Thursday, January 24, 2013

How to Can Dry Chickpeas, Kidney Beans, Pintos, Black Beans

I've read a lot lately about the health benefits of eating beans. Lowers cholesterol, helps maintain blood sugar, good for digestion, lots of nutrients, cheap (though incomplete) source of protein, etc.

My pantry has been stocked with dry beans forever. Every week I put them on our menu plan, and most weeks I take an alternate route because, "they take forever to cook!" Soaking the night before, a low-slow cook for most of the day, and then, worst of all, there are tons of leftovers. Why go through all the hassle just to make a small batch for the two of us? So I always make tons, intending to eat frugally on them all week.

I like beans well enough, but I've had to admit, I don't like leftover beans. There's only so much chili I can make them into, and there are only so many little containers of leftover beans I can stick in the back of the freezer for that afternoon when I tell myself, "I know! I want to eat beans today!"

The crisis point came a few weeks ago when we discovered evidence of mice in our pantry. My bag of dried split peas had bite marks all over it, so I was forced to toss the lot. I scrutinized the rest of the sacks of various dried beans but they appeared untouched, for now. "If I don't store these better, I'm going to lose them." I don't like throwing away food.

My canner called out to me.

Hm... a can of beans around here is 70-90 cents. A few pounds of dried beans (which makes seven pints) costs about the same.

And canned beans are always ready to eat... no soaking, no long cooking times, and no leftovers.

Compared to tomatoes and homemade jams, canning dried beans is really easy.

 Soak the beans in water (here I have black beans, pintos, and kidneys... I did chickpeas the next day).

I think they're really pretty.

By the next morning they've about doubled in volume.

 It amazes me that the black bean water turns purple.

Drain and rinse the beans well. Purportedly, this helps alleviate the... uncomfortable and indelicate symptoms that many people have when they eat beans.

Cover with water and boil for 30 minutes.

Put the beans in a jar, cover with water (cooking water or boiling water) leave 1" headspace, use a non-metal utensil (I used a wooden kebab skewer) to release air bubbles, wipe the rim, cap with sterilized lid, finger-tighten the ring.

Because I was canning three kinds of beans in one batch, I labeled each jar lid with a Sharpie before processing to keep them straight... P for Pinto beans.

Process in a pressure canner 75 minutes for pints or 90 minutes for quarts. Don't open the lid of the canner until the pressure is completely down and the canner is cool to the touch (removing the lid while the canner is still warm can lead to water reduction in the jars -- if they seal they're still safe to store, but they're not as pretty).

Truly that's it.

Refried beans, red beans and rice, black bean corn salad, burritos, black bean burgers, enchiladas, chili, falafel, roasted chickpeas, hummus... suddenly my meal plan doesn't look as impossible.

How To Can Dry Beans
(like chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, red beans, navy beans, etc.)

1. Soak beans in water (at least 2 parts water, 1 part beans) for 8-12 hours (overnight).

2. Drain and rinse beans well, put in a pot, cover with water, and boil for 30 minutes.

3. Put hot beans in warm sterilized jars, cover the beans with water (the cooking liquid or simply boiling water) and leave 1" of headspace. Run a non-metal instrument around the inside to release air bubbles, wipe the rim with a clean cloth, place a sterilized lid and finger-tighten the band.

4. Process in a pressure canner (I have always hated the direction, "process in a pressure canner," because it is so vague and non-helpful. But truly, I won't be more specific than that, because you should read your canner's manual to see how to operate it... they're all slightly different.) as follows:

For Dial Gauge Pressure Canner: 
Pints: Process 75 minutes
Quarts: Process 90 Minutes

If your altitude is: 
0-2000’ - process at 11 lbs. pressure
2000-4000’ – process at 12 lbs. pressure
4000-6000’ – Process at 13 lbs. pressure
6000-8000’ – Process at 14 lbs. pressure

Weighted Gauge Pressure Canner: 
Pints: Process 75 minutes
Quarts: Process 90 Minutes

If your altitude is: 
0-1000’ – Process at 10 lbs. pressure
Above 1000’ – Process at 15 lbs. pressure


Farmer's City Wife said...

You're so welcome, Lisa! I guess unless you use Tattler lids, there's still the BPA issue with home canning, but I'm guessing a little on a lid is better than the entire can lined with the stuff :).

Madame Scarecrow said...

Merci Beaucoup for your clear and precise instructions...From here in Northern France...I love houmous but will never buy it prepared and with chick peas they need to soaked overnight and by then the urge for houmous has withered a Parfait Jar I can now 'purge the urge' just when I fancy...Merci Encore
Warmest Regards
Madame Scarecrow

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