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3 Easy Steps for Deliciously Preserved Green Beans from the Garden
by Dana Derita

Do you love fresh, green beans? Me too! But even green beans at the supermarket are not really that fresh. My canned green beans taste fresher! Here are 3 easy steps on how you too can have a great harvest this summer and how to keep them through next winter.

Grow and Pick

Choose a variety that is right for your location and backyard. Pole beans are a favorite because they are easy to pick, take up less space and frankly, I like their taste better.

Make sure you start beans after the last chance of frost. I usually wait 4 weeks since there can always be a sneaky cold front drop down from the north and it is a heck of lot easier to wait than to run around covering small, delicate plants!

Add compost or soil improvement to each small hole. Water generously all summer but not to the point of soaking. Use all-purpose fertilizer when they begin climbing and spreading.

Sort and Cook

Separate beans by size and maturity to ensure even cooking and preserving. Avoid any beans with decay or bruises. Wash thoroughly. Peel, de-string, cut or slice as desired (optional if you like "kitchen-cut" or "French-style" green beans) or leave whole. Place in pot and cover with boiling water; precook 5 minutes. Remove and drain. Pack immediately.

"Hot-Pack" and Preserve

Pack loosely into hot, clean quart jars to allow for proper water and heat circulation. Also pack carefully to allow beans to retain their shape if whole or sliced length-wise. Add 1 teaspoon table salt to each quart jar (1/2 teaspoon table salt to each pint jar). Pour in boiling water and fill to within of top. Run a wooden or plastic spatula around the inside of jar to release any air bubbles that may be trapped. Seal following the directions of the jar or lid manufacturer's instructions.

Reprinted with permission.

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Rachel Paxton
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