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Canning Dry Beans — Skip the Soak


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!

{ 44 comments… add one }
  • James Hermison September 25, 2018, 10:28 AM

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  • Angela Gammell July 9, 2019, 1:46 AM

    I have a quick question. I just canned bean for the first time today.. I just realized that I actually put in double the amount of beans than I was supposed to. Will they still be safe? So per pint I added 1 C beans & filled with boiling water to 1″ headspace. Quarts 2 C beans…. :/

    • Joey February 17, 2021, 8:46 PM

      I dunno how did they do?
      I would think safe, but likely very raw/undercooked

    • Jerry Roberts February 17, 2021, 11:13 PM

      I agree on the undercooked comment but don’t throw them away. Empty several jars into a slow cooker and complete the cooking. They are half way there but very thirsty so add some water to the pot.

    • Laura Macklem February 18, 2021, 2:29 AM

      Angela, I’m surprised the tops did not buckle? Are the beans hard, or soft?

  • Laura December 13, 2019, 2:10 AM

    I have pressure canned beans for many years. I usually soak my beans for 12 hours and then sprout for 12 hours or so rinsing several times. Then I cook them in filtered water until the beans come to a boil (10-15 min) They are then loaded into the jars and pressure cannes for 90 min.
    I want to stop pre-cooking them before canning because the beans often break apart and get mushy.

    I will combine the 2 systems, 1st rehydrating and sprouting my beans fully hydrating them. Then I will load them in the jars and add boiling water and salt so they do have a chance to get hot before the pressure canning starts. No precook but definitely pre-soak.

    Density and how the heat from pressure canning gets to the center is very important. With fully hydrated beans in jars with boiling water that cook in the canner for 10-20 minutes before it gets up to pressure should be enough precooking. Then 90 minutes at 240º. That should not be a risky method. Will do more research on pressure canning them dry but I love sprouting them first for digestibility.

  • Jerry Roberts May 20, 2020, 10:22 PM

    I have dry canned hundreds of quarts of beans and peas over the last decade. The method that works for me is to place all off the contents in the jars and place them in the pressure cooker at room temperature with the correct amount of water in the pressure cooker without lids or rings. I then turn on the heat and bring the temperature in the jar up to 180 degrees F. I remove each jar, clean the rim and install the lid, ring and tighten. I place them back into the pressure cooker, put the lid in place and turn the heat back on following all of the normal procedures from that point. My family has eaten the canned beans 6 years after the canning date many times, I have found that this works for all beans and blackeyed peas. My question is that I want to move up from quarts to half gallon jars. I cook quarts for 90 minutes. What would be the timing for half gallons?

    • Laura May 20, 2020, 11:50 PM

      Hi Jerry,
      At this time canning anything in 1/2 gallon jars besides clear juice has not been studied and is not recommended. That being said I can several items that are not recommended, such as milk and bacon. Canning dry uncooked, unsoaked beans isn’t recommended anywhere that I’ve seen but we are doing that here so…
      In any case that is the reason there are no canning times for beans or other foods in 1/2 gallon jars. Most people don’t can in those jars so the extensions haven’t researched it and come up with processing times for us. We just don’t know whether the canning time for 1/2 gallon should be double the quart time or just 20 minutes more?
      The important part of pressure canning, especially something dense like meat or beans, is to be absolutely sure that the standard temperature of 240º is reached and that all the food maintains that temperature for the whole processing time. One of the problems identified is that sometimes, and in some dense foods, the 240º temperature was not reached in the center of the food during the allotted processing time. If this happened to your beans then you could risk illness for you or whomever eats the food. So please do some research on the likelihood of your beans not reaching and maintaining 240º in such a large jar. That is your conundrum.

      • Jerry Roberts May 21, 2020, 1:06 AM

        I know recommendations have changed and governmental agencies have done what they do best. I feel I must go with common sense and some very old experience of what I learned from my Grandmothers. Here in SE Texas there are a lot of oil field workers that abide by “If a little bit is a little bit of good then a whole lot is a whole lot of good”. I believe if I double the time for a quart then I should be able to safely cook 1/2 gallon. 180 minutes in a pressure cooker should kill anything big enough to die. I will either boil off all of the water in the pressure cooker or end up with mushy beans.
        I was hoping that someone had experimented on this procedure and could give me some insight and direction. I am not saying anybody is right or wrong but fear of failure is worse than failure. Perhaps I will write a paper on my experience and submit it to the USDA. Thanks for the replies and kind words.

        • Laura Macklem May 21, 2020, 1:17 AM

          I obviously don’t follow all the guidelines either – if I did I wouldn’t be able to can much of anything I want, and my beans would be mush! If you try the 1/2 gallon jar experiment, will you let us know how it turns out? Have you ever dry canned potatoes? I’ve been tempted to try.

          • Jerry Roberts May 27, 2020, 12:06 AM

            Half Gallon Canning

            This is a reflection of an experience not a “how to” guide:

            I used a Presto Model 0178107 23 quart Pressure Cooker for this trial. This Pressure Cooker operated differently from my 21 quart Pressure Cookers. I was not accustom to regulating pressure by adjusting the heat level and finding the “sweet spot” on the proper burner of the propane stove. I ended up ranging from 10 lbs to 14 lbs of pressure before I got the hang of it. For the sake of data logging I used BALL wide mouth Half Gallon canning jars. Two with Ball lids and two with Kerr lids because some wide mouth lids tend to bend at the edge under pressure. I cleaned the half gallon wide mouth jars and beans and concocted my favorite mixture of ingredients. In this case it was two cups of dry sorted beans, two teaspoons of canning salt and two teaspoons of Chili powder and filling to the desired level with warm water.
            From that point I use my own little procedure that works for me. I added three quarts of warm water to the pressure cooker and placed the four filled half gallon jars into the pressure cooker without lids and rings. I turned on the heat and waited for the magic to happen. I checked the temperature of the fluid in the jars using an ACU-RITE digital thermometer until about 160 degrees F. At his point I slowly stirred the contents slowly using a wooden spoon and reached down to the bottom of the jar. At 180 degrees F I stirred again to insure I was getting a temp reading from the entire contents instead of the top layer. At 190 degrees I removed the jars, one at a time, and cleaned the rim, installed the heated lid and ring, tightened and placed them back into the pressure cooker. After completing all four jars I placed the lid on the pressure cooker and proceeded by standard protocol.
            To determine the process time I referred to the USDA process times for beans using a dial gauge pressure canner. They call for 75 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for quarts. That would be an increment of 15 minutes per pint over the original pint. Since my jars were one quart larger than a single quart that would be 2 pints at 15 minutes per pint, to equal the second quart. Which totals 90 + 15 +15 = 120 minutes or 2 hours of process time.
            Upon cool down all four jars came out great. Both the Ball and Kerr lids held up without a flaw as expected. However depending on the taste of the person canning their own beans each jar contains about 2/3 cooked beans and 1/3 bean juice. The beans have swelled very large and some have begin to split indicating that they are very well cooked. Doubling the quart recipe was inadequate for filling the jars with cooked beans. To tweak the recipe I will increase from two cups of beans to two and 1/8 with the 1/8 mounded over a little bit.
            To satisfy everyone, including myself, I intend to store these at room temp without the rings. I will open one every three months until the end of one year to insure they are well sealed and safe to eat. I can hear the lids popping now as they cool down. It is going to be a long three months. I will keep you posted.

        • Deidre Dealy May 24, 2021, 12:23 AM

          Do you have an update on your half gallon jars Jerry? It’s been a year and I’m curious what your results have been.

          • Jerry Roberts May 24, 2021, 12:41 AM

            All four jars have been consumed with no ill effects. All had good seals when opening. We opened the last two about two weeks ago for a small party. The beans tasted just like they did out of a quart jar. It didn’t make sense to open a half gallon of beans for just two people during the COVID lockdown but since Texas is opened life is back to normal.

      • Jerry Roberts July 11, 2020, 7:11 PM

        Laura. How long do you can a quart of milk. I have seen videos that show from 1 to 15 minutes. I have accessed more milk than our family or neighbors can consume, my freezers are getting full and I need to start canning milk. Please give me your procedure. Thanks.

        • Laura Macklem July 19, 2020, 10:09 AM

          Hi Jerry! I have never canned milk before. If you try it, let me know how it goes. For my long-term storage, I buy low-fat powdered milk.

          • Jerry Roberts July 19, 2020, 6:10 PM

            After a lot more research I am not willing to attempt canning liquid milk. The threat of botulism has a large potential regardless of the claims of some internet You Tube publishers. Milk is a different creature as far as edible food supplies are concerned.
            The math also doesn’t add up for canning liquid milk. If I canned a pint of milk in a pressure cooker I would have one pint of milk with a condensed milk taste. If I oven canned a pint of powdered milk it would produce one quart of milk with the addition of the required four cups of water. I would require less storage space for the end product with the peace of mind that I or my family will not require hospitalization.
            I will stand with our oven canned powdered milk.

          • Laura Macklem July 20, 2020, 12:37 PM

            Yeah, I won’t be canninig milk either. I canned tomato soup and left the cheese and cream out, and will add when we open the jars. I’m a bit of a rebel canner, but I have to feel 100 percent certain about it. I do think it’s curious though Ball says to add butter to jam to take down the foaming. If you aren’t supposed to can dairy, why is that ok?

      • Ron May 2, 2021, 1:38 PM

        I can bone in chicken in half gallon jars and have done so for years. I learned this from the Hutterites colonies in Canada. Cut the backside of the chickens and use the backs to make chicken bone broth then fill your jars with bone in chicken and ladle broth made from the backs of the chickens to 1 inch head space the process for 108 minutes.

        • Jerry Roberts May 2, 2021, 3:51 PM

          I have often thought about canning pre-cooked and deboned chicken for making gumbo. My pots of gumbo require about 40lbs of raw chicken and the entire process sometimes require two days at my age. I often use a chicken and turkey mix because the spices blend the flavors very well after adding in 5lbs of smoked sausage. It would make the process a lot easier to have half gallon jars of meat that is cooked and ready to use. Do you think I should extend the canning time for deboned meat due to the greater density of the contents.

    • Laura Macklem May 21, 2020, 12:18 AM

      Hi Jerry, that is a very interesting method! I’ve not heard of that one before. Regarding half gallon jars, like Laura said, it’s only been approved for juice. I actually wrote the USDA and asked them to please consider putting some effort into doing more safe canning research, including half gallon jars! I would love to can soup in half gallon jars if I could get a safe time from them.

      • Jerry Roberts May 21, 2020, 5:35 PM

        If you are talking about Oven Canning yes I have done potatoes but they were shredded and dehydrated. I can’t testify to the time they could be stored because we needed them about 6 months later. I have Oven Canned Flour and stored and used it 12 years later but I also used oxygen absorbers in the jars. It made great bread and rolls.
        We are in Hurricane country and have been isolated for two weeks, in the past, with three teen age Grandsons. We stock a lot of food and supplies due to our location.
        I will be making pickles the next few days but I intend to experiment on the half gallons early next week.

        • Laura Macklem May 22, 2020, 2:13 AM

          Jerry, not oven canning, dry canning where you put raw potatoes in a quart jar without water and can as usual. People are doing this with carrots and potatoes, but I haven’t tried it yet. You should look up dry canning potatoes on You Tube. Be interested to know what you think too.

          • Jerry Roberts May 22, 2020, 3:37 AM

            I have dry canned hamburger. Cooked it in a skillet till brown and canned cooked meat in pint jars. Great for tacos or spaghetti. I’ll have to try the potatoes. I’ve canned them in water but never dry. Plus I have dry canned sausage as a backup in case I run out while making gumbo. Canned gumbo is my first choice as a MRE.

          • Laura Macklem May 23, 2020, 2:02 AM

            I dry canned hamburger too and thought it was dry. Home canned ground beef is a bit soft when canned in water, but it’s great to have on hand! It does much better in something like a pasta sauce.

          • Jerry Roberts June 4, 2020, 11:28 PM

            I looked at the You Tube videos and gave it a try. I Dry Canned 9 pints of Irish potatoes without a problem. All sealed and look great. I pressure cooked them for 40 minutes to be on the safe side. For reference it took 10 lbs of potatoes to make 9 pints.

          • Laura Macklem June 6, 2020, 2:28 PM

            Glad it turned out, Jerry! I saw a video of canning fingerlings. I really want to try that if I can find a good deal!

      • Jerry Roberts May 21, 2020, 10:10 PM

        This is not an experiment but tried and true. If you like Ranch Style Beans try this. For a quart of beans add your normal 1 teaspoon of canning salt then add 1 teaspoon of Chili Powder and 4 teaspoons of McCormick TACO Original Seasoning Mix. Taste better than store bought.
        I always add 1 teaspoon of chili powder to my quarts of beans before canning to enhance flavor. In a tight situation I had ran out of Ranch Style Beans so I opened a quart jar of regular beans that contained chili powder and simmered them with 4 teaspoons of Taco Seasoning Mix for about 30 minutes. It tasted the same and it fooled the Grandsons. Give it a try.

        • Laura Macklem May 22, 2020, 2:12 AM

          Jerry, I will have to give that a try for sure! I love playing around with flavored beans! I tired lime jalapeno beans last time, but didn’t add enough of the flavorings. My spicy pintos are awesome though! Your recipe sounds delicious and I can’t wait to try it. Thank you!

          • Jerry Roberts May 22, 2020, 4:36 PM

            If you like spicy pintos try this.
            Per quart after adding 1 cup Dry Beans add:
            4 tablespoons of finely diced Pickled Jalapeno Peppers
            4 tablespoons of finely diced white or yellow onion
            1 teaspoon dried minced garlic
            1 teaspoon canning salt
            1/2 teaspoon Ground dried Cumin
            1/2 teaspoon Ground dried Chili Powder
            1/2 teaspoon Dried Ground Cayenne Pepper
            add the proper amount of water and stir slowly with a wooden spoon in the jar. Follow the remaining normal canning procedures.
            You can mash the finished product and use as bean dip or eat it cold straight from the jar as some of my neighbors have. You may need a mask when adding the cayenne pepper. I have made 32 pints and 7 quarts in the past 2 months.

          • Laura Macklem May 23, 2020, 2:00 AM

            Yum! I have a ton of pickled jalapenos I jarred up a few years ago. Will try. Thank you!

  • Jaime Patterson June 24, 2020, 4:02 AM

    Laura and Jerry, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your discussion! I have only water bathed at this point. All the darn rules and whatnot make me terrified to actually try anything with pressure (a story I was told growing up about my great grandma exploding beans in a pressure cooker and pelting the ceiling with beans that stayed embedded til who knows how long after they moved out years later….prob doesn’t help me with my confidence 🤣). But when I do pressure can I plan on experimenting because I’m positive what we get from the extensions isn’t all we can do!! So, to read your thoughtful and friendly convo is inspiring. Thank you!

    • Jerry Roberts June 24, 2020, 8:29 PM

      Jamie I do not claim to be an expert. Since the first of March of this year I have canned over 170 jars of food. Eighty five percent of it was in a pressure cooker. The rest was oven canned or open canned. As long as you follow the standard procedures you will have nothing to worry about. Pressure caners have more safety features than your Grandmothers. I have three pressure caners. One is a 45 year old Presto that has all of the safety features and I use it on a regular basis. The USDA has a Complete Guide to Home Canning that is free on the internet. Save them for reference. If you buy a new caner there will be a set of instructions included. Use them. Once you educate yourself in the proper procedures a whole new world will open up for food storage that is not dependent on electricity.
      As far as your washing of the beans before canning I guess this is up to your preference but it will make your beans begin to swell from soaking up the water. One cup of dried beans will produce more in a quart than one cup of washed beans. You may end up with more juice at the top of the jar with washed beans versus dry beans. My thought train is that I do not wash raw peanuts, pecans, walnuts or almonds before consuming. Why dried beans? All that is required is to sift through them for any bad beans or pebbles and they are ready for use. They will be sterilized and cooked when they leave the caner.

  • Cori Long January 26, 2021, 6:10 AM

    Have you tasted the potatoes that you canned? I canned a bunch ( in water ) but the texture & even the taste were odd. Not good at all. Would LOVE to know a better way!

    • Jerry Roberts February 17, 2021, 11:07 PM

      I followed Laura’s recommendations and dry canned my potatoes. I’ve canned about 45 quarts and eaten half of them. They taste much better than canning in water. The procedure is the same just leave out the water. The moisture in the potatoes is sufficient to cook the potatoes. I like to take a quart of them and fry them with a little oil, chopping them up as they cook. Add 4 scrambled eggs that have also been chopped up. This is a great for making Egg and Potato Burrito’s. Add a little Picante Sauce before wrapping and you have a great breakfast.

      • Cori Long February 24, 2021, 2:03 AM

        Thank you! Good to know!! It is really hard for me to wrap my brain around dry canning but I will give it a go! Sounds great!

        • Jerry Roberts February 24, 2021, 2:39 AM

          I plan to try the process on carrots the next time I receive a case of culls from the local food bank. They were discarding them for livestock feed but I cleaned and canned them.

          • Jeanette B Gilder April 6, 2021, 2:31 AM

            Jerry, are you on any groups on Facebook? I enjoyed reading the back and forth dialog.

          • Jerry Roberts April 6, 2021, 4:12 AM

            Sorry Jeanette. I don’t do Facebook. To time consuming for me. Laura has a great website here for sharing thoughts and comments.

          • Jerry Roberts May 2, 2021, 3:57 PM

            For a follow up on the dry canning of carrots. I dry canned about 10lbs of carrots last week and they came out great. Better flavor with better texture. Great heated with a little honey.

  • Jerry Roberts June 8, 2021, 9:02 PM

    Does anyone have experience with Anchor Hocking jars. Canning supplies are few and far between down here and all I see available are Anchor Hocking jars. Anchor Hocking is an old company but I don’t know if they can take the heat or the pressure. I have always used either Ball, Mason or Kerr. I would hate to lose a canner load of produce to faulty jars. They are rather high in price also. $17.00 for a dozen quarts with lids and rings.

    • LauraM June 9, 2021, 12:32 AM

      Yes, I love Anchor Hocking jars! They work great. Also, Golden Harvest.

      • Jerry Roberts June 9, 2021, 6:15 PM

        Thanks for the comment Laura. In April and May I put up 126 jars with most of them quarts. I was down to two dozen quarts jars left so I bought a dozen of the Anchor Hocking quart jars. I have been holding off using them because I was unsure of their track record. You have put my mind at ease.

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