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How to Harvest and Preserve Green Beans

Green beans are the perfect beginner gardener’s vegetable.

 

Green beans are easy to grow, harvest, and preserve. The best thing about green beans is that they don’t require much attention and they are very prolific for the effort you put into them.

 

Green beans are ready to harvest somewhere around 8 weeks after you plant the seed. The care is easy to grow but every vegetable needs specific care, especially if you choose to grow them organically. Subscribe to the newsletter for thorough, ongoing instructions for your garden as the season’s progress.

 

Green beans can go from bloom to harvest in ten to fourteen days. Don’t let them get too big or they will be stringy and tough. These beans are perfect. The seeds inside are still small and the pods are tender.

 

For information about the best Spring vegetables to grow,  read this: https://seasonsofdevotion.com/the-best-seeds-for-a-spring-garden/

 

and how to plant your Spring garden, read this: https://seasonsofdevotion.com/learn-how-to-plant-seeds-for-a-successful-spring-garden/

 

It may be too late to plant green beans for central Florida, mid-May, but it’s worth a try!

 

Get Ready

 

Before you harvest your beans, get your supplies ready. I use a Presto Canner. It’s somewhere around thirty years old now. It’s a big investment, but once  you have it, you will never have to buy another one unless you want two! And I used two when I canned for a family of nine.

 

Purchase jars that are specifically meant for canning. Don’t try to use jars that are not canning jars. They will not stand up to the pressure and they will break during the canning process. Jars are another expense but, if you take care of them, they will last for many, many years. You can use either pint sized jars or quart sized. Even though I am canning for just two of us now, I still use quart size for green beans. One quart will serve us two meals. Perfect for leftover night.

 

If you have saved jars from a previous year or been blessed with used ones, don’t forget to take an inventory of seals and rings. Do not reuse a seal. Rings will need to be replaced eventually because they will rust. Rusty rings are a pain to remove off the jar, so treat yourself to new ones when the old ones get rusty. Now you are ready to go to the garden and pick green beans!

 

Harvest

 

When you pick a green bean, try to pull them off in an upward motion using only enough “tug” to take them off the plant. There will be immature green beans that will be ready over the next two to three weeks so you don’t want to pull so hard that the whole plant is uprooted!

 

Wash

green beans in dish rack to dry
green beans are washed and ready to snap

 

Wash the green beans and drain to dry. It’s not totally necessary to dry but it makes the “snapping” part easier. Fill a sink with enough water that will cover the beans. You can be pretty vigorous with the “swishing”. Repeat one time and that should clean them. Place them in a dish drainer or towel. Let dry for a couple hours if you have the time.

 

Prepare

 

Spread an old sheet on the floor. You will be tossing the ends and bad pieces onto the sheet. A smooth sheet is easy to shake out when you are done and it makes a big area that you can toss the ends onto. I’m all about easy and saving time!

 

Fill a large pot full of beans, go sit in your easy chair and start snapping. I snap off an end, toss it onto the sheet, snap the bean into one to one and a half inches long until I get to the other end. Then toss that end onto the sheet, pick up another bean and keep on going until the pot is done. It’s really that easy!

 

Preserve

quart jars showing salt sprinkled on top before adding water
Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt in each jar

 

quart jars filled with raw green beans

 

I prefer canned green beans. The first time you do this, you won’t believe how easy it is. Since the beans are already washed, you can simply fill the jars to the “shoulder” of the jar. Tap and shake the jar a little and you will be able to fit more in. Just don’t fill above the shoulder. Add one-half to one teaspoon of salt on top of the beans. Now fill the jars just a tiny bit over the level of the beans. We have well water and also filtered water. It really doesn’t make a difference which kind you use but if I had county or city water, I would use filtered water. But, that is just a preference and not essential.

 

Wipe the top of the jar with a clean cloth. Position a new lid (seal) onto the jar and then secure that in place with a “ring”.

 

Place the empty canner onto a large burner. Put the rack that is included with the canner in the bottom of the canner. DO NOT place jars directly onto the bottom of the canner. Now arrange the jars into your canner, six around the edge and one in the middle. Seven, quart jars will fit. Shift them around a little to have a little space between the jars. Now fill the void between the jars with water until you get half-way up the jar. Place the seal into the lid of the canner. Carefully line up the arrows as your canning instructions tell you and twist the lid in place.

 

Green beans need ten pounds of pressure. Follow the directions for your canner. The weight will look different for different canners. Turn the heat on high and wait. It will take up to thirty minutes before you hear the weight start to jiggle. At that point, you can turn the heat down to medium-high. This is when you call the whole process, “process”! So, process for 25 minutes for quart sized jars. At the end of that time, simply turn off the heat. You do not need to shift the canner off the burner unless you want to. I don’t. It’s heavy.

 

It will take an hour for the canner to cool down naturally. DO NOT quick release the canner. If you have smaller pressure cookers or an instant pot, you know what this means. To put it another way, wait until the lock releases on its own.

 

Once you are sure the pressure is off, the lid will unscrew easily. Remove the lid. I use a jar lifter at this point but you can use a good potholder or several layers of a kitchen towel to remove the jars. Cool them on a rack or towel. You will soon hear a “pop” as the lids seat securely down. Once they are sealed, the beans will last for years. I know that is not considered safe to eat, I’m just saying the jar will stay sealed for years.

 

Once the jars are cooled, remove the ring to use again. It is not necessary to store jars with rings on them. In fact, they could rust right onto the jar, so go ahead and remove them and let them dry thoroughly.

Quart jars filled with processed green beans

 

Recap

 

  1. Wash jars
  2. Harvest beans
  3. Wash beans
  4. Snap beans
  5. Place beans in jars
  6. Add salt to each filled jar
  7. Fill jars with water to cover beans in the jars
  8. Add seal and ring to jars
  9. Place empty canner onto the stove
  10. Place filled jars into the canner
  11. Fill the void in the canner to halfway up the jars
  12. Seal canner
  13. Place weight on top
  14. Heat until top indicates pressure is steady
  15. Process quarts for 25 minutes
  16. Cooldown naturally
  17. Unseal cooled canner
  18. Place jars on a cooling rack
  19. Remove rings when jars are cool.
  20. Store in a cool, dark place

 

It’s a lot of steps but they are all so easy. Let me know if green beans were easy to grow. Were they easy to harvest and preserve? Let me know! 

 

Let me know about your canning experience. I would love to hear how it went. Feel free to comment or ask questions below. 

 

Debbie

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.Mat 6:33 CSB

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