Well, it seems beans have knocked chicken off the number one spot of being the easiest things I’ve ever canned. The only thing that makes canning beans easier, is you don’t have to deal with messy, raw chicken. You just wash dried beans, pour them in jars, add salt, secure the lids/rings, and plop them in the canner.
I haven’t previously canned beans in quantity because I couldn’t get a good enough price point on dry beans to justify canning. Beans have gone up in price, and are now typically $1.35 a pound, and pretty much the same for one can. At Aldi, you can get beans for anywhere between 60 and 70 cents a can, so at that price I couldn’t reason spending money on lids for canning beans. One lucky day, a neighbor took me to a restaurant supply store, and now I can buy bulk beans at a much lower price. Out of one pound of dry beans, I now get 4 pints of beans for 19.5 cents each.
If using a 23 quart canner and pint jars, you can fit 16 pints in the pot using a rack. To make things even more fun, why not can different kinds of beans in one shot? In one canning session, try canning kidney, white, pinto, and black beans. This way you don’t have 16 jars of just one type of bean.
The question some canners struggle with, is canning dry verses soaked beans. I did an experiment and canned each kind, and found that canning dry beans makes for a nice, soft bean, that holds its shape. The soaked beans wouldn’t hold up well in a bean salad, or stay firm enough in a soup in my opinion. The National Center for Food Preservation says you must soak the beans first, but I believe that is because they want to ensure the correct amount of beans get in the jar. However, the 1/2 cup per dry beans per pint, and 1 cup per quart, has proven true with the beans I’ve tried so far – – pinto, white, and black beans. In fact, this is also how I make my home canned pork and beans. You must make your own decision if using the dry bean method. I’m a pretty big rule follower with official guidelines, but I’ve eaten beans I’ve canned from a dry state several times, as have many others, and in my opinion it is not a safety risk.
Because you will be pressure canning, no need to sterilize your jars, but do make sure they are clean, and always wash them right out of the box. Place 1/2 cup of beans in each pint, with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Fill with water to the 1 inch mark. Head space is very important, so pay close attention to it, always. Your canning instructions may be different depending on your canner, but here are my instructions for a 23 quart Presto:
Pour 3 quarts of water in canner.
Put jars in canner and lock the lid.
Turn on heat, and when the steam is streaming, set timer for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes are up, put your pressure gauge on, and wait until it reaches 10 pounds (that’s for my elevation).
After 10 pounds of pressure has been reached, start the timer for 75 minutes for pints, and 90 minutes for quarts.
When time is up, remove canner from heat, and let the pressure come down naturally. Do not lift the gauge off to release pressure. This could result in broken jars or water loss.
After pressure is down to zero, remove gauge, and set timer for 10 minutes, then open lid and remove jars from canner.
If your jars pop down, they are shelf stable.
Have questions? Please ask on Preserved Home’s Facebook page, or on this post. And I’d love to see pictures of your canning projects!