Green beans, or “snap beans” as we call them in the south, are coming in during these warm summer months and consumers want to know the best way to put them up–canned or frozen? Either method of preserving snap beans yields good results. It’s a matter of preference, how much time you have available for preserving and storage space, either in the pantry or the freezer.
Varieties of green beans suitable for preserving include Blue Lake, Bush Kentucky Wonder and Tenderette. Roma II varieties are good for freezing. If you grow yellow wax beans, such as Gold Rush, Rocdor and Indy Gold, these can be canned or frozen the same way as green beans. The Wax Romano 264 variety is particularly good for freezing.
It is absolutely essential that snap beans be processed in a pressure canner. A boiling water bath canner cannot adequately raise the temperature inside the jar of beans to ensure that botulism spores are killed. Even if your grandmother, great-grandmother, aunts, uncles and all the angels and saints have always water bath canned them, you must be advised that this is not the recommended method for canning snap beans. Make sure you pressure can them–this cannot be stressed enough!
To can green or wax beans: wash, remove the stem and blossom ends, remove any “strings”, and snap into 1 inch pieces or leave whole. You can put the clean beans into the jar raw and add boiling water or you can heat the beans in boiling water for 5 minutes before putting them in the jar and covering them with the liquid they were cooked in. If you pre-cook the beans and pack them into the jar hot, you will find that you can put more beans in the jar. You should still pack the beans loosely in the jar and always allow 1-inch headspace. Process pints for 20 minutes and process quarts for 25 minutes. Process at 10 pounds pressure in a weighted gauge canner and at 11 pounds pressure in a dial gauge canner. Do not use these directions for canning lima or other shelled beans because processing times and pressure amounts differ.
To freeze green beans: blanch 2 to 4 inch pieces for 3 minutes in boiling water. Remove from boiling water, drain, and chill quickly in ice water. It will take as long to cool the beans as it did to blanch them. Drain thoroughly before packaging and freezing at zero degrees Fahrenheit. To prevent beans from sticking together when frozen, drained beans can be spread on a tray in a single layer and frozen before being packaged. This allows you to remove the amount you want to use at one time and they will cook more quickly than beans that are frozen in one big mass.
If you need more information on this or other home food preservation and nutrition topics, please call the Rapides or Grant Parish Extension Offices at (318) 767-3968 or (318) 627-3675. You may also visit our website www.lsuagcenter.com.