BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. —Many gardeners end up with so many green beans they don’t know what to do with them.
“There are many ways that you can preserve green beans so you are eating your garden’s bounty all winter long,” says Tammy Roberts, University of Missouri nutrition and health education specialist. “With all of these options, you can offer your family a great variety of foods from just one type of plant in your garden.”
If you’re canning your green beans, don’t use recipes that were published before 1989, Roberts said. That’s when the USDA issued new guidelines for safe canning.
Green beans can only be canned safely in a pressure canner, she said. If your canner has a dial gauge, process quarts at 11 pounds of pressure for 25 minutes. If your canner has a weighted gauge, process at 10 pounds for 25 minutes.
If you live more than 1,000 feet above sea level and have a weighted gauge canner, use 15 pounds of pressure for 25 minutes.
“An important thing to remember when freezing your green beans is that they must be blanched before you freeze them,” said Roberts.
Blanching stops the enzyme process that makes the beans continue to mature even after they are picked. Blanch green beans for three minutes, then immediately cool them in ice water before putting them in the freezer.
“The suitability for drying green beans is listed as being fair to good,” Roberts said. Blanch for two minutes before placing in the dehydrator.
“For better texture, some people freeze the green beans for 30 to 40 minutes after blanching and before placing them in the food dehydrator,” she added. Drying time is eight to 14 hours.
“Another option that many people don’t often think about is pickling your green beans,” Roberts said. “The recipe is very similar to quick pickled cucumbers.
All pickled products must be processed in a boiling water bath canner to assure safety. For detailed information on how to prepare and process dilled green beans, see the MU Extension guide sheet “Pack a Pickled Product” (GH1459), available for free download at www.extension.missouri.edu/GH1459.
Many other publications on canning, freezing, drying and pickling food are available at www.extension.missouri.edu. Enter “food preservation” in the search box.
The 2009 edition of the USDA’s Complete Guide to Home Canning” is available online at nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html.