My very best friend is in town. She is expecting her second adorable munchkin, and works full time. We were talking about ways to make good, wholesome meals for a family on a short amount of time. Canning Evangelist (yours truly) saw this as a wonderful opportunity to share the wonders of canning, and how working for about two days a month could produce a lot of ready-made meals. She was most intrigued at the idea of shredded chicken.
So, she came over and I canned some dried beans with tomato sauce, and some beef that I raw packed (only things I had in the house that were easily canned).
After we were done, she says, “this was it???? I thought it would be harder!”
I really recommend that if you are nervous about using a pressure canner to find someone who uses them and pay him or her a visit. Once you see it run through once, you won’t be afraid anymore. It is super easy.
So, after a little bit of work, we had seven pints of beans, and two pints of beef. The beef could be used in soup, or heated with a little flour to make a gravy and serve over rice, noodles, or mashed potatoes. My new favorite thing to do is to heat a pint of beef with the juice along with a half pint of onion chutney to make a French onion and beef soup. It is delicious.
I sent Dear Friend home with some of the beans, pear butter, salsa, and some strawberry preserves. A canning sampler. 🙂
Canning Dry Beans
I used mixed beans, but you can use any dried beans. cannellini, black beans, or pintos all work well.
Make sure you have clean jars. They do not need to be hot, as we are using dried beans. In your pressure canner, put in three quarts of water. Check the lid and make sure the gasket isn’t clogged (do this every time!)
In pints, measure in half a cup of dried beans. For quarts, use a full cup. DO NOT put more than this in the jar. Beans SWELL and you do not need little exploding bean grenades in your canner because you overfilled the jar!
Put in half a cup of tomato sauce (full cup for quarts). I used some I canned, but store-bought is fine. Fill the jars the rest of the way with hot water, leaving an inch headspace.
You can also use broth, spices, a little ham, however you like your beans. I am adding tomato sauce so they will taste like baked beans.
Add the lids (I hope you simmered them!) and the rings. Place in the pressure canner, screw on the lid, and turn on the heat. After the steam has vented for ten minutes, add the weight. Once the weight starts rocking, time for 75 minutes. Turn off the heat, and let it sit until it is depressurized.
If you like refried beans, you can open your can of beans, dump in a pan, heat, and mash.
You can also use them in chili, etc. I buy a lot of canned beans…or I did until I learned how delicious they are homemade.
I bought a bag of dried mixed beans for 1.50, and it made 7 pints. That is .22 cents a jar. 🙂
The Canning Evangelist strikes again!! Where there are hungry, tired people…there she will be. Saving the world, one jar at a time. 😉