Pressure canning is my absolute favorite food preservation method. It’s really easy, and an almost foolproof way to make food shelf stable for years. Living off grid, freezer space is at a premium and while freezing green beans is a great way to preserve them, a single power outage will completely wipe out your stores.
For some reason pressure canning raises eye brows and causes fear in novice canners. Everyone I talk to seems terrified that the thing is going to blow up. At the same time, the instant pot has snuck into just about every suburban kitchen and is all the rage for cooking quick weeknight meals. News flash: it’s a pressure cooker. See, not scary at all.
For pressure canning, you’ll need something a bit more industrial than an instant pot. I use a 30 quart All American Pressure Canner because it’s simple to use, has no disposable parts and has a high capacity. In hindsight, I wish I’d splurged and bought the 41.5 quart model because we do a lot of canning and that added capacity would save a so much time.
Start by preparing your green beans. Wash them, remove the tips and cut into bite sized pieces. Pack into jars, leaving at least 1 inch of headspace. There’s no need to pre-cook the beans, as they’ll be more than cooked in the pressure canner. Skip sterilizing the jars too. Jar sterilization isn’t required for pressure canning, just wash them to make sure they’re clean and you’re golden.
Add in 1/2 tsp sea salt for pint jars, or 1 tsp for quarts. Feel free to use less, but I wouldn’t recommend using less than half that amount. While salt is not necessary for preservation, it is necessary for flavor, and without the salt they taste like almost nothing.
Cover the beans with boiling water, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Put on lids and rings, tightening the rings to finger tight. Be sure to use new canning lids each time, but canning rings can be reused. Since new canning lids are needed each time you can, we buy ours by the case and save a lot of money each year. They don’t go bad, so it makes sense to plan ahead.
Add 2-3 inches of water boiling water to the bottom of your pressure canner and add in the canning rack to the bottom (never can directly on the bottom of the canner with a rack). Place your jars in the canner, and make sure to use a dividing rack if you’re canner is a double decker model like the high capacity 30 quart and 41.5 quart models. Seal the canner by tightening down the nuts, and allow the canner to steam off for 10 minutes. This is an important step, because it ensures that the canner is completely full of steam before the weighted valve is added.
Add the pressure weight to the canner, and process at 10 pounds pressure (adjusting for altitude) for 20 minutes for pints and 25 minutes for quarts. Allow the pressure canner to cool and come back to zero pounds of pressure before removing the weight and allowing the last nub of pressure to escape. Loosen the nuts and open the top of the canner, and take out your freshly canned goods. Allow a few hours for the jars to cool, and make sure they’ve all popped and are sealed.
Remove the bands for storage once the jars are cool. Leaving the bands on can cause them to rust shut, which will leave you frustrated and hungry for food that you cant open. The jars are vacuum sealed, so the bands aren’t necessary at this point to hold the lids in place.
JUST GETTING STARTED CANNING?
If you’re just getting started canning, but plan on making canning and preserving food part of your lifestyle long term, try investing in an online canning course. Pioneering today has a canning with confidencecourse that takes you through the ins and outs of canning from basic canning safety all the way through to pressure canning meat at home. The course covers:
- Canning Safety – Safe techniques to for home canning
- Water Bath Canning – Jams, jellies, pickles, tomatoes, and other high acid fruits and vegetables including low sugar, no pectin variations.
- Pressure Canning – How to safely operate a pressure canner at home to can almost any type of food for long term preservation
- Troubleshooting and Storage – Figuring out why a recipe just didn’t work, and maximizing storage of your home canned goods.