Thursday, July 2, 2009

Garden Green Beans Enjoyable Whether They Are Canned, Dried, Pickled or Frozen

By David Burton
University Extension

Southwest Missouri gardeners will soon be enjoying green beans. In fact, some gardeners may have so many green beans that they don’t know what to do with them.
According to Tammy Roberts, a nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension, there are many different ways to preserve green beans so they can be enjoyed during the winter.
“Most people can or freeze their extra green beans. But, you could also pickle or dry your green beans for some interesting off season green bean eating,” said Roberts.
When canning green beans, Roberts says to be sure and use recipes published during or after 1989 since many canning processes changed that year.
Green beans can only be canned safely in a pressure canner. Quarts should be processed at 11 pounds of pressure for 25 minutes. For those with a weighted gauge canner, they are processed for the same amount of time at 10 pounds of pressure.
“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. Green beans should be blanched for three minutes then quick cooled in ice water before being placed in the freezer.
The suitability for drying green beans is listed as being fair to good. They must be blanched for two minutes before they are placed 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. Drying time is eight to fourteen hours.
“Another option that many people don’t often think about is pickling your green beans. The recipe is very similar to pickled cucumbers,” said Roberts.
All pickled products must be processed in a boiling water bath canner to assure safety. Because they are processed in a boiling water bath canner for only five minutes, the jars should be sterilized before they are filled.
“With all of these options you can offer your family a great variety of foods from just one type of plant in your garden,” said Roberts.
For more information on nutrition issues, go online to or contact Tammy Roberts at (417) 682-3579.

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