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Canning Green Beans

Updated on October 15, 2008

Preserving summer and fall's bounty has always been a family tradition. I remember my Grandmother canning beans and now my Mother and myself canning beans. We never freeze them as they lose their texture, even though I have bought frozen green beans (don't tell my Mother) to use in stir fry or soup.

Supplies you will need:






Lids and Bands (Ball Brand, family choice)

Large stock or canning pot (large enough to hold five jars)

A couple of hours


Here's what you do:

Pick the beans

Snap the beans

Wash and dry the beans

Wash (sterilize) and dry your jars and lid bands

Pack the jars with beans

Add a pinch of salt to each jar

Add enough water to cover the beans

Wipe the mouth of jar with a clean paper towel so the lids will adhere

Add the jar lid (Ball brand) and the band

Screw the band on loosely (not tight, you will see why later)

Place the jars in a large canning pot, the jars should not be touching

Add water to the pot just to midway of the jars

Cook or process on med-high until the water in the pot boils

Turn the burner to medium and process until the water bubbles inside of the jar

Cook or process for another five to seven minutes and turn the heat off

Let the jars sit in the water until cool enough to handle and lids are sealed


Detailed instructions:

If you are lucky enough to have a garden, great! You can pick your own fresh beans. If not, the Farmers Market is the best choice since their produce is usually fresh, picked that day or at worst the day before. Otherwise, really fresh, blemish free beans from the grocery will work.

Once you have your beans, they need to be snapped. This can be done by snapping the stem end and the tale end off of the bean or you can cut them. Which ever is easiest. We always had a bean snapping contest at our house. My Grandmother would say, "Let's see who can snap the most beans the fastest!"

Now that all of your beans are snapped, they are ready to be "picked over" and washed. This is when you remove any parts of the bean that are blemished or trash the whole bean. At this point some folks go ahead and snap the bean into bite size pieces, if desired or leave whole. I guess it depends on how you plan to use them later. Wash then really well with cool water and dry with clean, lint free tea towels.

While your beans are draining/drying you now need to wash and dry your jars. Before dishwashers, my Grandmother always sterilized her jars in the same big pot the beans would process in later. She did this by filling the jars with water and putting them in a water bath, boiled the water and jars for a few minutes. But today, I put them in the dishwasher, alone and run through the quick cycle. Now, if your hands can stand it, you can hand wash in nearly boiling water. This way is really quicker.

Ok, now you are ready to "pack your jars". Once all is clean and dry, start adding your beans to the jars and really pay attention to how the beans fall into the jars. Strategically placing the beans in jars will give you a large yield when you are ready to cook them later and look nicer in the jar. You know, if you plan to show them off, do it well. Be sure to leave a little "head room" in your jar, maybe a ΒΌ inch at the top, the beans and water will expand some during the cooking process and once preserved the beans on top will turn a dark color if you do not have them fully covered with water. So, leave a little room. Now that the beans are in the jar, add a pinch of salt, nature's own preservative, and add water enough to cover the beans. Wipe your jar mouth with a clean paper towel or lint free cloth and add the Ball lid (other brands don't seem to consistently seal. Pretty much hit or miss. Go with the Ball brand). This ensures the lid will seal completely. Any debris on the jar mouth can ruin the entire jar of beans. Add the band and screw on lightly allowing the lid to contract and expand during processing. If you screw the lid on too tightly, the jar can explode during the process.

Have your stock or canning pot ready on the stove. Gingerly add the jars to the pot leaving "wiggle" room between each jar. (My pot will only hold five quart size jars or six pint size jars.) Add your water midway of the jars and I always weave a tea towel between the jars so they don't clank together and possibly break. Set your burner to med-high until the water in the pot boils and then reduce to medium. Cook until the water inside of jars bubbles. Process for five to seven minutes longer and turn off the burner.

By now, some of you lids should have made a popping sound, this is good, meaning the jar lid has sealed. Sometimes you have to press lightly on the lid and it will seal. All lids should be sealed by the time the jars are cool enough to handle.

Should you have any jars that do not seal, eat them that day or the very next day. These beans are not preserved, but are still ok to eat in the immediate future.

These preserved beans will keep nearly forever as long as the lids are still sealed, they don't expire. I have a friend whose Mother has beans from 1996; they are as green as the beans I canned yesterday.


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    • profile image

      Yoritz 3 years ago

      So...I am trying this method with 5 quarts. We'll see how it goes. The one item I think needs to be clearer.....when you add water to cover the beans. Should it be hot or cold? Boiled or tap?

    • Better Yourself profile image

      Better Yourself 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Great hub! I'm excited to start my first garden this year and am hoping to have the time to can some veggies as well. This is very helpful info - thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      jo 5 years ago

      we canned 21 quarts of half runner beans cooked on top of stove for over three hrs and all cans set on counter till they sealed two months later we went to open some and they were spoiled onlo about half of the jars were spoiled and they were still sealed what could have happened?

    • profile image

      Tonya 6 years ago

      I pressured cooked 14 jars of green beans at 10 pounds of pressure for 25 minutes, the jars are all half full of water, But all lids sealed.. Is this ok? will they stay good?

    • profile image

      Jessica 6 years ago

      You need to use a pressure canner for low acid foods such as beans, fish, meat etc at risk of getting botulism. DO NOT USE WATER BATH METHOD AS IT IS TOO RISKY! It may be the OLD way of canning but the correct temperature will never be achieved no matter how long you boil the food for....time does not equal temperature, pressure does.

    • profile image

      Janet 6 years ago

      I pressure canned Green beans last night and all the lids poped but I only canned them for 10 min. under 11 lb of pressure is this ok

    • profile image

      Worried 6 years ago

      This is not a safe method for canning green beans. I am glad you have been lucky for so many years. Some folks in my family have been, too, but they process in a water bath this way and boil for 3-8 hours. Even that is actually not tested safe enough to get rid of botulism potential because the water bath never gets to the temperature needed to kill the spores. Here are some laboratory tested directions from the food scientists at the National Center for Home Food Preserving.

    • profile image

      concerned canner 6 years ago


    • profile image

      Susie 6 years ago

      I have green beans I steamed and the water turned red. The beans were straight from the garden, rinsed and snapped then steamed (no seasoning.) We have clay soil and have added in organic compost but nothing else. I wondered if the iron is in the soil???

    • profile image

      Leanne 6 years ago

      This isn't a canning question per say but we steamed some fresh green beans from our garden last night for dinner and the water in the pot turned red. Does anyone know the cause of this?

    • profile image

      green bean recipes 7 years ago

      I am used to canning tomatoes. I will try canning green beans next. Thanks for the step by step process.

    • profile image

      Susie 7 years ago

      I also have two jars where the water was "cooked out". Can I put them in the fridge and eat them within a week like the earlier post said.

    • profile image

      Susie 7 years ago

      My beans also turned reddish and the water. I cooked them @ 11 pounds for 25 minutes. My question is can we still eat them. I have 12 quarts.

    • LeaAnne profile image

      LeaAnne 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Ok. I have a few possible answers to the beans and water turning red. The water you used in the jars could have had a high iron content and/or the beans could have been processed to long in canner/pressure cooker. The sediment in the bottom of the jar leads me to beleive that something was in the water (iron or minerals for well water) or the beans were not thoroughly cleaned before putting into the jars.

      To answer yoru question Heather, I think you may have processed your jars in the boiling water to long, thus "cooking the water out" as my Mother would say.

      Hope this helps and happy canning.

    • profile image

      Heather  7 years ago

      Hello. So I filled the jar with beans and then water and used 1in head space, but after canning the jar is only half full of water.

    • profile image

      Deanna Arbaugh 7 years ago

      Hi. same question on the beans. Mine had a reddish color and a couple weeks after canning seem to have "sediment" on the bottom of the jars. ????

    • LeaAnne profile image

      LeaAnne 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Thank you so much for all for all of the comments and feedback. I am puzzled though, about the the reddish colored beans and the water. I will have to go to my expert, my Mom, for this one. I will post as soon as I get an answer.

      Thanks again.

    • profile image

      mike 7 years ago

      my green beans also turned red after pressure canning. same question.

    • profile image

      Barb 7 years ago

      I just got done canning my green beans and the water and beans appear redish. I picked them this morning. ( I have to admit they were a little bigger then I like) and raw packed them and pressure cooked for 15 minutes at 15 lbspressure (pints). Is the color due to Iron in my water or is it because the beans were over ripe.

    • profile image

      jessie 7 years ago

      we are cooking our beans in a pressure cooker and then putting them into hot sterile jars with some of the juice from the beans. the jars seal but is this method ok?

    • profile image

      Lisa 7 years ago

      Beans need to be processed correctly, and idealy in a pressure canner, that is what the regulations require. If you use a water bath canner, you should boil them for at least 3 hours in the canner. Refrigerate beans that don't seal and use them within a week.

    • profile image

      vickie bradbury 7 years ago

      i need to know how long to cook in caner

    • profile image

      Julia 7 years ago

      If green beans aren't put up properly, the right amount of pressure and time in a pressure cooker, they can develop botulism. Botulism is a deadly bacteria which grows in nonacidic environments. Care must be taken to do green beans right.

    • sagebrush_mama profile image

      sagebrush_mama 8 years ago from The Shadow of Death Valley...Snow Covered Mountain Views Abound!

      I still have a few gallon bags of beans in my freezer from two summers ago. Grin! My bean plants got caught by an early frost this year, right about the time they were at the height of production last year, and so I'm glad I had a bit left. I will have to try canning them next year. I've been a little worried, though, about whether or not I need a pressure canner. It sounds as if you've had good success with just the boiling water bath.

    • profile image

      Michael McKinney 8 years ago

      this may sound stupid but I have lots of green beans that have dried out on the plants. (end of season) Can I pick the beans out of the shells and rehydrate them and use them in bean soup? It seems to me my grandmother and I did this when I was a child.

    • profile image

      Erin 8 years ago

      Beware - beans are a low-acid vegetable and require pressure canner processing. It is very dangerous to use water bath canning unless your beans have an acid such as vinegar added!!

    • profile image

      Dana 8 years ago

      Can you use a regular pressure cooker or does it have to be a special pressure cooker for canning.

    • profile image

      rmpotts 8 years ago

      I canned 40 quarts of green beans in my pressure canner last night. Most of them are beautiful but I had one batch that ended up with only a couple of inches of water left in the jar in spite of the fact that it was filled to within 1" of the top of the jar. I have canned many things for a number of years and have never had this happen. The bands were turned pretty tight on the jar too. Could someone explain to me what caused this? Can I pop the seal and add more water then add new caps and reseal? Thanks!!

    • LeaAnne profile image

      LeaAnne 8 years ago from North Carolina

      Annette, we never cooked the beans prior to canning them. I don't see that it is necessary either as long as you process the jars long enough to seal them.

    • profile image

      annette 8 years ago

      my grandmother canned foods she always cooked beans two hours on top of the stove is this realy needed or can you use less time

    • profile image

      Karen 8 years ago

      Green Beans are a low acid food and not processing the raw pack beans in a pressure canner for the recommended time (reaching a specific temerature) leaves them vunerable to bacteria such as botulism which can be deadly! Canner be ware.....

    • profile image

      Debra 8 years ago

      I canned some green beans using the water bath method. I heard them pop as they cooled and they turned out beautifully, the problem is when I check them a few days later there was a white film in the bottom of the jars. When I looked at them closer they were not sealed and had spoiled. What happened?

    • profile image

      Debra 8 years ago

      I canned some green beans using the water bath method. I heard them pop as they cooled and they turned out beautifully, the problem is when I check them a few days later there was a white film in the bottom of the jars. When I looked at them closer they were not sealed and had spoiled. What happened?

    • LeaAnne profile image

      LeaAnne 8 years ago from North Carolina


      Does add salt and vinegar change the taste of the beans?

    • profile image

      Sandra Jackson 8 years ago

      Hi, my husband are in the process of canning beans. I would never do this, but it is his favorite vegetable. It is so much work and he wants to do it like his Mom did. He adds a teas. salt and teas. of vinager to his. I have to admit they are good.

    • LeaAnne profile image

      LeaAnne 9 years ago from North Carolina

      I won't tell! And I think they will be fine.

    • dineane profile image

      dineane 9 years ago from North Carolina

      you are so smart! Don't tell your mom but mine are going in the freezer :-)


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