|Freshly picked green beans|
So, with garden beans and farmers market beans in tow, I spent a good part of a day preserving them in a variety of ways. Remember, variety is the spice of life. Here is what I did with them.
First I spent some quality time snapping most of them into 1-inch lengths while watching an episode of an old TV series Christy during which time my husband asked how much crap a person could watch at one time. In case you can't tell, he's not really into the whole mushy-gushy love story thing.
|Green beans after trimming ends and snapping|
I froze less this year because we didn't quite use all I froze last year and we wanted to try pressure canning some for even quicker use this time around. I ended up freezing 6 bags (3 cups each) as opposed to 11 bags last year. I will still freeze more as the green beans keep coming in. I have picked green beans four times at this point (getting roughly 2-3 pounds each time), and there are still more out there. For a step-by-step guide to freezing green beans check out my post from last year.
|Green beans, blanched, cooled, and ready for the freezer|
I then used about 3 pounds to make 6 pints of Dilly Beans with Garlic and Chiles. These are delicious as a snack, tossed with potatoes, served with heavier items in winter like roasted meats and stews, or even eaten as a side dish (we often open pickled beets and dilly beans when we are too pressed for time to do a proper side dish). If you are someone who enjoys a drink every now and then, they would make a great addition to a Bloody Mary. For the recipe for Dilly Beans with Garlic and Chiles see last year's post.
|Dilly beans- this picture is from last year|
|Raw packing green beans into hot jars|
|Green beans ready for the pressure canner|
One jar didn't seal so we were able to give them a try a few days after canning them. They were so much better than store-bought canned beans. They were cooked yet still retained a distinct green bean taste and were not at all mushy. We will definitely be adding these to our yearly repertoire and maybe replacing more of our frozen stock with this. I pressure canned about 8 pounds of green beans giving me 8 pints.
|Green beans just out of the pressure canner|
Green Beans in the Pressure Canner
According to National Center for Home Food Preservation, one pound of beans makes about one pint canned, so you can choose how much you preserve. In my opinion, it makes sense to can as much as will fit in your pressure canner if you are going to take the time to run it. If you are unfamiliar with pressure canning, make sure to follow the steps on your canner carefully to ensure a safe canning experience.
Green beans, about one pound (before trimming) for every pint, ends removed and snapped into 1 inch lengths
Kosher salt or canning salt (do not use table salt)
Sterilize your jars, lids, and rings. Follow the steps for using your pressure canner and Pressure Canning 101 for pressure canning procedures.
Bring a large stockpot of boiling water to a boil. Place about 3 quarts of water in your pressure canner (or the amount indicated by the manufacturer) and heat it up as you pack your hot jars. Place raw green beans in hot, sterilized jars, filling them tightly (if using hot pack method, pack loosely), leaving 1 inch headspace. Place 1/2 tsp salt in each pint jar. Fill each jar with boiling water, leaving 1 inch headspace. Using a bubble remover or plastic chopstick, remove air bubbles from each jar. Readjust headspace, and top each jar with a lid and ring. Place jars in pressure canner and follow manufacturer's directions and Pressure Canning 101 to continue processing. Process pint jars at 11 pounds of pressure for dial-gauge canners (for people at or below 2,000 feet) for 20 minutes. If processing quarts, process at 11 pounds of pressure for 25 minutes. Make sure to adjust pounds of pressure according to altitude. Once processing time is complete, follow pressure canner directions to reduce pressure safely and completely before removing the lid and jars.