Monday, February 11, 2013

Canning Dried Beans

If you have a pressure canner, dried beans are one of the easiest things to can. Since most of my canning is done in the hot summer, I enjoy doing some canning in the winter to warm up my kitchen.

Besides the cost of electricity (which isn't much with a pressure canner) and lids, the cost of beans is very little. To make nine pint jars of beans, I paid $2.50 for the beans.

I have canned pinto, navy, great northern, and kidney beans. You can even mix beans. Just be careful NOT to fill the jars very full of beans because they will swell with cooking.


To can dried beans -
Sort through your beans to make sure there are not pebbles. Measure 1/2 cup of dried beans into pint jars. Add 1/2 tsp salt per pint jar.

 

Fill up with water just to the neck.

Place boiled lids on jars and screw rings on tightly.

Place in pressure canner and follow directions for your canner.

Pressure can at 11 lb pressure for 40 minutes for pint jars. (If using quart jars, can for 50 minutes.) As beans cook, they will absorb the water and fill the jar.



Note: According to some experts, beans should be cooked before canning. My mom always canned her beans when dry and I have done so for years, but use this recipe at your own risk.

Do NOT can beans without a pressure canner. Beans are a low acid vegetable and can not be safely canned in boiling water.

Edit to add: In the comments some readers mention that beans should be canned for a longer time than I list. I am only sharing my personal experience. This is the way my mom and I have canned beans successfully for years. But this method is not recommended by the experts so use these directions at your own risk.

102 comments :

  1. what a well timed post - I just got a pressure canner for christmas and I was JUST thinking about doing beans since I think that would really help me use them more often (as I sometimes don't plan ahead quite enough by soaking). Thanks!!

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    1. Yes, me too. On the not planning ahead!
      Gina

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    2. Yes,I would like to echo Stephanies comment! I am very excited about this. Additionally, we have frito pies (a texas dish which I think for me a non Texan took a while to get used to...corn chips covered with chili, cheese & onions) as an emergency dish and I often by canned chili raising the price considerably but now I'll be able to make it for less then a 1/10 of the cost! Thanks!! Kyle

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  2. I canned pintos just last week! I've never tried your method...I soak mine overnight and then can. These are delicious! I really enjoy your blog!

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  3. I've been canning beans, also! I like to soak them in kefir water for 24 hrs, to help them start sprouting. I measure the amount before soaking, according to how many jars I plan to fill. I'm not sure if that soaking step is needed when canning or not.
    These are so handy to have on the shelves, and economical!

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  4. I have always wanted to can dry beans. When you open them, are the beans soft? I guess I'm wondering if they will be like commercial canned beans.

    Since you add 1/2 cup of beans to pint jars, do you recommend a whole cup for quart jars?

    Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. I've never canned beans by the quart but I would expect that 1 cup would be good.

      I find that they taste identical to commercial canned beans.
      Gina

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    2. process pints for 75 minutes & quarts 90 minutes

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  5. I've canned dried beans for several years now and have never had any problems with it - except for canning a pebble now and then! It's one of the easiest, least labor-intensive things to can and I love having the beans on hand. Mary Beth

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    Replies
    1. I agree. Every time I can beans, I can't believe how simple and fast it is.
      Gina

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  6. I tried canning some baked beans this way following a recipe, but the beans were not as tender as we like. The next batch I canned, I slightly cooked and we've been enjoying them. I can't think of a better convenience food to have on hand.

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  7. Hi Gina,
    What an interesting coincidence. I was just canning small red beans, black beans and lentils today! :-) I want to use the red and black beans to can up a batch of taco soup tomorrow so I usually start the day before by canning the beans I need for it.
    God bless you
    Marcia

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    Replies
    1. Lentils!?!? I have never thought to can Lentils. Do you cook first? Follow the above steps!?!? PLEASE share!

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    2. Alyssa, lentils cook up so much faster than dried beans of other kinds. So, I would think you would not have to cook them first. I can see putting your garlic, onion, whatever you want to spice with, in the jar with the dried lentils and putting them in the canner. But, I have not tried it yet. Just thinking out loud. :)

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  8. I have been wanting to do this for a while and I love the thought of canning them dry, so simple! I think I might have to do some next week when I have some time. My husband LOVES "soup beans" so this would add something else to his lunch menu, and as you said one less thing to do when canning season is so busy.

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  9. This is a great post. This is how I do mine as well, with one exception. Beans should be canned per meat canning times for safety...75 min/pint and 90 min/qt. They are still just as yummy. Thanks for posting :)

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  10. I think you may have just changed my life. I had no idea it was this easy! I love the convenience of canned beans, but not the price and I worry what commercial cans are leaching into the food. I'll worry no more! Thank you, Gina!

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  11. That's interesting. I've always canned mine in boiling water for 3 hours since I don't have a pressure canner. I assume the only safely concern would be that they would not seal. I do add 1T per pint of lemon juice to make sure they get soft. And I've never had a problem with them unsealing or spoiling.

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    1. Boiling water does not get hot enough (212 degrees) to kill botulism (248 degrees) and neither does the lemon in the water provide enough acid. You need to use a pressure canner for the temperature to get hot enough and because beans are dense you need to use the longer time specified to be sure the middle of the jar gets to that temperature. There is botulism in the soil. And just because a bottle seals that does not mean it is safe. The seal may keep germs out but the ones inside are still there and botulism grows in low oxygen situations. Don't risk your family.

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  12. Hi Gina- thanks for this post. My friend and I are going to try this next week. One question, do you know if RealSalt can be used for canning? Thank you
    Teresa

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    Replies
    1. Teresa -
      Good question. And I'm really not sure. I think I've used it before myself, but never really took notice of what kind of salt I was using!
      Sorry I'm not more of a help!
      Gina

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    2. Yes, you can use real salt in canning. That's all I use anymore because of allergies. I've never found anything that real salt can't be used for.

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    3. Gina/Paige-
      Thanks so much for the information!
      Teresa

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    4. You can just do them with beans and water. Salt is purely for flavor only and does not help preserve the beans.

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  13. Ha! I also just mentioned to hubby the other day that I would like to research how to can beans, and this looks very do-able! Have you ever canned some in a sauce right away (like a tomato/bbq sauce) ?

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    Replies
    1. I have tried canning them in sauce but don't have it quite right yet. I'll keep experimenting and let you all know when I have a recipe I like!
      Gina

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    2. I have a recipe that tastes like Van Camps (but not mushy like Van Camps)
      Also doing Bushs beans, very tasty.

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  14. Definately going to try this! Do you have a good refried bean recipe?

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    Replies
    1. I don't really use a recipe. I just mash the beans with garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin until they are the way I like them.
      Gina

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  15. Have never pressure canned before but received one for Christmas. This sounds like a wonderful way to start. Question: Could spices be added to brown beans to make chili beans? If so, what is a good combination of spices?

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    1. I have tried adding spices before canning, but somehow I think they don't have much flavor left when I open the jar. I prefer to add spices later.
      Gina

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    2. I like your way I think better than mine because I've been soaking mine and then cooking them for 30 minutes before adding them to the jars. I have some health challenges and if I soak them overnight and then get up the next morning exhausted then I HAVE to tend to the beans anyway and it makes it VERY stressful for me. I think I am going to try it your way and pressure can a bit longer. Thank you for sharing your recipe. I know your canned venison recipe is AWESOME along with your beef soup and the chicken soup. Canned all three of those and was WELL pleased with them. One of the soups taste just like the canned soup in the cans called vegetable soup. I LOVE that one!!!! Thank you again Gina!!!

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  16. Hi! I just found your blog a couple days ago when searching for a new bread recipe. I've so enjoyed your posts and can't wait to explore older posts... in my spare time! :)I was especially interested in your post on canning dried beans. I've done a lot of canning the last couple of years but had never even heard of canning dried beans. I know others have asked similar questions, but canning the beans without soaking them first really gets them soft enough without requiring further cooking after opening the jar? And I wanted to specifically ask if lentils work this way as well? I'm so excited to try this as I've started getting the "canning itch" and this is a perfect opportunity to do some of it during the winter months and heat the kitchen up as you suggested! Thanks for your posts- I've just subscribed and look forward to being here!

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    Replies
    1. It does get them soft. But you try it and see how it works for you and your pressure canner. You could always soak them if you wanted them softer. Personally, I don't like when beans are cooked to mush so like this method.

      I have never tried lentils. I don't know why they wouldn't work.
      Gina

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  17. Hi Gina:
    Just finished eating a "can" of lima beans that I put up yesterday... I am very happy with the results! I usually don't care for store-canned limas -- prefering the little bright green frozen baby limas -- but my husband grew the dried that I have and thought I'd experiment. I cooked them up with tad more salt (will use bit more next time in processing), ground pepper, a tablespoon butter, and a couple cut-up pieces of crispy bacon. Terrific! I thought that since limas are at the top of the canned bean price list, I am "smart" 8~D to have these home canned beans in my pantry. Thanks for the way you described the process to seem so easy to do. It was! Next I'll try kidney beans...

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  18. I'm not sure that 40 minutes is enough time to process. Of 4 canning books I own (including Balls blue book) it says 75 minutes for pints and 90 minutes quarts. Beans are one of the most dangerous to can, so please be cautious-botulism can be fatal-and has no odor or notable appearance...

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  19. The Ball Blue Book indicates that 75 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for quarts is needed for canning dried beans. I've canned dried beans by that recipe before, and never had an issue. I don't like having to cook the beans first, so I may try the dry-pack method (how much easier can you get?), but I'll process them according to the times in the Ball book. The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is not complete on this topic....it doesn't even address the topic of dried beans. Thank you for your recipe!

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    1. Yes, it should be 75 min/90 minutes for pints/quarts. I have canned beans only twice; first was presoaking and second was the "dry" method. I found that pre-soaking results in more broken and mushy beans than putting them in dry, then adding the boiling water. They get cooked while canning, much like when you use a pressure cooker. Soaking is just one unnecessary step that leads to an overcooked outcome.

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  20. New to canning and have a newbie type question to ask: I notice in the picture that the finished beans are not completely covered with liquid. Do you need to turn the jars from time to time?

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    1. Sometimes some of the water cooks out during canning, such as is in the photo. I do not turn the jars and the beans are fine like this.
      Gina

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    2. The pressure is what keeps the beans edible, not the liquid they are covered in. If you're concerned with them drying out, don't be. There's nowhere for the moisture to go once the cans have sealed. They're completely fine. Happy canning!

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  21. I will be canning my first beans today. I appreciate your gracious acceptance of others thoughts and opinions on cooking times ect. It's great to have the opinions of so many to make informed decisions on storing food! Thank you for the wonderful post!

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  22. Do you suppose garbanzo beans (chickpeas) could be canned in the manner? They are just a dried bean, but I'd love to have the convenience (and cost savings) and make my own hummus.

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    Replies
    1. Diana- I have never tried it. But you probably could. Give it a try!
      Gina

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  23. Tomorrow is the day I am going to mix dark red kidney, pinto, and red kidney beans for chili. If this works I will be canning all kinds of beans.

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  24. Well I made the decision to put on cup of beans in each jar. I then filled each jar with hot water and soaked overnight. The next morning I rinsed them. I did pressure can for the full 90 minutes like all the books said to do. Next time I will not soak them. They look a little mushy and several beans have fallen apart. I am sure the taste will be fine. Trial and error. Don't soak the beans.

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  25. I always can my beans dry like this. I do use the longer processing times (75 for pints, 90 for quarts). I did a blog post a few years ago & have answered a few questions there: http://caitlinwilhelm.blogspot.com/2009/02/canning-beans.html

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  26. I've tried canning beans according to your directions a few times. I love the convenience of the method, but my beans tend to split during canning, which is fine for refried beans, but not so great for soups, etc... any idea what I might be doing wrong?

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    Replies
    1. Elysa -
      I'm not sure what to suggest. I sometimes have a few beans that split, but not many. If you find something that helps, please let me know so I can share it with others.
      Gina

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  27. What's the shelf life? Thanks :)

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  28. I think you need to correct your time in your post. I canned these yesterday and then realized that the time should have been longer. Now I either have to re-can them or freeze them.

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    1. Kristine -
      I am sorry about that. I only am sharing my experience. This is how my mom and I have canned beans for many years with success. But maybe I should add a note that others use a longer time.
      Gina

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  29. Hi! I was just wondering if it's ok that not all of my beans are submerged in liquid after processing. Thanks!

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    1. Yes. You don't want to have lots of beans unsubmerged but if there is a few that are not under the liquid, it is fine.
      Gina

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  30. I am getting back into caning after about 30 years. I have a new pressure caner and have done a lot of research. I noticed you said to screw the rings on tightly; however, everything I remember and have found says to screw them on finger tight. Was this a typo or do you really mean to tighten the rings down? What is the rationale for screwing them down tight? Is it to keep the water in the jars? Thank you for your response.

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    1. Sorry for the confusion. When I say "screw tight" I mean as tight as can easily be done with your fingers. You only want them tight enough to hold the jar flat close enough to the jar top to make a good seal. Maybe you were imagining me getting out my husband's tools to tighten down the rings but that is not what I meant. Just screw it with your hands until it is snug.

      Best wishes to your canning endeavor!
      Gina

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    2. I have noticed that women's grip is significantly less than that of a mans. So...finger tight for them, we could hardly get them off. lol

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  31. I want to can in 1/2 pints but cannot find times for anything other than pints and quarts. I like to add beans to my soups and there are only two of us.

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    1. I would just can for the same amount of time as a pint.
      Gina

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  32. could I totally cook and season the beans and then can them for easy meals

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  33. I bought salt pork to put in the jars when I can my dried beans-is it really necessary?

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    1. I have never added salt pork. I would hesitate to add meat because then it should be canned longer.
      Gina

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    2. Thank you Gina.I'll save the meat for something else.

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    3. I have canned meat for years and 90 mins is the required time.

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  34. I canned 14 pints of red kidney beans last night with this recipe and they turned out wonderful, but I did cook them for 75 min.

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  35. I'm new to canning beans and really enjoying it. I do have a question about black beans. They're brown now that they've been canned. Is this normal? Store bought black beans are black. . . . I'm definitely going to give your "dry bean" method a try! How wonderful to eliminate the soaking and cooking before canning!

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    1. Yes, that's normal. Storebought kidney beans are also a much deeper red than homecooked/canned. I'm not sure what the scientific reason is though!

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  36. I just tried this earlier this week! I like it so much better than the having to soak first, because I don't have time for that and it tends to make the beans mush by the time they're done. Thanks for sharing!

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  37. how much beans would you add to a quart jar?

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    1. Just double what you would use for a pint jar.

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    2. 1/2 c to a pint & a full c to a quart.

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  38. what am i doing wrong? my beans are all mushy n split n have lost almost all of their water?

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    Replies
    1. I don't know. Did you pressure canner get too high of pressure?
      Gina

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  39. i guess i had some of them in jars overnight because i didnt get done yesterday, but why the loss of water?

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  40. When I'm ready to eat these do I have to boil them for 10 or 15 minutes before eating like other canned food? Thank you

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    Replies
    1. I have never boiled any canned food - so I don't beans either.
      Gina

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    2. The only canned food that I've ever had to boil once opening was my ex's granny's green beans. She didn't blanch them, so they took forever to cook. But these beans will be just like ones that you get from the store in metal cans. Open jar, heat (or not) and eat.

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  41. We love canned pinto, navy, kidney - all the dried beans. But it was such a pain, heating to boiling for two minutes and soaking for an hour and then finding out you didn't do enough for a canner load. But this method... THIS method is my new way to can dried beans. We were worried they would come out hard so we tried a quick 6 pint load and were amazed at how well they came out - they were perfectly cooked - not too soft or too hard. (We processed at 10 psi 65 min for pints, 75 for qts). Thank you so much!

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  42. I canned my homegrown beans by pressuring pints for an hour and fifteen minutes. A lot of my water escaped from the jars leaving some of the beans on top kinda dry. How can I prevent this and are they safe to eat?

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    1. The beans probably just absorbed the water. They should be safe to eat as long as the jar stays sealed.
      Gina

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    2. Taking the jars out of the canner too soon can cause water loss when they hit change of temp air I now let them cool longer before I remove the lid and they loose less water through siphoning.

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  43. Hi Gina- so glad I came across your post about canning beans- I just did my first batch last night and they came out all split, broken and mushy. And like a few mentioned above- a lot l water seemed to be "missing". I'm new to pressure canning and I admit it makes me so nervous. I did soak them for 24 hours before hand to break down some of the enzymes that wreak havoc on our digestive system (other bloggers recommended it too for that reason). I was thinking that the 90 minutes on top of all the time it takes to heat the pot up to release steam, get to pressure (for me takes about 30 minutes) making the whole processing to "cook" more like 2 hours plus cool down time- it just seems like a lot to cook beans just to have them all turn to mush. I will have to try the completely dry method you have done and see how it comes out by comparison. I just have always soaked my beans to make them digestible. Woul you ever add lemon juice to your dried beans while canning? I'm wondering if that would do the same thing as soaking them first in lemon water?

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    1. I agree with you that the long soaking time plus pressure canning was too much for the beans. And like you, I was once very nervous about using a pressure canner.

      I have heard of others who soak beans, I have just never tried it. My family has never had any noticeable ill affect to digesting beans so I never pursued learning more about it. I don't know if adding lemon juice while canning would be a good option or not.
      Gina

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  44. If the black beans are cooked and seasoned, are they processed for the same amount of time??

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    Replies
    1. Hmmm...I'm not sure. Check a canning book.
      Gina

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  45. I've come back to your blog several times to 'remember' volumes/jar. Thank you for sharing this:)

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  46. Since this in a non USDA sanctioned canning method, I'm glad you have posted it so I can look up the ratios and time. Thanks

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  47. My first go around with red kidney beans turned out pretty mushy. I am excited to try again with no soaking ahead of time. I also add halved jalapenos to my pinto beans in the jars I want to use for refried beans. So much more flavorful. :)

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    Replies
    1. I'm going to try adding a Jalapeno, garlic, and onion to my beans for refried beans.

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  48. do you boil the jars after washing them

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    Replies
    1. I don't. I know that it is often recommended to boil your jars but I figure they get boiled very well during the canning process.
      Gina

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  49. I have been canning dry beans for a few years using this method. The recipe I follow is for quart jars and calls for a scant 1 1/2 cups of dry beans per jar. I use pint jars (20 at a time in a large canner), so have been using a scant 3/4 cup beans. Instructions for quarts is 90 minutes and I could tell that was too long for pints (can use old beans, though, and they still come out soft 😉). Ran across your post when searching for a more accurate cooking time. Great blog! Will try the time you use.

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  50. Replies
    1. I put cold water in the jars.
      Gina

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  51. You mentioned you add spices to some jars for Refried... what do you use? Thanks!

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    1. Onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder and cumin.
      Gina

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  52. Hey Gina! I just found your blog a couple of weeks ago, and I had never heard of your method for dry canning beans. I canned 30 of the pints we were doing after soaking overnight, then decided to try six additional black beans using your method. The next day, we opened two of them to make black bean dip and they were WONDERFUL!!!! They were soft, tasty and a little salty. They were as excellent as the ones we had taken so much time to soak. Thank you for making my life easier...

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