Thursday, March 1, 2018

Canning dry beans

Last week, I canned another four batches of dry beans (and now I have so.many.beans).  You may recall that I am challenged in the bean-cooking arena.  My beans always turn out scorched or undercooked and crunchy, or both scorched and undercooked at the same time.  Because I'm just that talented.

So I was thrilled to discover that some home canners had had success with just putting beans and water into jars and canning them.  No soaking, no precooking required.  I tried it, and it worked, but inconsistently.  It was kind of hit and miss as to whether the jars would seal, and while it was true that the beans were cooked, it would have been nice for them to be shelf-stable as well.

I've canned beans many times over the years, and my method has evolved.  I'm happy to report that I have near 100% success with this method, and I thought it was high time I shared it with you.  It's a little more work than just putting beans and water in jars and then processing them in a pressure canner, but the reliability is worth the extra steps.

Here's what to do.
  1. Rinse and pick through beans.  I buy mine in 10-12 lb bags from my local warehouse store for less than $1 per pound.  Cover with at least 1 inch water, and soak for 8 hours or overnight.  I soak 1/2 lb of dry beans per quart, or 1/4 lb per pint.  My pressure canner holds 5 quart jars or 8 pint jars, so I soak 2 1/2 or 2 pounds of beans.
  2. Drain the beans, recover with 1 inch water, bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, and skimming off foam as needed.
  3. Meanwhile, begin heating the canner, jars, and lids.
  4. Distribute partially cooked beans evenly in the jars, then add cooking liquid to the jars, leaving 1 inch headspace.  Remember--the beans are not yet fully cooked, so they will expand.  Don't just fill the jars with as many beans as will fit unless you cook them all the way first.  Add salt, if desired: 1/2 t. per pint or 1 t. per quart.
  5. Process at 10 lbs of pressure in pressure canner, 75 minutes for pints, or 90 minutes for quarts.
That's it!

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