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How to Can Fresh Shelled Beans (Limas, Pinto's Garbanzo, etc.)

You may "can" fresh shelled beans rather than drying or freezing the beans. It's not common, but here's the USDA recipe:

Quantity: An average of 28 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 18 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A bushel weighs 32 pounds and yields 6 to 10 quarts -- an average of 4 pounds per quart.

Quality: Select well-filled pods with green seeds. Discard insect-damaged and diseased seeds.


Step 1 - Shell beans and wash thoroughly.

Step 2 - Cover beans with boiling water and heat to boil.

Step 3 - Fill the jars loosely, leaving 1-inch headspace.

Note: for Small beans -Leave 1-inch of headspace for pints and 1-1/2 inches for quarts.

and for Large beans - Leave 1-inch of headspace for pints and 1-1/4 inches for quarts.

Step 4 - Add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jar, if desired.

Step 5 - Add boiling water, but be sure to leave the same headspace listed above.

Step 6 - Adjust lids and process using the recommendations in below according to the method of canning used.


Table 1. Recommended process time for Lima Beans in a dial-gauge pressure canner.

Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of

Style of Pack

Jar Size

Process Time


2,000 ft

2,001-4,000 ft


6,000 ft


8,000 ft

Hot or Raw


40 min

11 lb

12 lb

13 lb

14 lb








Table 2. Recommended process time for Lima Beans in a weighted-gauge pressure canner.

Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of

Style of Pack

Jar Size




1,000 ft

Above 1,000 ft

Hot and Raw


40 min

10 lb

15 lb






Step 7 - Pressurize and remove the jars
After the canner is completely depressurized, remove the weight from the vent port or open the petcock. Wait 10 minutes; then unfasten the lid and remove it carefully. Lift the lid with the underside away from you so that the steam coming out of the canner does not burn your face.