Learning to can your own green beans at home is a simple process. It just needs to be taken one step at a time. I have listed the entire canning process step by step. Once you open your first jar of home canned green beans, you will never want to taste another bean from a store. Home canned green beans taste so much better.
Green beans must be canned in a pressure canner. It is not safe to try canning green beans in a hot water bath. They may not be safe to eat. Only foods high in acid are safe for canning using the hot water bath method. You can use a pressure canner with a weighted gauge or a dial gauge.
Prepare the Beans- Choose fresh, young beans for canning. You will need to string the beans if you aren't using a stringless bean variety. Snap over a small portion of one end of the bean, then pull the end and string downward until the string pulls off. Turn the bean over and repeat on the other end. If you are canning a stringless variety, just snap off each end of the beans. As you are snapping or stringing the beans, remove any sections that show rust or bug bites. Break the beans in half or into pieces about 2" long.
Wash the beans thoroughly in hot water. Drain and rinse the beans with cold water. Let drain again.
Prepare the Jars- You can use pint or quart jars for canning green beans. Wash the jars in hot, soapy water and rinse well. Since you are using a pressure canner, you don't have to sterilize the jars. Be sure to check the jar rims for any chips or flaws. Only use jars with smooth rims. Keep the jars in hot water until ready to use. You can put hot water in your pressure canner and let it simmer with the jars in it.
Choosing Bands and Lids- Choose screw bands that aren't dented or rusted. Use only new lids for canning. Don't try to reuse an old lid. Simmer the lids in hot water until you are ready to place them on the jars. Be sure not to boil the lids as it can ruin the rubber gasket around the outside of the lid.
Filling the Jars- Pack each jar loosely with beans leaving 1" headspace. Add 1 teaspoon canning salt to quarts or 1/2 teaspoon canning salt to pints, if desired. It isn't necessary but does help flavor the beans. Fill the jars with boiling water to cover the beans, again leaving 1" headspace. It's easiest to pour the boiling water into the jars if you have a canning funnel. If not, set the jar in hot water before you try pouring in the boiling water. Never try to hold the jar in your hand.
Remove any Bubbles- Air can become trapped between the beans. Run a knife down the inside of the jars. This will force bubbles to come to the top.
Prepare to Put Lids and Bands in Place- Wipe the rim of each jar with a clean cloth to remove any foreign matter from the rims. Anything between the rims and lids may cause the lids not to seal. One at a time, place a hot lid on each jar and immediately screw a band in place. Tighten firmly, but do not over tighten.
Pressure Canning the Beans- Make sure your canner has 3 or 4 inches of hot water in it. It's best to follow the instruction manual for your canner if you have one. Set each jar into the pressure canner. Make sure the jars aren't touching the sides. If your canner has a rack, be sure to use it. If it doesn't have a rack, place several thicknesses of cotton towels in the bottom of the canner before adding the jars. You never want to allow the jars to touch the bottom of the canner or they will break while cooking.
Dial Gauge Process Time- Process pints for 20 minutes and quarts for 25 minutes at 11 pounds of pressure if using a dial gauge canner.
Weighted Gauge Process Time- Process pints for 20 minutes and quarts for 25 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure if using a weighted gauge canner.
Remove and Cool Jars- Allow the pressure of the canner to drop completely before opening the lid! Otherwise you could get seriously scalded. Carefully remove each jar and place on a rack or thick towel to cool. Do not twist or tighten the bands. Allow the jars to cool completely before testing the seals. Once jars are cool, press down on the center of each lid. If the center of the lid is already down, it has sealed. If it is up and you are able to push it down, the seal failed. You can re-process failed jars by using a new lid and putting it through the canning process again. It's easiest to refrigerate any jars that didn't seal and use them within a few days time.
Once the jars have cooled and the seals have proved good, you can remove the rings and use them again. A little shortening or oil wiped around the inside of the bands will help keep them from rusting during storage.