Canning Beans - Raw Pack Method

We used to use the Hot Pack Canning method for our beans. This is the process of boiling the beans for five minutes, and then pressure canning them. However, we found that often when we went to eat the beans, they were somewhat soft or mushy.

So we have started using the Raw Pack Canning Method, whereby you use raw beans. First of all, if you don’t know how to can, or have never used a pressure canner, I highly suggest that you get a good book on canning. We have found the “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving” very handy for this purpose and it is the book we use.

Prepare the raw beans by washing them and draining. Trim the ends. Although some people like to cut or break the beans into 2 inch lengths, we cut them so they are long and are just shorter than the inside of the pint size canning jars we use. This way we have long beans when done as opposed to a bunch of short pieces.

Raw beans washed and drained.

Beans have been cut to size for the jar being used.

You should wash the jars, lids, and screw bans that you will be using in hot, soapy water, and rinse them well. 

Next you should prepare the weighted-gauge pressure canner, jars, and lids. We place a rack in the bottom of the canner, and for our canner we add about an inch and a half of water in the bottom. All pressure cookers vary, so you need to check the directions for your particular canner for the proper amount of water to add. We use an All American 15.5 Quart Heavy Cast Aluminum Pressure Canner/Cooker.

We then place eight pint jars on the rack in the bottom of the pressure cooker. Then we bring the water to a simmer and leave the jars in the water until we are ready to fill them (being we will be pouring simmering hot water in the jars, you want them hot, not cold).

Pre-heating jars in one and a half inches of water in the pressure cooker.

Next, set the screw bands aside, and place the lids in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a simmer over medium heat (do not boil). Keep the lids hot until you’re ready to use them.

At this point we add ½ teaspoon of Canning/Pickling salt to each jar. We then pack the raw beans into a jar so that they are a generous one inch from the top of the jar. Pack the beans as tight as you can.

Adding Canning/Pickling salt to jars.

You will then add the simmering water to the jar, using a ladle, leaving a one inch headspace in the jar. Remove any air bubbles by shaking or tapping, and adjust headspace if necessary, by adding more hot water. Wipe the rim, take one of the lids in the saucepan and center it on the jar. Then screw on the screw bands on top of the jar. Screw the band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight and place the jar back into the pressure cooker. You should continue the above directions until each jar is filled and placed in the pressure cooker.

Beans have been added to the jar and the hot water is poured in keeping a one inch head space.

After lids and screw bands have been affixed to the jar they are set into the pressure cooker.

Once all the jars are full and in the pressure cooker, adjust the water level if necessary, so you have the one and a half inch level. Lock the lid in place and bring the water to a boil over medium heat. You will know the water is boiling when the steam starts coming out of the valve. Vent the steam for 10 minutes, then close the vent. Continue heating until you achieve the required pressure for your altitude (this is where the book on canning comes in handy). We maintain the pressure to process the beans according to the indicated recipe for the specific vegetable and jar size. For Cold Pack beans in one pint jars, the time is 20 minutes.

This shows the pressure gauge at just a bit over ten pounds.

When the time is complete, turn of the heat and let the pressure return to zero naturally. Then wait about another 2 minutes and open the vent. Remove canner lid and wait at least ten minutes. You can then remove jars, cool, and store.

The first eight jars complete and ready for storage.

As you can see, canning is not difficult but you should follow the directions of a good guide to ensure you produce a safe finished product. As always with a pressure canner, be careful and stay safe.

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Copyright © 2019 by John D. McCann