My hot-packed green beans went bad. They are still sealed, look nice and green. On the bottom there is a white slime. When I opened a jar they smelled terrible. What happened?

  • 3
    Can you describe your method (or provide a link)? Also, how much experience do you have canning vegetables?
    – Jolenealaska
    Commented Nov 9, 2014 at 23:26
  • 4
    What happened is almost sure bacterial growth, from your description. But I suspect you are actually asking why it is happening, and I don't know if you can tell you more about it. In canning, any small deviation from the procedure can result in the food going bad, there is no way for us to say where you deviated. But you can still provide the info Jolene asked for, maybe we can catch something unusual.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Nov 10, 2014 at 7:45

2 Answers 2


I know this is kind of old but unless green beans are pickled or processed as in the link below, they are considered not safe (NOT safe to waterbath unless pickled). So in answer to your question, if they were not process in a pressure canner at the appropriate pressure for your altitude and for the correct length of time for the jar-size, then that would be what caused them to go bad.


  • you said the jar is sealed and they are nasty smelling/looking - that specific problem is often due to a false seal from either stacking the jars or storing them with rings on. If the seal breaks for whatever reason, the ring being on can cause it to "re-seal" after letting air and whatnot in/out of the jar. It then gives the appearance of being sealed while actually being quite gross/unsafe. To prevent this, rings should be removed 24 hours after the item has been out of the canner.

Green beans are very low in acid and need to be processed carefully. Whether you water bath or pressure canned them, the most likely reason is that you didn't process them long enough.

  • 2
    ...or that they weren't properly pressure canned. (Altitude difference, bad gauge, starting the timer before it's reached pressure, pressure dropped during processing, etc)
    – Cascabel
    Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 6:41

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