Saturday, April 7, 2012

Canning Dried Beans for Food Storage

Are you putting your food storage and your skills to work?  Most people have dried beans stored because IT-WAS-ON-A-LIST and NEVER eat them.  Here's what to do with those beans.

We love beans in our home but they are not exactly "fast food".  Canning solves that problem and makes a bean taco night or bean soup night easy-peasy and super fast.

I've had some kidney beans in storage for awhile and was in the mood to do some canning so I made Spicy Kidney Beans.  

This recipe works the same for almost all large dry beans - lentils need not apply as they will be really mushy if you soak them this long.   

First wash and sort your beans - pick out the broken ones and the random lima beans that get in there somehow.  Then cover them with water for 15-18 hours.  I rinse them several times and cover with fresh water whenever I walk back into the kitchen and think about it - three times is plenty but you don't HAVE to do it.  

The more soaking and rinsing the less gas-producing the finished product will be. There are recipes on the net that advocate THE EASY WAY to can dried beans is by adding them dry to the canning jar and processing them so they cook in the jar - see sentence above about gas-production!  

One other reason that THE EASY WAY wasn't such a grand idea became abundantly clear when I rinsed some dry white beans this week - I thought they were awfully dirty until I realised that those black specks were dead bugs - probably weevils that came in with the beans.  I'm glad they were stored in mason jars that were vacuumed-sealed with the lid attachment.  I should have frozen the beans for a week before I stored them.   Yuck - not the kind of extra protein I was hoping for!  I let those ones soak and fed a bunch to the chickens but they didn't seem too crazy about them either!

Back to the kidney beans - that DIDN'T have bugs - In a large stock pot cover the beans with fresh water and boil for 30 minutes. 

My faithful Presto 
A 7 quart kettle.

Into each washed clean quart jar add 1tsp. of pickling salt, 1 tsp. of dehydrated garlic chunks or fresh garlic, 1/4 tsp. of black pepper and 1/4 tsp. of chilli powder.  Add hot beans leaving 1 inch of head space.  Cover with boiling water - that's where the kettle comes in!  Cover with hot lids and rings and process in a PRESSURE CANNER for 90 minutes at 10lbs pressure (your pressure may vary if you live at a different altitude - so check first!)

After allowing your canner to de-pressurize remove jars and let cool for 12 hours or more without disturbing them.  I use a large cookie rack with a tea towel on top and put them out of the way on the counter.

We have hard water so adding a little vinegar to the canner will help to alleviate some of the hard water stains on the jars but sometimes they still come out looking cloudy.  After the 12 hours is up I spray the jars with a mixture of vinegar and water, remove the rings and wipe the jars to remove the stains and any bean-gunk.  

I store my jars without the rings and use a large Sharpie marker to write directly on the lids.  I don't re-use my lids for canning but they can be re-used for storing dry items.

Now you know what to do with all those beans.  The spices in this recipe can be adjusted to your taste and used in bean soup, bean tacos, bean salads or anywhere you need protein and a bit of kick.

1 comment:

  1. I've been dry canning lentils for camping so that I can leave them behind without lugging them back home. I had concerns about moisture. Heat on the outside of the glass in the daytime and heat inside the glass at night time MAY cause a moisture problem so I decided to line the inside of the glass with toilet paper or paper towels. And, on the outside I line the glass with tap. Sounds like a lot of work and money for nothing...rite? When I hike, I carry a dozen packages of bean sprouts as they hatch in acouple of days...just in case I get lost. I'm looking for a dry can sealer that I can buy in Ontario. Any suggestions?