I love the economy of dried beans. I love being able to know exactly what ingredients went into my dishes. The only problem is that I am terrible at setting them out ahead of time to rehydrate and cook them in time for the meals at which I’d like to serve them. I just don’t have that kind of organization in my meal preparation! And recently, I discovered that I am not the only one, so I’m sharing my method of pressure canning dry beans.
Why Pressure Canning Dry Beans is Helpful
To work around this known deficiency of mine, I find that it is easier to do all the work for dried beans at one time and have several meals worth available.
Pressure canning is the solution to my woes!
I shared recently on social media that I was spending the day working on pressure canning dry beans so that I’d have them ready in advance, and I found that several of my friends also have a love/hate relationship with dehydrated legumes. So today I will share with you my canning process for the pre-meal preparation of dried beans in the hopes that it will also help others.
How to Can Dry Beans
I start by purchasing a large amount of beans. Go big or go home, right? If you’re putting forth the effort to do all the work of pressure canning, you might as well do a full canner load and go from there. The Ball Blue Book of Canning says that it takes 2.5 pounds of beans per quart, so I started off with about 9.5 pounds of beans thinking I’d maybe get close to a full canner load.
Boy, was I wrong.
I ended up with 7 quarts in the pressure canner (a full canner load) plus five quarts that I refrigerated/froze. So yeah, use 5 pounds of beans. When I buy a large amount of beans, I generally head down to the GFS Marketplace in Fort Wayne. Other options include farmer’s markets, Costco, bulk stores (Three Rivers Coop in Fort Wayne probably has some in the bulk section, I’d bet), or even Aldi’s.
You can find dried beans at great prices, which is why they are worth the effort!
1) The First Step is to Rehydrate Your Beans
I used a giant stockpot – add your beans, fill with water to two inches above the top of the beans, set on the stove and boil for 30 minutes. Then you leave it set for an hour.
So here’s the problem that I ran into – my giant stockpot was not giant enough. As the beans rehydrated, they grew large (of course), and the pot ran out of room. I also found that two inches of water above the top of the beans was not sufficient.
For this amount of beans, I should’ve used my even BIGGER stockpot and filled it half full of beans and 2 inches from the top of the pot with water. If I had used only 5 pounds of beans, I would’ve had a full canner load (or close enough at least).
2) Strain the Beans
After your beans have soaked, you want to DUMP OUT THE WATER. Strain them. I promise you want to do this.
You know how beans have that really gnarly negative connotation because they make you gassy? Dumping out the water during the process is a great way to help avoid that particular gastric function. They won’t be toot-less, but they will produce less toots. Probably.
You weren’t going to just dump that luscious bean water down the sink were you? Let’s recycle some grey water here!
Bean water is an AMAZING water to reuse for your plants. Houseplants, container garden plants, trees, flower beds, vegetable gardens – they love bean water. If you’re not a fan of bean smell, you may not want to water your indoor plants with it as it may still smell like beans in your house the day… or two… later.
3) Boil the Beans
Return your beans to a very large stockpot and fill once more to two inches above the top of the beans. Now that they are rehydrated, this measurement works.
We are going to bring the beans back up to temperature by returning them to a boil. They will need to boil for half an hour.
4) Prepare Your Jars
At this time, if you don’t already have your jars prepared, you will need to get them ready. Although it is not required to sterilize jars when they will be in a pressure canner for over 10 minutes, I always sterilize my jars.
At the very least, you will need to have them hot so put them in a boiling water canner and get them up to a boil. For sterilization, they will need to be boiling (bubbles breaking over the tops of the jars) for 10 minutes.
5) Fill Jars with Beans
So the next step is to ladle your beans into your jar. You want to leave 1″ of headspace with beans AND water. You don’t can them dry, of course. I also add 1 tsp of Celtic sea salt to the top of my jars. I think I read that tip in the Ball Blue Book, but it’s hard to tell anymore.
Place them in your pressure canner and you’re almost done!
6) Pressure Can the Beans
Once you have all your jars filled, you will then pressure can at 10 pounds of pressure for 1 hour 30 minutes for quarts or 1 hour 15 minutes for pints.
In addition to waiting for the canner to vent, another one of my least favorite canning moments: