Extension Explores: Preserving Green Beans

Fresh Green Beans

As the summer warms up it is time to can those delicious garden vegetables including green beans. When it comes to green beans you must use a pressure canner.

This canner is used to process food under pressure and is recommended for canning all foods in the low-acid group, including green beans. This group also includes all vegetables (except tomatoes), protein foods (meat, poultry, and fish), mushrooms, soups, and mixed vegetable recipes containing tomatoes. It is very important to process these foods in a pressure canner because of the risk of botulism, a potentially deadly food poisoning.  The pressure canner can get the temperature higher than just boiling and therefore kill potentially harmful clostridium botulinum spores. 

A pressure canner is a heavy kettle with a lid that locks to prevent the escape of steam and build pressure. It has a safety valve to vent air. The pressure canner must have a rack to separate and keep jars off the bottom of the canner. Follow the manufacturer’s guide for using the canner and a tested recipe for the time and pressure for item preparation.  

There are two types of pressure canners. One has a dial pressure gauge, and the other has a weighted gauge to control pressure. Use caution and carefully read the manufacturer’s directions that accompany the canner being used. The types and brands of canners differ somewhat in details of handling. If you have a dial type gauge, check with your local Extension Office to have it tested yearly for accuracy. Use the manufacturer’s recommendation for care of the canner. If a part of the canner needs replacing, check the manufacturer’s guide to find the best place to purchase. 

Other Recipes:


Frequently Asked Questions:

Because green beans are a low-acid food, they must be processed in a pressure canner in order to protect against clostridium botulinum. There are no recommendations to process green beans in a water bath canner.

Salt is optional in canned green beans. It is purely for flavor and not for preserving purposes.

Most vegetables, including green beans, maintain better quality
during freezer storage if they are blanched (heated enough to destroy enzymes) before
freezing. Green beans should be blanched in boiling water for 3 minutes.

Microwave blanching is not recommended. Research has shown that heating may
be uneven and some enzymes may not be inactivated. Off flavors and loss of texture
and color may result. Microwave blanching has not been shown to save time or energy.

Technically, if all procedures were followed exactly and all equipment was working correctly, it would be safe to eat straight from the jar. However, as an extra layer of precaution, it is strongly recommended to boil any low acid home canned food for 10 minutes before consuming.

For more information or questions about food preservation, please contact the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent at your local county Extension office. Click here for a list of the Tennessee Extension Offices.

Trade and brand names are used only for information.  The University of Tennessee Extension and Tennessee State University Extension do not guarantee nor warrant published standards on any product mentioned; neither does the use of a trade or brand name imply approval of any product to the exclusion of others which may also be suitable.