Friday, July 15, 2011

Why I'm Not Canning Green Beans This Year

We've harvested over 15 pounds of green beans from our garden so far. Assuming the garden survives the next week (the highs are projected to be in the 100s for the next seven days), we'll continue to get beans for several weeks.

Normally, I'd be canning all those green beans. Not this year. Here's why:
  1. The beans don't develop all at once. We pick beans every other day and end up with enough beans to fill about two or three quart jars. While pressure canning green beans isn't hard, processing 2-3 qts every two days for weeks on end is kind of a drag.
  2. My family really doesn't care for canned green beans. There are few things more depressing than to proudly serve my home-grown and home-canned green beans only to have everyone avoid eating them. Well, Baby Dear loves them, but everyone else only eats them out of a sense of duty.  
  3. My family will eat frozen green beans - and they couldn't be easier to prepare. They stay a vibrant green and are definitely not mushy. They also maintain more of their nutrition since they are significantly less processed.

How to prepare green beans for freezing:

Getting ready to blanch the beans
  1. Wash the beans and remove the stem ends. I remove both ends of the bean, but you can leave the little curly end on, if you prefer.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  3. Blanch the beans in boiling water for three minutes. Drain, then chill the beans in ice water for another three minutes. Drain. While it may be tempting, don't skip this step. You must blanch the beans to deactivate the enzymes in the beans. You'll end up with a much nicer end product with the blanching/chilling process.
  4. Package and freeze.

Vacuum sealed and ready for the freezer 

As a person who has made preparedness her hobby, I get in this mindset that all my food storage has to be shelf stable. I still love to can and I believe that the majority of my food storage should indeed be shelf stable. Sometimes you just gotta do what you like and do what works for your family. We're going to eat these green beans with pleasure and be a bit more self-reliant in the process.

Are we the lone canned green bean haters out there? How do you balance shelf-stable vs. perishable foods in your food storage? 


  1. My family hates frozen green beans, and I haven't worked up the courage to try out my pressure canner yet (besides the fact I didn't plant enough beans this year). But my family LOVES dilly beans, so that's how all my green beans end up.

  2. Don't be scared of the pressure canner. If you like canned beans, give it a go because it truly isn't hard. Thanks for reminding me about dilly beans. I should make some of those, too.

  3. Nice batch of green beans, 15 lbs. is an impressive haul.

  4. I grew up eating home-canned green beans, and I love them! I don't own a pressure canner yet, but when I do, I hope to can a lot of beans (and ditto for canned corn & carrots). On the other hand, I can't stand canned peas (home-canned or store bought) so I always freeze peas. I'm looking forward to experimenting with freezing other types of vegies.

  5. Just a tip for freezing anything. If you freeze them spread out on a cookie sheet first then pack and seal into bags it won't be one big lump when you go to thaw it .

  6. Your family is not alone in not caring for canned green beans. I canned a canner load many years ago, and they were definitely an "anti-hit". Nowdays, I make pickled beans or dilled beans instead.

  7. I also grew up on home-canned beans and love them but my kids got used to fresh green beans and don't like to eat the canned ones. For years, I froze all my beans but they are definitely softer than the fresh and they seemed to get freezer burn before we could use them up.

    Last year, I decided to can them and I still have a ton left over. Not sure what to do with them this year. I will be making some dilly beans as well but I'll be the only one that eats them, lol.

    Also, if you refrigerate the just picked beans, they should be fine in the fridge for at least a week, if not longer, thus being able to can more at once.

  8. Uh oh. When I got a batch of green beans this year, I snapped them, washed them, dried them, and threw them directly into freezer bags and the freezer. Is blanching necessary?

  9. Bitsy - Yes, blanching is really best. There are enzymes that naturally occur in fruits and vegetables that need to be "turned off" by blanching before you freeze. Your beans will be safe to eat, but won't be as good as if you had blanched them.

  10. if you dont have enough beans to do a whole canner full, do a beans/yellow squash/potato medley. it tastes great. just process using info for the veggie with the longest time