Beans canned at home is one of the newest additions to our homestead pantry, and it’s a great one! Most folks are aware that buying dry beans is a big money saver from buying canned beans. But for busy nights or last minute meals they aren’t that convenient. Canned beans are so much simpler for those grab and go moments in the kitchen. Being able to bulk buy dry beans and can them yourself at a fraction of the cost is something I definitely recommend to anyone looking for convenience and trying to save a few bucks.
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In this post I’ll be walking you through the process and trying my best to answer questions that I’ve been asked.
First things first, beans are canned in water and are considered low acid. This means that to safely can them at home you must use a pressure canner. Without the pressure canner, your jars of beans will end up growing the bacteria that causes botulism. So it’s imperative to use one. If you haven’t seen my post about the Basics of Pressure Canning, please check it out. If you’re looking for a good, but not overly expensive pressure canner, this T-Fal one is a good choice. And remember, all pressure canners can double as pressure cookers, but NOT all pressure cookers will work as pressure canners.
This year we grew a few types of beans in the garden with the intention of drying and canning them. This is fun, but doesn’t produce a huge amount if you are small scale like us. So if you have the space, by all means, go nuts and grow a ton. If you didn’t grow your own this year, or don’t have a garden, you can buy bulk bags of dry beans at most grocery stores or stores like Costco. Any type of dried bean will do, so choose your favourite type! In our jars this year we’ve got Black Turtle Beans, White Navy Beans, and Painted Pony Beans.
I’ll give instructions for 4 Pint jars. This is scalable up to any amount of beans you have, and the pressure canner timing remains the same.
You Will Need:
- 4 cups Dried Beans
- A Large Bowl for soaking the beans
- A Large Pot, for boiling the beans
- 4 Pint Jars
- 4 New Snap Lids for jars, plus ring tops
- A Slotted Spoon
- A Jar Grabber
- A Jar Funnel
- A Pressure Canner
- A Ladle
- A Butter Knife, or Bubble Remover Tool
- 2 Tea Towels
Step 1: Rehydrate the Beans
The beans need to be rehydrated before you begin the process of filling the jars. To do this, pour the beans into a large bowl, and cover with 3 times as much water as beans. Cover the bowl with a tea towel, and let the beans sit for 12 hours. The beans will have swollen to double their original size, and the water may be slightly foamy. Drain the beans.
Step 2: Par Boil the Beans
The beans will finish cooking inside the pressure canner, but you want to begin the process to help soften the outer layer. Bring a large pot of fresh water to a boil. Add the beans, bring it back to a boil, and boil for 25 minutes. After the 25 minutes, remove from the heat, but DON’T Drain.
Step 3: Set up the Jar Filling Station
Place a tea towel on a clean counter. Clean the jars in hot soapy water. Sanitize the jars by placing them in a 200F oven for 15 minutes. Have the Jar Funnel, Jar Grabber, and Bubble Removing Tool ready on or beside the tea towel. Pour some vinegar into a small bowl and have a second cloth or tea towel ready to dip in the vinegar later. Set the clean, hot jars on the tea towel and have the lids near by. Once the beans are done, set them beside your filling station.
Step 4: Prep the Pressure Canner
Fill the pressure canner to the lowest fill line (indicated inside most canners, or follow instructions specific to your canner). Lay in the bottom jar rack and place the canner on the stove over medium high heat. Heat without the lid on while you fill jars.
Step 5: Filling the Jars
Fill and close each jar one at a time. Using the funnel and slotted spoon, spoon the beans into the first jar, to an inch below the top. Ladle in hot bean cooking water, again to an inch from the top. Gently stir out any bubbles, and top up water if needed to maintain 1 inch headspace at the top. Wipe the rim of the jar with vinegar.
Secure a new lid with a screw top ring. Use the jar grabber to transfer the jar into the canner, and repeat for the remaining jars.
Step 6: Canning
Secure the lid onto the canner, and allow the canner to fill with steam. Vent the steam for 10 minutes, before placing the jiggler/weight on the vent. Once the vent is closed, lower the stove heat to medium low, and allow the pressure to rise on the gauge to 11 pounds. Once it reads 11 pounds, start a timer for 75 minutes. Adjust the stove temperature through out to try and maintain the 11 pounds of pressure without going under. I usually turn my stove down a few more notches once pressure is reached.
Step 7: Depressurizing
After the 75 minutes, turn of the heat, and CAREFULLY move the canner off the hot burner. DON’T open it immediately. Let the canners pressure drop back to zero, then wait a further 30-40 minutes. Then carefully open the lid slightly, and leave the loose lid sitting on the canner for another hour or so. If the lid is lifted too fast and the jars experience a cold temperature shock they can crack, or burst. So this slow depressurization process is really important.
Step 8: Finishing Up
After the pressure is released and all is safe, remove the lid, and use your grabber to get each jar out. Place the jars on a tea towel in a draft free space where they won’t be in the way. Allow them to sit, undisturbed for 12-16 hours. This will allow them to settle, cool, and fully seal. Now they can be stored in a cool and dark pantry for 1-2 years. For storage is will usually remove the ring tops to prevent rusting. The jars will remain fully sealed without the rings, but removing a rusty ring later down the line can have bad results.
And there you have it! Dry beans all canned up and ready for your weeknight tacos, last minute chili, and easy bean dips and salads. I hope everyone gives pressure canning a try. It seems intimidating but it really isn’t. If you go into it prepared, and follow guidelines, it will surely become a favourite new addition to your preserving rituals.