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Food Storage Tips: How (and why) to can beans

I apologize for the extended break I’ve taken from writing for this blog! I hope to get going with more regular posts.

I’ve been meaning to write a post about canning beans. Dry beans store well, but they can be difficult to use. Most recipes require you to soak the beans the night before, which requires some planning ahead. But you can convert your dry beans into canned beans through use of the pressure cooker!

About a month ago, Kim at All about Food Storage posted about how to can beans. The way she does it is the way I (and many of my friends) can beans: place about 1 1/4 cups of dry beans into the quart jar, add 1 teaspoon salt, fill to the top (leaving 1 inch head space) with water, and process for 90 minutes in a pressure cooker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s a very easy way to prepare dry beans, and the beans come out soft and delicious. The processing cooks the beans.

However, that isn’t the official recommendation. The official recipe for canning beans, which you will find in the Ball Blue Book and from the extension service, is that you first soak the beans overnight and then boil them for 30 minutes, and then fill the jars.

I want to note the official recipe so you can make an informed decision. I have never boiled the beans first. 90 minutes in a pressure cooker is a very long time. I would think that would be enough time for the heat to kill off any bad bacteria, but that is only my unscientific opinion. If you wanted to be extra careful but still use this method of canning beans, you could increase the processing time to 120 minutes. Beans cook in about 30 minutes in a pressure cooker, so by adding the bean cooking time (30 minutes) onto the processing time (90 minutes), the beans would have had the same amount of cooking recommended by the official source.

With canned beans available, it is quick and easy to throw together a dinner of chili, taco soup, or burritos.

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