure has been completely reduced, remove pressure regulator from vent pipe and let canner cool for 10 minutes.
Note: Do not remove the pressure regulator until pressure is completely reduced and the air vent/cover lock has dropped. Always remove pressure regulator before opening the cover.
18. To remove canner cover follow canner manual. If cover seems to stick or is hard to turn, do not force it open. Sticking may indicate that there is still pressure inside the canner. If doubt about pressure being completely reduced, let the canner stand until cool before removing the cover.
19. Lift canner cover toward you to keep steam away from you when opening.
20. Remove jars from canner using a jar lifter. Set jars upright on board or cloth away from draft to cool. When jars are cold, test seal, remove ring bands, label, date, and store in a cool, dry place.
Pressure dial guage set at 12-13 pounds (for our 4,0001 ft. location) for 15-20 minutes. At this time your fire must be reduced low to meet a steady pressure. It will take a few minutes to adjust to the right setting.
I hope you are not intimated and overwhelmed by the preparation and canning process. It is fairly easy when you have done it several times. It takes the will to do it, and the end result? It’s rewarding! You must try it! 🙂
You can also can green beans using water bath (not using a pressure canner) method but the processing (cooking time) takes longer. I will post the preparation a little later. Pressure canning is highly recommended on less acidic vegetables like green beans.