Canning greens like spinach, swiss chard or beet greens is super easy. The hardest part is probably the washing step. Greens can be crinkly and you'll need several rinses with fresh water to get all the dirt out.
Remember to only can the best of your greens. Pick out any wilted, dried or insect damaged leaves as best you can.
Greens are light and bulky when fresh. When you blanch them to pack your jars..... they shrink.
According the NCHFP "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 18 pounds and yields 3 to 9 quarts – an average of 4 pounds per quart."
I just picked a bunch and kept filling jars until I had 7 pint jars worth.
Wash greens well. Dirt has a tendency to get in the crinkly leaves so you will need to use several rinses of water. Rinse in small amounts and keep rinsing until you are sure it is all clean. This will depend on your situation. Right after a heavy rainfall your greens may have more dirt spashed up onto the leaves. If your greens are mulched well, you may not have much dirt at all!
Love that mulch.
After cleaning your greens you will want to blanch them. Heat your greens in a few inches or so of water until just starting to wilt. Stir while you are heating them to get them evenly heated.
Using a blanching basket makes this easy, but you can also just use a tongs to handle the greens. When the greens are blanched dip into cold water to stop cooking and then drain well.
Blanching greens outdoors on my camp chef stove
My favorite blanching basket
Next you want to pack your blanched greens into jars. You can do quarts if you want... I recommend pints.
Pack into hot jars leaving 1 inch head space. Add 1/2 tsp salt to pints and 1 tsp to quarts. (salt is optional)
Fill jars with boiling water, again leaving 1 inch head space.
Next be sure and wipe off the rims of your jars. If there is salt or greens sticking to the jar it will interfere with the seal to the canning lid. A quick swipe with a damp paper towel is usually enough for this type of food. It is not greasy or sticky like meat or jam would be.
Place your canning lids and rings on the jar. Tighten down finger tight. Not too tight but snug is fine. If you are not familiar with how to place lids and how pressure canning works. Here is a link you may need to look at. This page has general instructions on how to use a pressure canner.
Process in a pressure canner at 10 pounds. Be sure and adjust this pressure to your altitude as shown in the chart below.
Pints need 1 hour 10 minutes
Quarts 1 hour 30 minutes
|Adjustments for Pressure Canner|
|Altitude in Feet||Dial Gauge Canner||Weighted Gauge Canner|
Always follow tested methods for canning. Canning processing source NCHFP canning greens
I have to say that I did this project mostly because several folks asked about canning greens. I thought it would be great to have on hand in jars. So did a batch of swiss chard. Swiss chard grows well here and I always have plenty.
It is now the next spring, and I have used a grand total of....... one pint jar. All 6 other jars are still on my shelf. I just didn't care for it. BUT, that is not to say that you wouldn't love it! So here you go.
A few things I noticed with this project. I had a lot of liquid loss. This is something I've seen repeatedly with canning greens.
To lessen liquid loss be sure you have properly vented your canner at the beginning of your processing time. This means allow steam to escape for a full 10 minutes before placing the weights on and building pressure. Also important is to allow your jars to slowly cool down. After the canner reaches zero pressure let it rest 10 more minutes. Then open your lid and let some steam out. Set the lid back on your canner and let it rest another 5 minutes unclamped down but covered. Then take the lid off, let it rest yet another 5 minutes. THEN take your jars out, allow to cool to room temperature and check your seals.
This allows those jars to depressurize slower and resists the problem of liquid being siphoned out of your jars.
In the image above the jar on the far left is borderline ok. I placed it in the fridge and used it within a few days. Some of the other jars have some liquid loss. Not much, so they are fine. A bit unappealing but fine.