Let's Preserve: Snap Beans

Learn the proper techniques for canning and freezing snap beans.
Let's Preserve: Snap Beans - Articles


Recommended Varieties

Green: Blue Lake types, Bush Kentucky Wonder 125, Tenderette (round podded), and Roma II (for freezing). Wax/yellow: Gold Rush, Rocdor, Indy Gold, Wax Romano 264 (freezing only).


An average of 14 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 9 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A bushel weighs 30 pounds and yields 12 to 20 quarts. An average of ¾ pound makes 1 pint of frozen beans.


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


  1. Wash beans, snip off and discard ends, and remove strings, if appropriate.
  2. Leave whole or cut or snap into 1-inch pieces.
  3. Wash and drain prepared pieces.

Freezing Procedure

  1. Don't freeze more than 2 pounds of food per cubic foot of freezer capacity per day.
  2. Blanch 6 cups of raw prepared beans at a time.
  3. Place each batch in 1 gallon of boiling water. Blanch small pieces for 2 minutes and large pieces for 3 minutes after the water returns to a boil.
  4. Cool quickly in several changes of cold water and drain in a colander.
  5. Fill pint or quart zip-type plastic freezer bags or plastic freezer containers. Remove as much air as possible from freezer bags. Allow ½ inch of headspace in rigid plastic containers. Seal, label, and freeze.

Another method to freeze the beans is to use a tray pack.

  1. Spread the blanched, cooled, and drained beans in a single layer on shallow trays or pans.
  2. Place in the freezer only long enough to freeze firm.
  3. Check often after the first hour to avoid loss of moisture. When beans are firmly frozen, package, leaving no headspace, and seal.

Tray-packed beans remain looser, allowing you to pour desired amount from the container.

Canning Procedure

This product cannot be safely canned in a boiling water bath.

  1. Wash jars. Prepare lids according to manufacturer's instructions.
  2. If desired, add 1 teaspoon of canning or pickling salt per quart.

For Raw Packs

  1. Fill jars tightly with prepared beans, leaving 1 inch of headspace.
  2. Add boiling water over beans, leaving 1 inch of headspace.

For Hot Packs

  1. Cover prepared beans in a large pot with boiling water and boil for 5 minutes.
  2. Fill jars with beans and the cooking liquid, leaving 1 inch of headspace.
  3. Remove air bubbles. Wipe the sealing surface of jars with a clean, damp paper towel. Add lids, tighten screw bands, and process in a pressure canner.

To Process in a Pressure Canner

  1. Place jar rack, 2 inches of water, and sealed jars in canner. Fasten lid and heat canner on high setting.
  2. After exhausting steam for 10 minutes, add weighted gauge or close petcock to pressurize the canner.
  3. Start timing the recommended process when the desired pressure is reached.
  4. Regulate heat to maintain a uniform pressure.
  5. When the processing is complete, remove canner from heat.
  6. Air-cool canner until it is fully depressurized. Then slowly remove weighted gauge or open petcock, wait 10 more minutes, and unfasten and carefully remove canner lid.
  7. After processing is complete, remove jars from canner with a jar lifter and place on a towel or rack. Do not retighten screw bands.
  8. Air-cool jars for 12 to 24 hours. Remove screw bands and check lid seals.

If the center of the lid is indented, then wash, dry, label, and store jars in a clean, cool, dark place.

If the lid is unsealed, examine and replace jar if defective, use new lid, and reprocess as before. Wash bands and store separately.

Beans are best if consumed within a year and are safe as long as lids remain vacuum sealed.

Table 1. Recommended process times in a pressure canner at different altitudes. Canner gauge pressure (in pounds) at altitudes of: 0-8,000 ft used for dial gauge canner; 0-Above 1,000 ft used for weighted gauge canner
Jar sizeProcess time (min)0-2,000 ft2,001-4,000 ft4,001-6,000 ft0-8,000 ft0-1,000 ftAbove 1,000 ft

Prepared by Luke LaBorde, associate professor of food science, Nancy Wiker, senior extension educator and Martha Zepp, extension project assistant