We eat a lot of black beans. Enough that when I started canning I thought “If I can can these at home, I wouldn’t have to buy a new can every week at the grocery store.”
As it turns out, my thought process was right on the money. Literally. Canning dried beans is easy, and I put up 7 pints for $2.70. One can of black beans at the grocery store costs $1.00. I already saved money.
Unseasoned Black Beans
- 2 Lb. black beans (or any dried beans you want to keep on hand)
You will also need pint jars, lids, and screw bands, plus a pressure canner and a few stockpots. Your stove will be busy.
Step 1: Pour dried beans into a stock pot. Cover with 3 inches of water.
Bring to a boil. Once at a boil, remove from the burner and let the beans soak for 1 hour. (I feel compelled to mention that, from start to finish, this process takes several hours. I did this on a cloudy, rainy evening I had to myself).
Step 2: After the beans have soaked, rinse them in a colander and drain them. Place the beans back into the stock pot and cover with more water (3 inches again).
Step 3: Bring the rinsed beans to a boil, and boil them for 30 minutes. After about 15 minutes, heat your cleaned lids in a simmering saucepan. Heat your cleaned jars in another stock pot. Fill your pressure canner with a few inches of water (consult the canner’s instructions) and the canning rack and heat on medium heat.
This is the point at which you will be running all four burners. Don’t worry; it’s not as crazy as it looks.
Step 4: Once the beans have boiled for 30 minutes, turn off the heat. Remove the hot jars from the water bath and place on a towel. Fill the jars with beans, leaving 1″ headspace. If you want, you can now add 1/2 tsp. of salt to each jar. I did not, because I’d rather season while cooking.
Step 5: Once all the jars are filled, ladel hot bean broth into the jars, maintaining the 1″ headspace. Run a non-metallic spatula around the inside of the jar to remove air bubbles. Wipe the rims of the jars and, using a lid lifter, place the lids on the jars. Screw on the bands just until fingertip-tight.
Step 6: Using a jar lifter, place filled, capped jars into the heated pressure canner. (at this point, the only burner on the stove that’s running should be under the canner. See, it didn’t last long.)
Step 7: Close and seal the canner, without the gauge on the valve. Vent the canner (let steam be emitted in a steady stream from the valve for 10 minutes).
Step 8: Once the canner has vented for 10 minutes, replace the gauge and wait for the canner to pressurize. Pressure has been reached when the gauge begins to rock steadily back and forth (consult your canner’s manual for specific gauge motion). Once the steady rocking begins, set the timer for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Adjust the heat under the canner if necessary to maintain pressure.
Step 9: Find something quiet to watch on TV and keep an ear open to the sound of the rocking gauge. If the speed changes, adjust the heat accordingly. If the rocking stops completely, adjust the temperature until it begins again, and start the processing time over again.
Step 10: Once the processing has continued uninterrupted for the allotted time, remove the canner from the heat. Let it de-pressurize naturally (mine has a lid lock that drops once the pressure has equalized). Once it has de-pressurized, remove the gauge and wait 10 minutes.
Step 11: After 10 minutes, remove the lid, tilting it away from you as you lift it (seriously, that steam is hot). Remove the jars using a jar lifter, and place on a towel in an out-of-the-way spot.
The liquid inside the jars will most likely continue to bubble for quite a while after they are removed. Often, the screw bands will be loose on the jars. The bubbling is fine and will eventually stop, and it is important not to re-tighten loose screw bands, as this will ruin the seal. Learn from my mistakes and trepidation, folks.
After cooling for 24 hours, check the seal. If they are properly sealed, label and place in your pantry. If they are not sealed, you can empty contents into a saucepan, reheat to boiling, and reprocess. Or make a batch of nachos with the unsealed jars immediately.
We use black beans for a lot of things; from stuffed peppers, to nachos, to salads. Now I know where my beans came from, how they were processed, and how long they have been shelved. I like this kind of security in my processed foods.