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A yellow Tuperware bowl full of freshly snapped green beans

Canning Green Beans: Saving Summer in a Jar

Kristy Dodson
Kristy Dodson

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Once you experience growing green beans you will look forward to the process every summer. The bean produces a bright green plant that provides handfuls of green beans quickly. Canning green beans is like saving summer in a jar; the summer sun helps produce the beans, you preserve them, and then you can enjoy a taste of summer even at Christmas.

Making Time to Garden

Do you ever admire gardens that produce food for families or ones that are simply beautiful to walk through? I have looked at (often coveted) other gardens and thought-“if only I had time”. Two years ago, I decided to make the time because honestly, time seems to be going by quickly. I started with a few tomato plants, herbs, and peas. Even though my first garden didn’t produce enough to feed us, I was hooked and I am now intentional about making time to learn something new and add to my garden every year. Now I am picking green beans, cucumbers, squash, and more so that we can enjoy the benefits of local food without breaking the budget. Tomatoes are next! Green tomatoes are covering my vines and if all keeps going well, this will be my best tomato year…fingers crossed. But for now, let’s talk about all of the green beans that are rolling in!! Once they start producing, stay close…they will continue to impress for a few weeks. Don’t go to the garden without a basket; you’ll pick more than you think.

Saving Summer In A Jar

If you find yourself lucky enough to grow a garden with beans, you will want to know about canning green beans: saving summer in a jar. Thankfully, an older couple from my church with whom I’ve developed a quick friendship has taught me the process of canning. More importantly, they’ve given me an appreciation for the life pauses that the canning process brings. It takes patience to grow the beans and more patience on the day of canning. This time is perfect for conversation, teaching, reminiscing, and sharing family treasures like recipes, photos, dishes, letters, and whatever else comes into the space. My friends have helped me see how natural it is to slow down. I love canning beans but more importantly, I love the long stretches of wait-time that lends itself to sweet friendship….just like summer.

Canning Green Beans…The Process, The Joy

china cup and metal funnel

We use these exact items every single time we can green beans together. They were used by my friend’s mother as well. I am guessing they have been around for over 100 years.

The Smell Of Dinner

The smell of the green beans cooking is reason enough for me to continue canning. It fills the kitchen (really the whole house) with the smell of dinner. Growing up we drove to Mississippi to see my grandmother. In the ’70s this seemed like a lot longer drive!!! If you know you know. However, as soon as I walked through my grandmother’s screened back door, no one uses the front door, I could smell this very smell. I knew a meal was cooking and my grandmother was as anxious for me to get there as I was. If canning today gives me just this, then I am sold. Memories are funny that way…they just show up through the simplest tasks when we aren’t even looking.

old pressure cooker

This pressure cooker has processed countless cans of green beans and if it could talk, I bet it could tell the conversations and joy of many generations. What a treasure!

Taking The Reigns (post updated July 2022)

While I am still learning from my friends, I have now started canning with more confidence on my own. My friends gave me one of their extra pressure canners and set me on my way.

A yellow Tuperware bowl full of freshly snapped green beans.
A lady snapping green beans on the porch.
Three glass Mason jars full of green beans that have been pressure canned.
July 2022 Canning beans of my own.

Life Pauses Continue

Canning by myself is different. I now fill the wait time with reading, laundry, or just daydreaming. I know I will always love the canning process. As a once-lost art, I see it slowly returning to younger generations. Maybe our life pauses are back just when we all need them most.

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