March 27, 2017

Home Canned Pork and Beans

I've been wanting to learn how to can dried beans for quite awhile now. I often have a pot of beans sitting on one of the wood stoves during winter, taking advantage of the wood heat for the long cooking time they require. But in summer, when I keep cooking to a  minimum, or when I need something quick and convenient, nothing beats simply opening a jar.

Canned black turtle beans from last year's garden.

This recipe comes from Daisy Luther's The Prepper's Canning Guide. (You can read my review of this book here.) My own recipe notes follow.

Basic Pork and Beans

5 lbs dried beans (any sort)
1 - 2 lbs ham, bacon, or salt pork (optional)
salt (optional)
6 small onions, halved
6 cups water or broth
12 bay leaves

Wash and sort dried beans. Soak in hot water at least 2 hours or overnight. Discard soaking water, add fresh water and bring to a boil. Drain the beans again, reserving the cooking water. Distribute the pork in the sterile jars. Add the soaked beans, filling the jar no more than 3/4 full.

Filling only 3/4 full allows room for the beans to
expand as they cook during the canning process.

Add salt, bay leaves, and onion. Ladle boiling water or broth over beans, leaving 1.5 inches of headspace. The broth must cover the beans and there must be enough room for the beans to expand during pressure canning.

Black beans make a dark broth, don't they? An inch &
a half is more headspace than I'm used to so I measured
and adjusted the liquid to see what it looked like.

Secure lids and process in pressure canner at 10 lbs pressure (adjusted for altitude): 75 minutes for pints, 90 minutes for quarts. Makes 7 quarts.

Recipe Notes
  • Soaking. I've read that some folks skip the soaking and put them in the jar dry, but this results in partially cooked canned beans. If that's what one is used to and willing to finish the cooking after opening the jar, no problem. I'd rather have something ready to heat and eat, so this was an important step for me. It didn't add any work, just time.
  • When I do a shorter soak (a couple of hours instead of overnight), I like to first bring the beans and water to a boil. I find this helps with the cooking time.
  • Soaking water. It's discarded because it contains the undigestible starches in the beans that give you gas! Use it to water plants or feed it to the pigs (who don't are about gas). Rinse the beans and cook in fresh water or broth. (Not being able to discard the soaking water would be another disadvantage to the no-soak method of canning beans. You'd end up with gassy beans!)
  • Salt is optional because some people like to salt after they open the jar. I add salt when I'm canning. This is a prepper thing for me; salt may not be readily available in a hard-times situation, so I like my canned foods with just enough salt to not need any more. 
  • Headspace. All of my jars' contents were low, like in the first photo, making me wonder if I could have done with less headspace. According to safety guidelines, 1 inch of headspace is usually left for starchy low acid pressure canned foods to allow for safe processing. In looking at recipes from other sources, I find one inch commonly recommended for dried beans. I didn't lose any liquid during processing, but I can't help but think a little extra broth wouldn't hurt and would ensure the beans remained completely covered in liquid during storage. 
  • Yield. I'm guessing this varies according to the type of bean. I only had about 3 pounds of dried turtle beans but still got 7 quarts.

One jar didn't seal so we had a chance to try them. They were perfect!

Scrambled eggs on a flour tortilla topped with black beans & sriracha sauce

I will mention that in terms of heating and serving, the amount of liquid in the jar was just right.

The whole process turned out to be much easier than I thought. Like bone broth, I think this makes for a good wintertime canning project! Now I'm ready to try some of the other canned bean recipes in Daisy's book!

Home Canned Pork and Beans © March 2017 

20 comments:

  1. Fascinating; I had no idea you could home-can beans! I have a pressure canner I've never used; I really should press it into service....

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    1. Michelle, I love my pressure canner!

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  2. I've noticed some chilli beans and other recipes floating around Youtube, for canning purposes. I think I'd like the chilli beans. :)

    I'm glad it worked for you, and tasted like it was worth the effort. That's always the best part.

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    1. Aldi's mild chili beans is a store-bought staple in my pantry, so a similar recipe would be wonderful to have on hand as well! I'll have to check out Youtube!

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    2. Linda's pantry on Youtube, had one on canned Chilli beans here She also does a review on the pre-cooked version, and the dry bean version. That should pop up, on the side.

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    3. Thank you! I have found these to be very versatile and I reach for them a lot. The Aldi version is tasty and reasonably priced, but home canned would be so much better.

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  3. You have me wanting to get that book and see what recipes I can try out this year other than green beans, tomatoes, pickles and salsa. You also made me hungry! :-)

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    1. Tomatoes, green beans, pickles, and salsa are pantry essentials! And if you enjoy canning, you will love experimenting with other kinds of foods, and love having them on your pantry shelves. I especially like to can soups, because they take advantage of all the small amounts of veggies that aren't enough to make a canner load by themselves. We love them in winter and eat a lot more homegrown food that way.

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  4. I love pork and beans!! That with a freshly toasted piece of bread loaded with butter and I'm in heaven lol...your tortilla looks so delicious! I'm with you, in the heat of the summer, I would love to just open a jar or reheat something I've put in the freezer rather than cook.

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    1. My favorite cooking method for summer is my solar oven! No heating up the house. :)

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  5. I can my beans un-soaked, either by themselves or as part of a meal. Pork chili verde is one of my favorites - I chunk up raw pork tenderloin when it's on sale, pour dry pinto beans on top & fill the jar with green enchilada sauce. A trip through the canner and I am set for several meals. Love my pressure canner!

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    1. That sounds delicious! Will definitely have to try that. Thanks for the idea!

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  6. I "learned" about canning beans about a year ago and really enjoy the convenience of having a bowl of bean soup whenever I want without two day's notice!

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    1. Bean soup! Yummy! And it's true about that two day notice. That often deters me from even getting them started.

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  7. I guess I've never thought of making pork & beans with black beans before. I've always made it with kidney beans. Learn something new every day.

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    1. I just used what I had! But I thought that the store-bought kind was made from navy beans (???). I also have a large stash of pinto beans, so I will likely be doing something with them next.

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  8. The more you post the braver I get! LOL! Especially with that great book and the beans looked like they wouldn't be too difficult at all. I so appreciate you taking the time to walk through the entire process too. Thank you!

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    1. Really, it was so much easier than I thought it would be. I know you can do it too!

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  9. That looks delish! I love huevos con other stuff. I will try beans today! I have my flour tortillas out already...

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    1. You will be glad you did! They turned out absolutely perfect and are mentally opening up a whole new world of convenience foods for me. :)

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