Grandma wanted to teach my sister and I how to can beans. We had watched this done before, but had never really helped with it, so we were excited to learn the process! Sadly, I forgot my camera at home and only had my mom's little camera to capture the process.
After picking the beans, you need to wash them to get any dirt off of them. Then, you have to break them. This means that you rip all of the ends (top and bottom) off and throw them into a trash bowl. If the beans are long, you snap them into pieces that are about 1.5 to 2 inches long. Smaller beans usually don't have to be snapped, but their ends still need to be picked off.
When you get done breaking all the beans, it's time to put them into quart-size glass jars, like a mason jar. Beforehand, make sure to wash the jars out. Fill the jars with beans, you may have to press the beans down or shake the jar to get them to settle.
While you are filling up the bean jars, you need to have a big pot of water heating on the stove. This will be the liquid that you put in the jar. Also, you'll need a pressure cooker so that you can seal the jars. Water needs to be heating up in the pressure cooker, too.
After the jars are full of beans, run a towel along the rim of each jar. You'll be putting 1 tsp of salt into each jar, and one tiny grain of salt can cause the seal of the lid to mess up. You have to make sure not to get any salt on the rim! (We were told this alot!)
So, go ahead and put 1 tsp of salt in each jar. Next, fill each one up with hot water until the jar is completely full. Again, dry off the rim so that the seal works right! Also check for any cracks or chips along the rim, because these can damage the seal, too. Put the flat part of the lid on th jar, then screw on the ring. Make sure that they are fastened tightly!
Put each jar with a lid on it in the pressure cooker. My grandma's holds 7 jars, but we only had 6 jars of beans. So, she filled a jar with water, put the lid on it, and placed it in the canner, too. This keeps the jars from rattling around while they cook. Make sure to follow your pressure cooker's directions when getting ready to can!
Here comes the more difficult part.
Once you get the canner/pressure cooker lid on tightly, you have to loosen the steamer valve so that steam can escape. Once you see the steam coming out, let it cook for 10 minutes. After this amount of time, close the steamer valve and let the pressure rise to 10psi. If it goes above 10, adjust the steamer valve until it goes back down, then close it again.
There, that's the trickiest part!
After the pressure gauge reaches 10, remove the pressure cooker/canner from the heat. You should hear 1 "pop" for each can in the canner. When you count all the pops, that means they are sealed and ready to go! Sometimes it does take a little while for the pops, and after at least 20 minutes or so, they should all be ready.
Let the jars cool completely before storing in a pantry or cabinet.
Canned beans, if sealed properly, can last up to 5 years! Fresh beans that are frozen only last about 12 months.