Don’t let your bumper crop of green beans go to waste. Here’s how to can, freeze, or dehydrate green beans so you can eat your bounty all year long.
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Growing a garden is a real source of joy, but when the harvest starts rolling in, you have to do something with it all. Luckily, it’s relatively quick and easy to can, freeze, or dehydrate green beans. With a big harvest, I like to divide up the harvest and do all three!
How to Can Green Beans
Green beans are a low-acid food and must be pressure canned. Do you have a pressure canner? I really like having one because it is such a versatile appliance. It can be a pressure canner, a pressure cooker, or a water bath canner.
Find detailed canning instructions in my favorite guide book: Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.
- Sanitize canning jars and lids.
- Wash and trim beans.
- Chop green beans into 2-inch-long pieces.
- Boil filtered water.
- Tightly pack jars with green beans, leaving 1-inch of headspace.
- Fill with boiling water up to the 1-inch line.
- Screw on lid.
- Process in the canner for 20 minutes (pint jars) or 25 minutes (quart jars).
- Turn off the heat and let the pressure gauge return to zero before opening the lid.
- Wait 10 minutes before removing jars.
- Cool them completely on the countertop, then check for good seals before storing.
Green beans are the easiest veggie with which to give canning a try!
See the book mentioned above to read up on all of the nuances of canning. Here are some other canning ideas for green beans:
- Dilly green beans by Attainable Sustainable
- Lacto fermented dilly beans by Grow Forage Cook Ferment
- Lacto-fermented green beans by Learning and Yearning
- Pickled dilly beans by Common Sense Homesteading
- Spicy lemon pickled beans by Timber Creek Farm
How to Freeze Green Beans
For this project, you’ll need a large steamer pot to blanche the green beans before freezing. Blanching improves the longevity and taste of green beans. Here is the steamer set that I have: 4-Piece 12-Quart Pasta Steamer Set
- Wash and trim beans
- Boil 1 inch of water in the canner
- Add beans to the steamer basket. I process mine in 1/2-pound increments because I freeze them in portions of this size.
- Steam for 2 minutes with lid on.
- Quickly transfer beans to a bowl of ice water for 2 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the beans to a cutting board lined with a clean pastry towel (these towels are relatively lint free). Roll the beans up in the towel to absorb the excess water.
- (optional) Many folks like to put the beans on a cookie sheet and pop them in the freezer for 30 minutes so that the beans dry individually and do not stick together. Then you can store all of your freezer beans together in one bag and just pour out the quantity that you want to use at a given time. I like this because it saves space. If you don’t have room to fit a cookie sheet in your freezer, store the beans in batches in double-bagged ziplock freezer bags. I use a metal straw to suck out the excess air.
How to Dehydrate Green Beans
To dehydrate green beans, you’ll need a dehydrator. You can dehydrate in your oven at the lowest setting, but products dried this way usually come out more brittle and the taste is affected. Dehydrating occurs at 125 degrees Fahrenheit, so check to see if your oven can remain at that low temperature over a long period of time. Here is the dehydrator I have: 9-Tray Excalibur
Dehydrating is my favorite way to preserve produce, especially when the freezer is full!
- Wash and trim beans
- Chop into 1-inch pieces
- You may pretreat by blanching (see above in the freezing instructions) but it is optional. I think this step is less important with dehydrating.
- Transfer beans to the trays in a single layer.
- Dehydrate at 125 degrees F until crispy. It takes about 9 hours in my dehydrator. The duration will vary depending on whether you pre-blanched the beans, the type of dehydrator you have, as well as the humidity level of your interior climate. Check every hour starting around 9 hours.
What to do with dehydrated green beans? Vacuum seal them for longer dry storage. Add them to chilis, soups, and stews—meals in which the moisture will rehydrate them.
Whether you preserve your green beans by canning, freezing, or dehydrating, you’ll be glad you saved your harvest to eat all year long.
Need more homestead kitchen ideas?
- Drying and Using Frozen Sour Cherries
- Recipe: Turnip Hash Browns
- Zucchini Pasta with Roasted Garlic and Tomatoes
Are you looking for strategies for your permaculture garden? You’ll find loads of information in my book, The Suburban Micro-Farm.
What’s your favorite way to preserve green beans?