Canned green beans safe?

wertach zone 7-B SCNovember 1, 2011

A coworker asked me about his canned green beans this morning. He said that he sterilized the jars in boiling water, packed the cold, raw, beans in jars and added water and salt. No acids.

Then He put them in a boiling WBC for 3 hours! Don't ask me how he boiled them for 3 hours, because I was too busy shaking my head to ask him! I'm thinking green bean mush! He did say that his Mother told him that was the way to process them.

I told him that he should be sure that everything sealed and at least bring them to a rolling boil before eating. Then I told him I would ask the experts on here!

Opinions please!

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readinglady(z8 OR)

Well, if I go back to my mother's 1948 Kerr canning book, 3 hours of boiling water bath is offered as an alternative to pressure canning, but even then it was not the recommended method.

It was not the canning method that made those beans "safe." It was the cooking method.

When those beans were removed from the jar they were brought to a rolling boil, the pan was covered, and the boil was sustained for at least 10 minutes.

That cooking method will kill any active botulinum toxins. It will not, however, kill the spores.

How thankful I am that I am not eating those green beans. But, if your friend wants to use a method that was out-dated 60+ years ago, he is certainly free to do so.

P.S. In his case, sterilizing the jars is utterly futile. It's like fixing a hurricane-damaged roof by painting the shingles.

Carol

    Bookmark   November 1, 2011 at 1:24PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

Thanks, Carol! I told him, this spring, that he needed to get a pressure canner and at least a Ball Blue Book! I am thinking about buying a new Ball book and making it available to all of my coworkers!

When he was talking about canning green beans, I told him that he needs to put some vinegar or lemon juice in them and pressure can. He went with Mom's advice instead.She is the same age as me, 57, and still goes by outdated, passed down, wisdom.

I am guilty of some outdated recipes myself, like my pickle okra. But I finally went with the updated recipes this year. It isn't as good, or my old taste buds don't know any better. But I know its safe!

I'm the "old guy" that they come to for answers, but it is usually "after the fact".

    Bookmark   November 1, 2011 at 2:28PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

You don't need to add any acid when pressure canning green beans. That is only if you are going to pickle them, then use a safe, up to date recipe and methods.
If I were him I would throw out the jars of beans. Don't even open them. Toss jars and all.
I personally know of any elderly woman who is still on a ventilator from eating green beans done in the BWB canner.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2011 at 2:51PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Ask him if he likes to shoot craps. If so offer to go with him to Vegas since that is what he is doing with his canned green beans and seems to have been very lucky so far. Maybe his luck will hold at the crap game.

Dave

    Bookmark   November 1, 2011 at 3:46PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

He does seem to have a very good immune system..... Many mornings he will come in with some raw chicken breasts and throw them on his little George Foreman griller. I don't think he ever cleans it! It has chunks of burned grease on the sides!

I have watched him eat chicken with red blood dripping out of it at 7 AM........ Makes me want to puke!

He is a weight lifting fanatic and very strong, and hard headed!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2011 at 4:13PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

I think he has every right to put himself at risk. I just hope he keeps his cuisine to himself!

To add to something Linda_Lou said, if current safe processing guidelines are followed, the only reason to add vinegar to green beans is if you're pickling them. By the same token, green beans pressure canned the appropriate time don't require boiling after opening either.

Pressure canning is a win-win.

1) Better texture and better retention of nutrients. (Think of all the nutrients lost in the bean water over those three hours.)

2) More energy-efficient processing (i.e. reduced consumption of utilities and water).

3) Safety - no botulism worries. After all, botulism is a powerful nerve toxin and it only takes once.

Carol

    Bookmark   November 1, 2011 at 6:15PM
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calliope(6)

Argh..........

When my kids call me about canning questions, I just tell them to log on to the nchfp site because that's what I use. LOL. Even my 1946 Joy of Cooking has in bold print that if you don't have a pressure canner, don't even think about canning low acid foods unless you're going to pickle them.

Had a friend tell me she BWB her whole corn harvest. I nearly cried when I told her they weren't safe.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 1:29AM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

I'm really worried now. The guy came in this morning and said that he opened a jar yesterday that the "button" had popped up on it. His description.

He said "when I opened it I could hear the pressure releasing"! I told him that was pressure escaping and it was pure poison in that jar. He laughed and said that they tasted good.

Last week I printed out the page from http://nchfp on green beans and gave it to him. He just won't listen!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 11:44AM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

It sounds like it's become a game with him; he enjoys the dare of doing what the rules say, proving them "wrong". And he enjoys teasing you and getting a reaction.

You've done your bit. I'd drop it and hope that like a little kid, when he's ignored he'll pause and re-think his habits.

Carol

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 12:29PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Exactly - it's a game to him. Just tell him you aren't interested in playing his games.

"A fool and his ways are soon parted."

Dave

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 3:19PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

I don't think it's a game, I think he just trusts his Mom! She is about the same age as me, late 50's.

My parents always added about a cup of vinegar to each quart, then hot packed, and canned them in a water bath. I guess that kinda classified them as pickled. No one ever got sick, and I trusted my parents too. But I have changed my way of doing it.

Yesterday, I told him to remove all of the rings and check to see if the lids were sealed. I also told him a little story about exploding canned goods, I learned my lesson on leaving the rings on 30+ years ago! He came in this morning, after our long talk yesterday, and said he threw away 12 quarts last night.

He also admitted that he hadn't took time to read the stuff I printed out for him, until last night. He told me that he didn't realize how bad it is!

I suggested to him that "if" he insists on eating the ones that are sealed, to at least cook them in a pressure cooker for the high temps. You know us southerners like our green beans over cooked anyway!

When I stopped by Walmart to pick up a few things at lunchtime, he was standing in line with 2 pressure cookers. One for canning and a smaller one for cooking!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 3:22PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I don't think it's a game, I think he just trusts his Mom! She is about the same age as me, late 50's.

Got you and his Mom beat by 10 years and it isn't a question of age or of trust. Just one of being informed. :)

As others have pointed out, pressure canning green beans has been the standard guideline for more than 50 years. But I sure am glad he finally took your info to heart.

Dave

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 4:01PM
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calliope(6)

The biggest issue I have with people who insist on canning improperly isn't that they won't listen, it's that they influence other canners and those who are thinking about canning into believing them. It's one thing to play Russian roulette with your own diet, but it's unconscionable to influence others to do so unwittingly.

I'm thrilled to see an interest in home food preservation. I've done it all my life, as did my parents and their's before them. It's a beneficial practise both economically and nutritionally. My children learned fro me and continue to do it and now my grandchildren are doing it in their teens. With the cuts in funding in our extension departments, the wealth of home-skills literature and training is not present today like it was in my parent's generation. Thank God for online sites like the NCHFP and forums like this.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 11:27AM
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wally_1936(8b)

When I use to work a hunting lease there was a neighbor who had a deer hanging from a tree with mold and flies all over it. He would just cut off a piece and cook it when ever he was hungry. Would buy damaged cans, this same store would give him the spoiled produce they were not allowed to sell. This was his diet.
This would kill you and I but he never seemed to have health problems.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 11:08AM
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bigpinks

We have been pressure canning white half runners for twenty yrs or more and I always have some on hand for the winter. I did the last ones on the side burner of my gas grill on the patio and it worked great. I would be sad without my half runners.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 12:19PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

He is still eating them! He hasn't got sick yet! But he promised that he is going to use his new pressure caner this year, if he lives long enough!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 2:41PM
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