And before you start thinking about how that never really happens, let me just say IT DOES HAPPEN and it happens to even experienced food preservers. Canning must be done with special care and within very specific parameters.
A Pressure Canner should be tested every year to be sure that it is reaching full pressure. The pressure dial can sometimes be wildly off. Recipes must be followed exactly. Jars must not be packed too tightly or the core temperature will be too low to kill bacteria and you will have a jar of poison on your pantry shelf.
She had been canning her own beans for over 30 years without incident which is very sobering.
Green beans carry a special danger because they have the bacterium C. botulinum, bacteria living on them naturally from the soil and they are very low acid. Acid content inhibits the anaerobic bacterial growth which leads to Botulism.
"Botulism is rare but may occur anywhere in the world. Although it is less common, it is an important disease because infected patients have high mortality and need to start treatment quickly. Botulism is therefore a medical emergency.The disease is not caused directly by bacteria, but by neurotoxins produced by it.
Botulism is an illness of sudden onset with predominantly neurological impairment, characterized by progressive motor paralysis. The main mode of transmission is through poorly maintained food ."Due to the severity of the disease and the possibility of the occurrence of multiple cases resulting from ingestion of contaminated food, reporting a single case is to be considered as the existence of an outbreak of botulism."
This is an important point. The bacteria is not what makes you sick, it is the toxin it produces. The toxin does not smell or have a color. It is invisible and it is deadly.
Because it is a toxin, a poison, you cannot cook it out. This is a point that I have had to explain to many a bachelor/ bachelorette. Boiling a batch of home canned beans will NOT make them safe! The toxin is still in them. Boiling kills bacteria but it does nothing to the toxin. It will still make you sick. (This also goes for food that has been left in the car or on the counter.)
Many canning techniques have been changed through scientific research, so "Grandma's Recipe" is not necessarily safe either. An excellent resource for techniques, skills and recipes that have been scientifically tested can be found at The National Center for Home Food Preservation website.
|I started palnting these purple green beans when the kids were little. They are much easier to find when picking. Sadly they turn deep green when cooked.|
If you choose to can green beans please follow tested and approved recipes and directions. Just any old video or recipe on the net is not safe. My teacher, at the extension office, is very sad to see so many dangerous videos and recipes appearing on the internet. Home canning low acid foods safely is a very precise science.
So, green beans are off my list for home canning but I am a Homesteader in a modern world. I can freeze my green beans or I can buy them, properly canned (without the BPA plastic lining).
And I am fine with that. My health is too big of a price to pay for my pride.