HOW Does Canning Work?

For the purpose of this post, I will discuss HOW the most popular and simple method of food preservation works: boiling water canning. Get this… we will be preserving green beans* with this method (gasp!) Normally, a low-acid vegetable, like green beans, needs to be processed in a pressure canner so the environment becomes inhospitable to bacteria…if not it can seriously be a dangerous situation for the green bean consumer…

…But they can be processed in a boiling water canner if they are pickled. Why? Salting vegetables before they are sealed causes moisture to be drawn out, and pickling creates an acid environment which inhibits bacteria.

When vegetables are processed in the appropriate jar, the rubber ring forms a seal, allowing no air to travel in or out of the can….this preserves it!

Let’s get started!

Prepare the Food: 

1. Pick green beans from the garden (farmer’s market, store, etc.)

2. Wash in a colander.

3. Trim ends and cut to desired length. 

Sterilize the Jars:

1. Wash jars in hot soapy water. A dishwasher that sterilizes dishes is great, but if you hand-wash (like me,) this will be fine as well. Just make sure the soap that you are using is high quality, and the water is hot.

2.Place clean jars in the boiling water canner, and fill about half way up with water. Bring to boiling, then down to a low simmer for about 3-5 minutes.

3.Make sure to wash the lids and rings as well. The rings do not need to be sterilized, but the lids do. Do not put rings in the same time as the jars.

Fill the Jars:

1.Combine all of the ingredients, except green beans, (water, vinegar, salt, sugar, garlic, dill, red pepper, etc.) in a large saucepan. Bring to boiling.

2.One at a time, remove jars from boiling water canner and pack with prepared green beans.

3.Pour hot liquid over beans leaving about ½ inch from the top.

4. Adjust hot lid and ring onto jar, and place back into the boiling water canner. 


1.Leave jars in boiling water canner for 5 minutes.

2.Remove and set on a wire rack to cool for 12 hours.

3.Test seal by pushing down on the top of the lid.

4. Write the date on lid, and store for up to a year.

…and that’s (the basic version) of how canning works.

Hope your day is filled with safe to eat green beans.

*Thanks, dad, for the permitted garden raid (green beans, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, snap peas, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, and zucchini.) Yum. 🙂


3 thoughts on “HOW Does Canning Work?

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