A Safe & Easy Guide to Canning Dried Beans.

I get it. You have no intention of canning dried beans. Neither did I until I did it. And now I never have to worry about soaking, boiling, preparing or preplanning having beans ever again.

A butcher block countertop with 3 mason jars filled with an array of interesting beans ready to be canned.First things first.  It’s VERY difficult to come up with elegant language to convincingly talk about the attributes of beans. The moment you mention beans people think of farting.  Not protein, or fibre or versatility or the myriad of other positives that beans have going for them.  

Just farts.

I figure if I address it right off the bat we can get those thoughts out of our heads and move on to the work at hand. Canning dried beans.   I know.  I’m still thinking of farts too.  Just keep reading and I promise the thoughts of gas will pass.

I guess now is as good a time as any to let you know I’ve already misled you a little bit. You won’t have to deal with preplanning having beans, except of course the one time when you can them

I promise from here on I will be a straight shooter though. 

Whenever I can stuff I try to find my information on best practices from extension offices and the National Centre for Home Food Preservation because they are science based and repeated tested by smart people. Which is where I gleaned this method from.

You can also use reputable canning books like The Ball Book of Canning and Preserving or The Complete Book of Home Canning by The United States Department of Agriculture.


Canning is NOT like a 1970’s key party, tinged with the scent of Charlie and regret. There is no fooling around. 

Always follow the rules or you might die. 


How to Can Dried Beans

You can do this with home grown dry beans or ones you buy in a bag at the grocery store. 

The canner I use is this weighted gauge pressure canner by Mirro. 

Several antique glass mason jars filled with heirloom bean varieties including yellow and white Zuni golds.

above, Zuni Gold bean.

  • Gather up your dried beans (making sure to set aside enough of them for planting next year if you haven’t already done that.)

Heirloom dried beans in bowls running across an old white marble candy counter.

  • Dump each variety (if using multiple) into a bowl.

Soaking dried Orca beans, also known as yin yang or calypso beans prior to canning them

Orca beans, also known as Calypso or Yin/Yang.

  •  Soak in water overnight for a minimum of 12 hours.

Zuni gold beans soaking in water in a Pyrex bowl.

If you’re interested in some of the bean varieties I grow and how to make a reallyyyyy easy, reallyyyy good bean salad I show you both things in this post. 

A white enamel colander filled with drained and rinsed black beans.

  • After the 12-18 hours of soaking, drain and rinse the beans. They’ll have plumped up but will still be pretty hard.

Dumping a colander of presoaked Zuni Gold beans into a large copper pot for boiling.

  • Put your beans into individual pots (if doing more than 1 type), cover with water and boil for 30 minutes.

A copper pot filled with black beans simmering to soften them prior to canning.

  • Keep an eye on the water, the beans will soak up a lot and you need to have a lot of water left in the pot when they’re done cooking because that’s the liquid you’re going to use for canning them.  Just top up the water when you see it getting low as the beans boil for 30 minutes.

*** Some people forego the 30 minute boil, and just let the beans come to a boil before canning them ***

A small mason jar filled with black beans and some cooking liquid ready to be pressure canned.

  • Add 1/2 tsp. salt per pint (  ) jar or 1 tsp per quart ( ).  The salt is optional & isn’t necessary for preservation. 

Mason jar on a butcher block counter filled with black beans and cooking liquid to within 1" of the rim.

  • Fill each jar with beans and liquid to within 1″ of the rim.  You HAVE to  leave 1″ of head space This is more room than you might be used to leaving if you can regularly. The beans expand and go nuts during the processing and if you have too much water or beans in the jar you risk your liquid getting sucked right out of the jar during canning leaving you with a bunch of beans but no liquid in your jar.

Stacked jars of home canned beans in front of a sunny window with flowers in behind.

You can see here that I lost some of my liquid, but not enough to make it worrisome.  

  • Process in a pressure canner (not a hot water bath!) according to the times and pressures below.

IF YOU LOSE MORE THAN 1/2 OF YOUR LIQUID STORE THE BEANS IN THE FRIDGE.

This is a precautionary best practice.

 

CANNING BEANS – DIAL GAUGE PRESSURE CANNER
  Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time 0 – 2,000 ft 2,001 – 4,000 ft 4,001 – 6,000 ft 6,001 – 8,000 ft
Hot Pints 75 min 11 lb 12 lb 13 lb 14 lb
Quarts 90 11 12 13 14
CANNING BEANS – WEIGHTED-GAUGE PRESSURE CANNER 
  Canner pressure (PSI)
at Altitudes of
Style of pack Jar Size Process Time 0 – 1,000 ft Above 1,000 ft
Hot Pints 75 min 10 lb 15 lb
Quarts 90 10 15

I cooked all of my beans separately and then mixed them in the jars. I made a “chili mix” with beans that I like for making chili con carne, a mix for bean salad and then jars of only black beans for making black bean soup and refried beans.

Canning Dry Beans

Always have beans on hand and ready to go by canning your home grown or store bought dried beans.
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Course: Canning/Preserves
Prep Time: 12 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Processing time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Author: Karen Bertelsen

Ingredients

  • dry beans
  • salt optional

Instructions

  • Gather up your dried beans (making sure to set aside enough of them for planting next year if you haven’t already done that.)
  • If you want to can them separately, dump each variety into their own bowl. Otherwise you can soak them all together.
  • Fill bowls with water and let soak for 12-18 hours.
  • After the 12-18 hours of soaking, drain and rinse the beans. They’ll have plumped up but will still be pretty hard.
  • If canning separately, put your beans into individual pots (if doing more than 1 type), cover with water and boil for 30 minutes. Otherwise you can boil them all together.*
  • Keep an eye on the water, the beans will soak up a lot and you need to have a lot of water left in the pot when they’re done cooking because that’s the liquid you’re going to use for canning them.  Just top up the water when you see it getting low as the beans boil for 30 minutes.
  • Add 1/2 tsp. salt per pint ( 2 cups ) jar or 1 tsp per quart (4 cups ).  The salt is optional & isn’t necessary for preservation.**
  • Fill each jar with beans & liquid to within 1″ of the rim.  You HAVE to  leave 1″ of head space This is more room than you might be used to leaving if you can regularly. Leaving less head space you'll risk loss of liquid while canning.
  • Process in a pressure canner (not a hot water bath!) according to the times and pressures below in notes.

Notes

*Some people only bring the beans to a boil and don't let them continue to boil for 30 minutes before canning them. This produces a less mushy bean. Stick with the 30 minute boil if your goal is refried beans because mushy is good for those.
**Salt is optional and just for flavour. You can leave it out if you like.
CANNING BEANS – DIAL GAUGE PRESSURE CANNER
  Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time 0 – 2,000 ft 2,001 – 4,000 ft 4,001 – 6,000 ft 6,001 – 8,000 ft
Hot Pints 75 min 11 lb 12 lb 13 lb 14 lb
Quarts 90 11 12 13 14
CANNING BEANS – WEIGHTED-GAUGE PRESSURE CANNER 
  Canner pressure (PSI)
at Altitudes of
Style of pack Jar Size Process Time 0 – 1,000 ft Above 1,000 ft
Hot Pints 75 min 10 lb 15 lb
Quarts 90 10 15

SOME QUESTIONS YOU PROBABLY HAVE

Do dried beans ever go bad??  Nope. They do not. They’ll keep indefinitely as long as they’re kept dry. Older dried beans (2 years or older) will need to be cooked slightly longer to soften them up.

Yeah, but what would I use them in? Dried beans can be used in chili, to make baked beans, and my favourite quick lunch Easy Bean Salad with feta cheese. 

Are beans good for you? Beyond the fun of the farting. You betcha. Beans are full of protein and fibre. In order of the amount of protein per cup of cooked beans:

  1. soybeans – 31.32 grams
  2. kidney beans – 15.35 grams
  3. black beans – 15.24 grams
  4. navy beans – 14.98 grams
  5. chick peas – 14.53 grams

What’s the ratio of dried beans to cooked beans? Dried beans double in volume once cooked. 1 cup of dried beans will become 2 cups of cooked beans for example.

 

One last thing …

What happens when you make a bean & onion casserole?

– Tear gas.

 
 

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A Safe &  Easy  Guide to Canning Dried Beans.