There is nothing like coming home from a long vacation. After spending a few weeks up north, I was beyond happy to be back down in South Arkansas.
Sorry I haven’t post any blogs in the last few weeks. I have been on vacation with my family and busy checking a few items off my summer bucket list. I will be posting a blog on all my adventures in Yellowstone and the Badlands just as soon as I get all my photos and thoughts together, so stay tuned.
When we got home I went to visit my grandparents, and true to tradition, before I left my grandma sent me out to the garden to pick some fresh produce.
Every summer when I was a child I got to go spend a few weeks with my grandparents in the summertime. I have so many memories of my grandmother out in the garden picking fresh produce. Then, every Sunday she prepares a meal for the whole family with all the fresh homegrown vegetables.
My favorite vegetable throughout all the years has always been my grandmas canned green beans. She picks them fresh from the garden and cans them every year. This year when I was out in the garden picking me some squash, I noticed that the green bean plants were loaded down with beans and it hit me that I wanted to learn to can green beans the way my grandma always had. Of course she was more than happy to show me.
I have never canned anything before, so I was clueless. Therefore, this is the beginners guide. Canning for dummies.
2. Rinse them good and weed out any bad beans.
3. Then you have to cut or snap off the ends and snap them into 2-3 inch pieces.
4. Once you have them prepared you are ready to cook them.
It turns out that my grandmother has been using the same canning recipe for green beans for 52 years. She did not know how to can when she was first married, so she went to her sister-in-law and got a recipe that was my great-grandmothers. She still has it written on the original piece of paper.
5. You put all your ingredients in a large pot and wait for it to start to boil before you start timing the 30 mins.
6. While you are waiting on your beans to cook, you need to be sterilizing your jars you are going to can the beans in. You really just need to get them hot so that they will not break when you put the hot beans and liquids in. To do this, you can either choose to put them in the dishwasher or you can put them in some hot water in the sink.
7. Keep them hot until it is time to put the beans in the jars.
8. You need to put a shallow pan of water on the stove to heat your lids in so the rubber will be hot and they will seal.
9. You need to have 1 more large pan of water on the stove getting hot so that you can put you put your jars in the hot water to process and seal once you have your beans inside.
10. After your beans have boiled for 30 minutes you can get your jars out and begin filling them with beans.
11. Pack the beans in with a spoon to make sure the jar is adequately filled. You want to leave the neck of the jars unfilled so that there will be air space left so that the jars will seal properly.
12. Then, ladle in the juice filling up until the neck of the jar still leaving the neck of the jars unfilled for headspace.
13. Before placing your lids on, you need to clean the rims of the jars with a clean damp cloth to remove anything that could prevent the jars from sealing.
14. Place a lid from your shallow pan of hot water on your jar and tighten a ring fingertip-tight on the jar. You want to avoid over tightening the lids because that could result in a failure for the jars to seal.
15. Once you have your jars filled and lids tightened, you can place your jars onto a canning rack in the the boiling water bath, covered with a lid, to process for 10 minutes. The Rack is used to keep the jars off the bottom of the pan and to keep them upright. The water should cover the tops of the jars. Do not start timing the 10 minutes until the water begins to boil over the jars.
NOTE: My recipe says to leave it in the boiling water for 10 minutes, but this time varies depending on the altitude. I live at a whooping 296ft above sea level so I do not have to worry much about the differences in cooking at high altitudes, but I found a nice chart about it in the Ball Blue Book: Guide to Preserving.
16. After processing the jars in the water, you need to take them out and and place them somewhere to cool. They will need to cool for 12 hours before you move or transport them.
17. You will probably hear the jars popping while they cool. This is a good sign that they are sealing off well.
NOTE: Do not tighten the lids any more because that could cause the seal to break.
You should be able to store these sealed jars in the cabinet for up to a year. When you get ready to eat them you just remove them from the can and warm them up. According to my grandmother, her secret to making them taste so excellent is when you get ready to warm them, add a little onion and dill before heating for a few minutes on the stove.
I am so glad that I learned how to can these green beans because they taste 100 times better than the bland green beans I used to buy in the can at Wal-Mart. Now I have a good tasting vegetable that I can quickly warm up with any meal.
Canning vegetables is becoming a bit of a lost art in today’s society since fewer people grow gardens and because you can buy a can of green beans at the store for 98 cents, but It is a skill I am glad I learned early in life from my grandmother so that I know how to preserve fresh and good tasting food for my family.
P.S. I am by no means an expert at this, and my grandmother is a self-taught old-fashioned southern lady so these might not be all the textbook methods, but these methods produce good and safe products.
Canning Green Beans Recipe
-lids and rings
-2 large pots
-1 small pan
-10 pints of fresh green beans (washed and snapped)
-6 pints of Water
-1 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
-1 cup of Sugar
-5 TBSP of Canning Salt
Wash beans, drain, remove ends, and cut or break beans into 2-3 inch pieces.
Add all ingredients to the pot, bring water to a boil, and boil beans for 30 minutes.
Pack hot beans into a hot jar, leaving a 1-inch headspace. Pack the beans in the jar with a spoon to remove excess air space. Ladle the hot juice over the beans, leaving a 1 inch head space. Clean rims, put on lids and tighten to fingertip-tight.
Place jars on canning rack with boiling water covering the tops of the jars. Lace lid on pot and boil for 10 minutes. Take out to cool for 12 hours. Check seals.
This book pictured above is an awesome resource to teach you how to can, freeze or dehydrate all kinds of produce. I have the 37th edition and the ISBN is 0-9727537-4- 5. It was very helpful in explaining the science behind the canning and sealing of the jars.