Michigan Fresh: Using, Storing, and Preserving Snap Beans (HNI27)


January 23, 2015 - Author:

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Recommended varieties 

Bush:  Kentucky Wonder bush, Blue Lake bush, Royalty Purple Pod, Spartan Arrow, Tender Crop, Royal Burgundy, Gold Crop

Pole:  Dragon’s Tongue, Blue Lake, Painted Lady


Select filled but tender, crisp pods.  Remove and discard any diseased or rusty pods.

Fresh Storage

Cool, moist storage is needed.  Store beans in the refrigerator at or below 41 degrees F.  Beans prefer 80 to 90 percent humidity. Use plastic bags or a vegetable crisper in the refrigerator to help maintain the humidity.  The beans should stay fresh for 3 to 5 days. 

Wash beans thoroughly under cool running water.  Do not use soap. Keep beans away from raw meats and meat juices to prevent cross-contamination.


  • One pound of green, purple, or yellow beans equals about
    2 cups cooked
    3 cups raw, cut beans
    ¾ pound frozen or 1 pint frozen
    1 pint canned
  • Nine pounds equal a canner load of 9 pints.
  • Fourteen pounds equal a canner load of 7 quarts.
  • One bushel is about 30 pounds.

How to Preserve


Preparation:  Select young, tender pods when the seed has just formed.  Wash in cold water, cut into uniform 2- to 4-inch lengths or cut lengthwise into strips for French-style beans.

Blanch beans in boiling water for 3 minutes.

Cool quickly, drain and package.  If a rigid container is used, leave 1/2–inch headspace.  Seal package, label and freeze.

Freeze no more than 1 quart (2 to 3 pounds) of food per cubic foot of freezer space per day.  One cubic foot will hold 30 quarts of food.


PREPARE BEANS: Select filled but tender, crisp pods. Remove and discard diseased and rusty pods. Wash beans and trim ends. Leave whole or cut or snap into 1-inch pieces.

PRESSURE CANNING: Pressure canning is the ONLY safe method of canning beans. Beans MUST be pressure canned for a specific period of time to avoid the potential of the food-borne illness botulism.

HOT pack: Cover the beans with boiling water; boil for 5 minutes. Pack the hot beans into the hot jars, leaving 1 inch headspace. If desired, add 1/2 teaspoon salt to pint jars;

1 teaspoon salt to quarts. Fill jar to 1 inch from the top with boiling water. Remove the air bubbles. Wipe the jar rims. Process the jars of beans in a pressure canner as directed below.

RAW pack: Wash jars. Pack beans tightly into jars, leaving 1 inch headspace. If desired, add 1/2 teaspoon salt to pints, 1 teaspoon to quarts. Fill jars within 1 inch of top with boiling water. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Adjust lids.


Place jar rack, 2 inches of water and filled jars with lids in canner. Fasten lid and heat canner on high heat. After exhausting a steady stream of steam for 10 minutes, add weighted gauge or close petcock to pressurize the canner. Start timing when the desired pressure is reached.

When processing is complete, remove canner from the heat. Air cool canner until it is fully depressurized. Then slowly remove the weighted gauge or open the petcock, wait 2 more minutes, and unfasten and carefully remove the canner lid.

Remove jars from the canner with a jar lifter and place them on a towel or rack. DO NOT retighten the screw bands. Air cool jars for 12 to 24 hours. Remove screw bands and check lids to make sure they sealed. Wash, dry, label and store jars in a clean, cool, dark, dry place.

If after 12 to 24 hours any lid is unsealed, the beans MUST BE REPROCESSED! Examine and replace the defective jar. Dump the beans and liquid into a pan, reheat until boiling, and fill clean hot jars with hot beans and liquid, leaving 1 inch headspace. Place NEW LIDS and screw bands on the jars, and process for the recommended times listed below.

The processing times are the same whether the hot pack or the raw pack technique is used. See the chart below.

Beans are best if consumed within a year.

Recommended process time for snap beans in a dial-gauge pressure canner at different altitudes.

Canner pressure (PSI) at altitudes of
Jar Size Process time (min.) 0-2,000 ft. 2,001-4,000 ft. 4,001-6,000 ft. 6,001-8,000 ft.
Pints 20 11 12 13 14
Quarts 25 11 12 13 14

Recommended process time for snap beans in a weighted-gauge pressure canner at different altitudes.

Canner pressure (PSI) at altitudes of
Jar Size Process time (min.) 0-1,000 ft. Above 1,000 ft.
Pints 20 10 15
Quarts 20 10 15


Andress, Elizabeth and Judy A. Harrison. So Easy to Preserve. Bulletin 989, 6th Edition. Cooperative Extension University of Georgia, 2014.

Preserving Green Beans, 2010, bulletin MF-1179, Kansas State University Research and Extension.

Yellow and Green Beans, 1990, bulletin E-1883, Michigan State University.

Harvesting and Storing Fresh Garden Vegetables, 2003, bulletin 617, University of Idaho College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

More information

Prepared by: Christine Venema, MSU Extension educator


Tags: michigan fresh, vegetables


Christine Venema

Christine Venema

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