If you learn how to make canned green beans at the start of the summer, you won’t have to watch a single pod from your garden go to waste. Our step-by-step instructions for pressure-canning green beans are made both for beginners and pros, so no matter your skill level, you can preserve your fresh beans.
You can preserve a lot more than tomatoes and salsa with your canner. To help you save your summer veggies for later, we’ll show you how to can fresh green beans two different ways. Learning how to make canned green beans yourself is surprisingly simple, and once you’ve mastered the canning process, you won’t have to toss another can of store-bought beans into your cart again. To ensure not a single jar of homemade of green beans goes to waste, we’ve also got tips for how to cook canned green beans once the canning process is finished.
How to Pressure-Can Green Beans
Grab your pressure canner and six canning jars, and put a kettle of water on to boil. Pressure-canning green beans might seem like an intimidating process, but our step-by-step guide below makes it easy.
Step One: Prep the Green Beans
Start with 3½ to 4 pounds fresh green beans. Wash the beans, drain, and trim the ends, then cut or break the beans into 1-inch pieces. Measure 12 cups of beans, and place them in a 4- to 6-quart kettle or pot. Add just enough water to cover the beans, and bring them to boiling. Cook, covered, 5 minutes, then drain.
Step Two: Pack the Jars
Pack the beans into six hot, sterilized pint canning jars, like this Anchor Hocking Pint Canning Jar Set ($7.86, Walmart), being sure to leave a ½-inch headspace. If you want, you can also add ½ teaspoon canning or pickling salt to each jar. Pour boiling water over the beans in each jar, again leaving a ½-inch headspace. Wipe the jar rims to remove any food or liquid around the rim, then attach each lid and screw band. Make sure the screw bands aren’t too tight—if they are, you might not get a vacuum seal. Instead, twist the bands on just tight enough that you could still turn the band another ¼ to ½ inch tighter.
Food Safety Tip: You want the beans to stay as hot as possible throughout the entire canning process, so fill just one jar at a time. . Once you’ve sealed the jar and placed it in your pressure canner, you can move on to filling the next jar.
Step Three: Add Filled Jars to Canner with Hot Water
Place each filled jar on a rack in a pressure canner that’s at least half-filled with simmering water. Lower the rack back into the water to keep the jars hot while you fill the remaining jars. Repeat until all of the jars are added to the canner.
Once all the filled jars are in the canner, pour additional hot water into the canner as needed until all of the jars are covered with at least 1 inch of hot water. Fasten the canner lid securely. Leave weight off the vent port or open the petcock. Heat at the highest setting until steam flows freely from the open petcock or vent port.
Step Four: Begin the Pressure-Canning Process
While maintaining the highest heat setting, let the steam flow (exhaust) continuously for 10 minutes. Then place the weight on the vent port or close the petcock. Your canner will pressurize during the next 3 to 5 minutes.
Start timing the process when the pressure reading on the dial gauge indicates that 11 pounds of pressure has been reached, or when the weighted gauge begins to jiggle or rock as the canner manufacturer suggests for 10 pounds of pressure. Process pint jars 20 minutes.
Regulate the heat under the canner to maintain a steady pressure at (or slightly above) the correct gauge pressure.
Food Safety Tip: If at any time the pressure dips below the recommended amount, bring the canner back to pressure and start the timing process over from the beginning, using the original total process time.
Step Five: Remove Jars from Canner and Cool
When the processing time is complete, turn off the heat, remove your canner from the heat (if possible), and let the canner depressurize naturally. Once the canner has depressurized, remove the weight from the vent port or open the petcock. Wait 10 minutes, then unfasten the lid and carefully lift it away from you so the steam doesn’t burn your face.
Remove the jars with a jar lifter (Norpro Canning Jar Lifter, $6.71, Amazon) and place them on a towel, leaving at least an inch of space between each jar. Let the jars cool, undisturbed, at room temperature 12 to 24 hours.
How to Cook Canned Green Beans
Once the work of canning is over, it’s time to enjoy your beans! Luckily, learning how to prepare canned green beans once you’ve preserved a batch is easy. To serve a can of green beans, place the contents of one of your jars in a small saucepan. Bring to a rapid boil, then boil, covered, 10 minutes. If you’re wondering how to season canned green beans, a pinch of salt and a shake of pepper is the most classic method, or you can drizzle on a little melted butter or even a crumble of crispy bacon on top. Or try making a canned green bean recipe that includes mushrooms or carrots and tomatoes for more flavor.
How to Can Green Beans Without a Pressure Canner
If you want your beans to keep their natural flavor over time, pressure-canning green beans is the best way to can. However, if you want to learn how to can green beans in a water-bath canner, it is possible, but you’ll have to make a few changes. Because green beans are low in acidity, they have to be canned in a pressure canner so they’re safe to eat up to a year later. But if you’re willing to increase the acidity of your green beans by pickling them, you can process them in a water-bath canner.
Instead of pouring boiling water over your beans once they’re in jars, use a pickling mixture made with vinegar, water, and pickling salt (you can find the full instructions in our recipe for Spicy Pickled Green Beans). One advantage of pickling your green beans is that they’ll need less time to process; 20 minutes is about how long to pressure-can green beans, but processing pickled green beans in a water-bath canner takes only about 5 minutes. Ultimately, it comes down to flavor—for the freshest flavor, stick to pressure canning; if you want pickled beans, possibly for a bloody Mary garnish, water-bath canning is worth a try.
Now that you’ve learned how easy canning and preserving your food can be, why stop at green beans? You can also learn how to can corn, how to can peaches, how to can hot peppers—most fruits and veggies can be preserved in either a pressure canner or a water-bath canner. And if you’re eyeing produce that isn’t so well-suited for canning, there’s always time to learn how to freeze fruits and veggies!