Green beans are a favorite treat from a summer garden, and knowing how to properly harvest your beans can ensure that your bean bushes or vines produce a continual crop throughout the growing season. If you simply pull and tug on the plants, you can cause damage that will prevent the plants from continuing to produce. With proper production, you may find that you have more green beans than you know what to do with, but there are several storage options for keeping green beans fresh.
Harvesting Green Beans
Look for ripe green beans by gently lifting up leaves and pushing back vines. Sometimes ripe green beans are not in open sight.
Pick the beans in the middle of the day, when the pods and the stems are completely dry. The pods should appear long and firm.
Hold the bean vine and stem secure with one hand, and pick the bean with the other hand. Continue this process until you have picked all ripe beans on the vine.
Storing Fresh Green Beans
Remove any excess dirt from the green beans with a paper towel, but do not wash the green beans.
Place the beans in a plastic bag in the bottom of the refrigerator. The crisper drawer in your refrigerator is the ideal spot for green beans.
Store the beans for up to three days in the refrigerator, and wash them before using. If you realize you will not be using the beans within three days, store them by freezing them or canning them.
Storing Frozen Green Beans
Wash green beans in cool water and cut off ends.
Cut the green beans into your desired length.
Boil water in a pot and submerge the green beans in the boiling water for three minutes.
Remove from the boiling water and submerge the beans into a bowl of ice water for three minutes, and then drain the excess water off them.
Put the beans in a plastic freezer bag that you have written the date on. Squeeze any excess air from the bag, seal, and store in the freezer for up to 10 months.
Canning Green Beans
Wash green beans in cool water, remove stems and cut into desired length.
Fill your pressure cooker with 4 inches of water, and start warming it up over a low flame.
Fill your quart size sterilized jar with the green beans, leaving one inch of free space at the top of the jar. Add 1/2 tsp of salt if desired. A one quart jar will work for canning 1/2 pound of green beans. If you have fewer beans, you can adjust your jar size accordingly.
Fill the jar with just enough boiling water to cover the green beans. Twist on the lids snugly.
Place the jars of green beans in the pressure cooker, and seal the cooker following directions for your specific make and model. Cook the beans under 11 pounds of pressure for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the jars after 25 minutes and let them cool before storing them in the pantry.
About this Author
A freelance writer for over 12 years, Traci Vandermark has written extensively on health and fitness topics. She is a student of health, fitness and nutrition at the International Institute Of Holistic Healing, certified by the American Association of Nutritional Consultants. Her articles have appeared in Catskill Country Magazine, The Lookout Magazine, Capper's, Birds and Blooms and Country Discoveries, to name a few.