Canned beans are so convenient and so much cheaper than the commercially canned beans you can buy in the store. Beans actually store better dry rather than canned so I don't can a super large batch when I can them. I can just enough for a month or two. We are vegetarians so beans are a large part of our diet, and we have them several times a week. Canning beans is super easy and since you can do it at a fraction of what they cost to buy in the grocery store it's well worth the time and effort.
In this post I'm canning garbanzo and black beans. The process is the same for all dried beans. These two beans just happened to be the two most used by my family.
How To Can Beans
Wash and sort your beans.
I found several rocks in the black beans. You definitely want to remove these before canning or eating.
Soak your beans overnight. There are dry bean canning methods but I find it hard to know exactly how many beans to pack into a jar, so I prefer that they are soaked and slightly cooked.
Rinse your beans after soaking.
Bring your beans to a boil and them simmer for 30 minutes.
There has been a lot of buzz going around about Ball (Jarden Home Brands) changing their lids. They are now BPA free. Since making this change, so the information through the grapevine goes, the rubber seals are thinner and should not be simmered. However, after doing some research which amounted to looking on some of my older packages, calling Ball, and reading some trusted articles, the "change" in lid prep is not really a change.
I could not find any older packages that actually advised simmering your lids. Granted I don't have any packages going back more than 5 years so we're talking relatively recent history when it comes to canning, but even so it lead me to wonder if the BPA change had anything to do with not simmering lids. Digging a little deeper I found Theresa over at Living Home Grown wrote a great post on this subject. She goes into detail about BPA not being a factor in not simmering your lids.
While your beans are simmering wash your jars, lids and rings. Since I decided to do research on simmering lids I thought it was a great time to re-read everything on canning procedures. I follow the National Center For Home Food Preservation guidelines. In the past I have sterilized all my jars no matter what I am canning. This really is not a bad procedure because in doing this your jars are heated when the hot food goes into them. Then the jar and it's contents are heated when they go into the canner. However, sterilizing your jars is really not necessary unless you are water bath canning and the processing time is under 10 minutes. Sterilizing jars before pressure canning is not necessary because the temperatures in the pressure canner are high enough to sterilize your jars. So when I canned my beans, I did not sterilized my jars first.
Also go ahead and put your canner on the stove so it will simmer. You must use a pressure canner to safely can beans. I have an All-American 30qt so before I use it I always check it for safety. See how to do that here.
Add 1/2 t of salt to your jars. Here I am using pint jars. Use 1 t for quart jars.
Fill your jars. Do you like my fancy blue jars?
You can use the water you simmered your beans in, chicken stock or even vegetable stock for the liquid in your jars, but I used fresh water. Since I did not use vinegar when soaking my beans I wanted to reduce the phytic acid (I talk more about phytic acid here) as much as possible so using fresh water helped me accomplish that as the beans will continue to cook in the canner.
Make sure you get all your air bubbles out. I use this handy gadget because....
the other end helps me measure headspace, which should be 1 inch for beans.
Wipe the rims of your jars so you'll get a good seal.
Place the lids on.
Place the rings on and tighten finger tight. Finger tight means not too tight and not too loose. Just tighten them as far as they will go without forcing them.
Follow the directions for your pressure canner. I have an All-American 30 Qt Pressure Canner and I fill it up with 2 to 3 inches of water before placing the rack and the jars in the canner.
Here is my first layer.
Then I place the second rack over the first layer of jars and put the remaining jars in the canner.
Always tighten an All-American canner evenly.
In other words, tighten the screws on the opposite ends at the same time. Let the pressure canner vent for 7-10 minutes or the amount of time indicated by your canner's directions before putting on the regulator weight. Start your timer after the weight starts to jiggle. Pints should be process for 75 minutes and quarts for 90 minutes. You can find adjustments for altitude here. To look up your altitude go here.
Always remove the lid away from your face.
Remove all your jars. The jars on the bottom will be wet.
Label and put away!
Yup, it's that easy. What are you canning this week?