Pressure Canning, Take 1 – Green Beans

Nothing exploded! Before I try any of these new farm things, I research them to death. I don’t want to get into the middle of something and realize I’ve missed an important piece of information. Usually, by the time I take the leap, I’m pretty confident nothing serious will go wrong.

Pressure canning is a different thing, altogether. The more I researched the worse it got. If so many people are talking about exploding pressure canners, there must be something to it. Right? For this project I researched even more than usual. People who have been pressure canning for years have said over and over, if you follow the canner directions, you shouldn’t have any trouble. OK, well, I can follow directions, so time to take this on!

A few days ago, Charlie and I realized the green bean vines were loaded. So, today after animal chores, I picked 5 pounds of beans – and that was just the green beans growing outside the fence. There are even more inside the garden and I’ll get around to those.

Green bean vines  Fresh Picked

After picking the green beans, I then had to trim and cut them into 2 inch pieces. I got comfy on the couch and got to work. This part takes over an hour, and I’m thinking if I mess something up, this is a whole lot of work for nothing. Guess I better not mess up.

Ready to trim      Leftovers

Once the green beans were all trimmed, I had to boil the jars and lids. Since it takes forever for the darn pot to boil, I took a little break and shared the green bean bits with the animals. As usual, Spike was all over it. The chickens were willing to give them a try, but weren’t real fans.Snack time

Back to work! The jars, lids and green beans all get boiled. Then it’s time to put them all together. So far, so good. Up to this point, it’s just like regular canning. Every time I have to stop and wait for something to boil, I’m re-reading the pressure canner instructions. They seem pretty easy, but maybe I’m missing something really important.

Jar prep   Boiling Beans  LoadedI add the liquid, seal up the jars, and pop them into the canner. Based on the numbers in the canning book, I thought I would be canning 6 pints, but I ended up with 12. That made me feel even better. That’s a lot of green beans, done all at once.

The canner has a lid that slides into place, then there are 6 screws that tighten down to keep the lid on. The directions said to bring the pressure up to 10 pounds, so that’s what I did. Easy peasy. You put the little jiggly weight thingy on, and the pressure does what it’s supposed to do.  Every little noise I heard, I was expecting the whole thing to blow up. It never happened.

Ready for takeoff  Pressure on

Once the time was up, I let the canner pressure decrease by itself, just like the directions say. Taking the lid off was probably the scariest part. We had a family friend when I was a kid, and he opened an overheated car radiator. It blew up all over his face and burned him badly. I had images of this in my head as I unscrewed and turned the lid. Yeah, nothing. It opened. No problem.

I’m putting pressure canning into the “Way easier than I thought it would be” category. The entire process – from picking the beans to taking the jars out of the canner – took about 5 hours. Totally easy, and totally worth it. Now that I’ve conquered the pressure canner, I can’t wait to see what else I can can.