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Friday, November 30, 2007

Canning Pinto Beans

This week I was able to can some pinto beans. In one of the comment sections, I mentioned I would post the directions so here they are.
This method doesn't take much time that you will actually be working, but you do have to do a little bit of planning since it requires some prep the night before you want to can them.

Make sure all of your jars are washed and ready to go. You also might want to count your lids since I didn't have enough when I was canning my green beans earlier!
After you have all of your supplies ready, it's time to get the pinto beans ready. Measure out 3/4 cup of beans for each pint jar you want to can. Then wash and sort the beans. I have never found rocks in my beans before, but as you can see, this time around I actually found 2 - so don't skip this step!
When your beans are washed and sorted, measure out 3/4 cup of beans into each jar. Fill the jars with water and then cover them with a towel over night.

In the morning, empty the water from the jars and refill with hot water to leave 1 inch of head space. You may need to adjust some beans. If you want, you can save and heat the water that was in the jars to use. This leaves more nutrients, however, it also leaves more bean gas. I use new water. Another option is to add 1/2 tsp of salt to each jar, but I skip this step. After the jars are filled, put a lid and ring on each jar according to the manufactures instructions.

Place the jars in the pressure canner, bring them to a high heat to adjust head space, and process at 10 lbs pressure for 75 minutes. (Remember, this time is only for pint jars.) Be sure to follow all of the directions that come with your canner. (Also, do not can beans with a water bath - see comments.)

After they have cooked and the pressure is gone, remove the jars from the canner to cool. When they are cool, wipe down the jars, label them, and put them in your cupboard. You are done!!

For those of you who like to watch the dollar, here are the numbers. I spent $2.38 on my bag of pinto beans. There are enough beans in the bag to make around 17 pints of beans. I'll say that's 14¢ per pint jar in beans. Lids are $1.29 for 12. I'll also say that is 11¢ per lid.

If you really want to be technical, you can figure in the electricity to heat the stove for the canner, but then you can argue that the heat from the stove heats your house and makes your furnace not work as hard. (A good reason to leave beans for winter canning - doesn't fight against your air conditioner or make your house too hot.) Although if you heat with wood, that changes things too. I'm not about to think that hard, so I'm leaving the heating cost out.

So my beans cost me 25¢ per pint. Keep in mind, that a pint of home canned beans is equal to at least two cans of store bought beans. You end up with a jar full of beans with little to no liquid - the store beans are a can of liquid with some beans floating around in it. If you want to make your beans even more economical and you eat them in large quantities, can them as quarts. (Sorry, I don't have the canning time for this. DON'T use 75 minutes!) That would have given me twice the amount of beans per jar for 39¢. We don't eat that many at a time though so I do pints.

So there you go. Canning pinto beans. I would love to find some recipes for canning pinto beans that include some spices making them even more ready to go. Anyone have any?

** To learn how to pressure can beans, you can check out my series on Beginning Pressure Canning. **

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Tools of My Trade
Beans must be pressure canned due to their low acidity in order to kill all bacteria that would cause dangerous food born illnesses. They can be safely canned by using the recommended times and pressures given for your altitude. I have a couple older Mirro pressure canners given to me that work wonderfully, and my mom has a newer one that she loves as well. If you do some asking around, you might find someone who has given up canning and has one available, or you can look for one like the one pictured below. It should hold around 9 pint jars or 7 quart jars.

This book is a wonderful book for beginning pressure canning.  It includes the science behind safe canning, tools needed for canning, the method of canning, and is filled with tons of recipes that will help you can anything from produce from your garden to meats and broths.  I still enjoy flipping through my book to find new recipes to try!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the canning instructions. Pinto beans are my favorite too! I was wondering if you would follow the same exact instructions for navy or northern beans as well?
Can't wait to try this!


Blair Family. said...

I'm so excited to try this! I think this will be my first canning venture! Thanks for the instructions, I'll let you know how it goes-probably not 'til after Christmas.

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

I did some asking around about canning different beans. Someone said that they all can about the same, however, I would personally try to find published directions since canning improperly can be dangerous. I am hoping to get the Ball's Blue Book of Canning for Christmas, but until then, I don't have a definite answer for you. Sorry about that. Maybe you could do some searches on the internet.

wendy said...

I was doing a google search for canning pintos and came across your web log. And then I linked to your husbands. Great stuff.

I'll have to show my husband the Beginnig Farmer blog, he will appreciate it. His dream is to be a farmer but right now he is slaving away at a PhD he may rather not have. Give him his tractor back and he'd be satisfied.

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Thanks for dropping by and for passing along my husband's blog. We are still in town right now, but are hoping to be out in the country and doing some farming soon. It is a process, but I believe it can be accomplished one step at a time if you set your mind to it. Best of luck with the beans and future farming!

Anonymous said...

I ran across this site when I googled canning pinto beans. I have a recipe for pinto beans with spices in quart jars. Here it is:

1 1/4 cups pinto beans
1/2 T Chile Powder
1 T plus 1 t. tomato sauce
1 t dehydrated onion
1 t salt
slightly less than 1/8 t garlic powder
a heaping 1/2 T canned diced green chile.
Add water, leaving 1 inch head space. Wipe jars, place lids and rings. Give jars a shaked as you place them in the canner to stir ingredients. Process for 90 minutes at appropriate pressure for your location.

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Thanks for the recipe! I'm excited to give it a try!

Genie said...

I'm eager to can some pinto beans using the Mexican and Native American spices I'm so fond of. I was looking at your recipe and am wondering...

I always cook my beans in the soak water (I love the flavor)--since you have the formula worked out maybe I shouldn't mess with it too much. Perhaps I should do it your way but instead of pouring the soak water out, I could pour it into a pot and heat it it all with my seasonings then pour that back into the jars and then process the beans. What do you think?

When you do yours this way, how watery do your beans come out? Are they thick? Is the pot liquor thin or thick?


The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Thanks for stopping by! It isn't a problem to use the water they soak in. Some people prefer to dump it to reduce "gasses" later on, but those who eat a lot of beans in their diet don't usually have that problem.

As far as the thickness of the beans juice . . . there isn't really any of it with these measurements. The jar pretty much contains all beans and a little thick paste. A wide mouth jar works best for getting them out - they don't pour.

If you like some juices, you can reduce the amount of beans you put in the jar. Just make sure your headspace is correct before you can them. Canning times won't change.

I hope this helps! I am wanting to can some beans with spices in them. I think I'm going to try chili soup spices first. I probably won't get around to it until fall though, since we have quite a bit going on with our building project.

I'd love to hear how yours turn out!


lavonne said...

Thanks for this great information, Becca. I'm a recent bean convert and really want to start canning them.

I always check this chart for pressure cooking different kinds of beans -- that's pressure COOKING, not CANNING. Maybe you can guesstimate the canning time based on this chart.

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Thanks for the great chart on beans! I haven't experimented with different varieties much - just pinto, northern, navy, and lentils.

As far as canning vs. pressure cooking, the times are quite a bit different and the size of the jar matters a lot because of the distance to get the proper heat to the center of the jar. It is best to check a pressure cooking chart and never guess on the times. If things are canned for too short of time, bacteria can grow in the jar and be quite dangerous. This is one of the things that makes me most nervous as a beginning canner. :)

I have never tried to pressure cook (not can) beans though. It looks quite a bit faster than just boiling them! Thanks again for stopping by and for the great chart.

Rhonda said...

You can use a pressure canner to cook, but you cannot safely use a pressure cooker to can. You cannot reach the 240 degree temperature for any length of time to safely get rid of bacteria.Your pressure cooker does not come with gauges that can tell you these things.
I was glad to see your breakdown in cost. I have shown this to several friends who didn't think it was worth it to can. Now that the grocery bills are only going up and they can see that it is a fraction of the cost and is healthy for you, they are now willing to try.

Jen said...

I came across your blog after Googling for a bean canning recipe. I'm excited to try this, and I was wondering where you got the initial recipe?

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Thanks for dropping by. I found the recipe on the homesteading today forums. I checked it through some internet searches just to make sure it used the proper times. Hope you enjoy them!

Tressa said...

A great way to spice up beans without a big mess is to use Rotel. You can find it in the canned food sections of your grocery store. It comes in the original or with a Mexican flair to it. No need to add anything else. Mix with beans and process in pressure canner according to instructions.

Gina said...

I just found a recipe to can Rotel type tomatoes and I'm anxious to try it in a chili bean recipe to can. Here it is and does anyone have a different rotel recipe? I'm experimenting

Wendy said...

I wanted to know if you can add a pack of chili seasoning before pressuring. Just like the ones you buy in the stores?

A few years back a cooked a huge pot of everything in it chili. I then pressured it in qts. for 75min at 10 lbs. The extension service said never to do that again. It was great. Open and eat. What is wrong with this? Does anyone have a recipe for pressuring chili Meat, beans, onion, garlic-- everything that is safe?
thanks, Wendy

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

I don't see why you couldn't substitute a packet of spices, but I'm not an expert and am not sure of the ingredients in your packet. (I probably wouldn't know any more even if I did!)

A rule that needs to be followed when canning things that you don't have a recipe for (which many people will say not even to try) is to check out every ingredient, find the one with the highest pressure and longest time, then use that pressure and time. Some things can be too thick to can safely too.

With that said, my canning guide says for beans and meat you need to use 10 lbs pressure for 90 minutes with quart jars. 75 is for pints. (Always check your individual canner's guide though.) I'm not sure if that was the issue or something else.

Also, I think it is a good idea to check with your extension before trying something new, and to also get explanations to help guide you in the future.

I hope that helps and you have fun canning. God Bless!

harpoonman said...

Great recipe! I used slightly less than 3/4 cup of beans and didn't pre-soak the beans. Pre-soaking shortens cooking time for the stove top but 75 minutes is more than enough to thoroughly cook the beans in a pressure canner. For spices I used 1/2 tsp per pint jar Mexican Seasoning from The Spice Hunter brand which contains onion, garlic, basil, red pepper, oregano, cumin, jalapeno, and cilantro. The taste and texture was incredible. I'll never buy canned beans again!

Isaac said...

In googling a recipe for pressure canning pinto beans I came a crossed your blog. I tried your recipe. I was impressed with how easy it was and even more impressed with how wonderful the beans tasted! I have also pressure canned garbanzo beans which turn into the best hummus! Thanks for posting this. My mother has started canning beans as well and she is thrilled as well.

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

I'm glad the beans came out well. I will have to try garbanzo beans. I just had hummus for the first time this month and really enjoyed it. Any good recipes?

Isaac said...

The following website has a nice basic hummus recipe that you can tweak to your taste. Here it is: I don't usually put so much lemon juice and I add additional tahini paste (ground up sesame seeds). Tahini can be a difficult ingredient to procure. Also at you can find recipes that don't use tahini but I haven't tried those out yet.

Best wishes with the hummus.

Gina said...

Wow, this is so much simpler than what I've been doing! My only question is on the sterilization of the jars. My books say the jars must be sterile and then have boiling water placed in them. The water placed in them in the beginning is not boiling. I've alway suspected this is not really necessary because it seems to me that the amount of time in the pressure cooker will kill any lurking germs. AND, if it isn't really necessary, it would save a TON of time! Your thoughts?

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

I would assume the same thing about the time in the pressure cooker killing any lurking germs, however, I always recommend following instructions that go with your canner. If you are concerned about your jars not being sterilized, you can always sterilize them by boiling them first.

Gina said...

Thank you for your insights! I put my jars through the hot cycle in the dishwasher and I've never had a problem. I tried your recipe and my beans came out great! Thanks for sharing! These beans are delicious....nothing like the store...and so much cheaper to make. I live in the city where many people never heard of canning. One day my neighbor saw me canning, about had a heart attack and said, "You can't do that!" LOL

Kathryn said...

I have canned chicken, pintos, corn, etc and the pounds of pressure necessary to kill bacteria depends upon your altitude in the country. Most recipes call for 10 lbs. of pressure but that is from sea level to 1000 ft.. If you live above 1000 ft you need to use 15 lbs. of pressure for the same amount of time called for in your canning recipes.
On the chili, there would be no problem canning that but you need to use the timing that is called for for the longest item in your chili to can which will be the meat. The only problem with canning the chili is that the other ingredients in the chili have to process for a very long time and may be kind of soggy if you have a lot of vegetables. It really is a texture issue there as opposed to a safe to eat issue.
I am on to find the time for canning garbanzo beans. Does anyone have any ideas? My canning chart does not specifically list them.
This is a great site. Thanks for sharing all of the recipes!

What Pigs Don't Know said...

I hope I'm not repeating this question but I don't see it addressed here. What if you don't have a pressure canner? How long would you do a regular boiling water bath? Thanks! -Carrie

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Beans cannot be canned in a water bath. Water baths are only for high acid foods. What matters when preserving is getting the food to the proper temperature to kill and inhibit bacteria growth. High acid foods do not need as high of a temperature to do this, so they can be processed in a water bath. Low acid foods need a much higher temperature. The only way to get to this temperature is to use a pressure canner with the proper amount of pressure. The variation in time accounts for the density of the food - to make sure that the very center of the jar gets to the proper temperature also.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so I'm very new to canning. I found your recipe only after I completed canning my first pinto beans. I have a couple of questions if you can help. Number one, I soaked beans for about 2 days instead of 12 hours, could that be a problem as far as making them too soft or thick for canning? And two, after I was done canning, some of the jars even though they had a tight seal, there was bean residue on the outside of jar and around the seal. Should I be concerned that germs may be present and that the beans in the jar are not safe to be eaten? Sorry these are probably elementary questions but I just want to be sure to get this right. Thanks for your help!!

Ashley said...

How would you can garbanzo/chick peas?

Mrs. I said...

Residue on the outside of the jar means that when the air inside the jar exhausted as it was supposed to do, some of the contents also bubbled out. The biggest problem with this is that particles of food sometimes interfere with the lid sealing tightly to the jar rim. If there is a tight seal, don't worry about the contents of the jar. Do, however, clean the outside of the jar well so that bacteria cannot grow around the outside of the rim and compromise the tight seal.

Kathy said...

Just found your blog (Love it!) while searching for a recipe to can spicy chili beans. In regard to the Garbanzo/Chickpea canning, I regularly can dry beans and can different kinds at the same time. They all use the 75 minute timing for pints. I do mine a little differently though. I weigh out 3 ounces of dry beans to my pint jars, rinse them using a mesh strainer over the jar top, then fill with boiling water, wipe rims, add lids and adjust rings, then pressure can them. I use the Garbanzo/Chickpeas to make Hummus, and the others when making red beans and rice, black beans and rice, refried beans, etc. Hope this helps.

Melissa said...

Hello! I just cooked up a pot of vegetarian baked beans & would like to save some in jars. I don't habe a pressure cooker. Any ideas on how I can safely save them & for how long they can last? Freezer space is limited...i was hoping I could just out them in jars & they would keep?? Thank you in advance!!

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Melissa - They either have to be eaten as you would any leftover, pressure canned, or frozen. Just storing in jars wouldn't kill bacteria and could be very dangerous.

Anonymous said...

just canned really old pinto beans that would not cook nice. They look good.
I will try the seasoning next time.

Anonymous said...

Love how easy this recipe was! Have translated it very successfully into a variety of other beans and everything has come out perfect. I did adjust the measurement down a bit to allow for enough liquid to use regular mouth jars as those are cheaper.
I use 1/2cup dry beans instead of 3/4c and there is plenty of liquid left to cover the beans and make it easy to get beans out by running a spatula around inside of jar. Thanks again for your blog and sharing your recipes. This has been a remarkably easy one to do.

Anonymous said...

This is a great blog!

My question is: Has anyone tried canning refried beans? I know it's simple enough to make refried beans from canned beans (and that's what I'll do for now) but it's a lovely convenience to have pre-made, ready to heat refried beans available in jars. I'd love to can a big 'ole batch, but I'm not having luck finding a recipe.... yet, we can BUY refried beans in cans, so I'm sure we can make 'em. Any ideas?

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Yes, you can do refried beans. You can add any of your seasonings to the jar to have seasoned beans ready to go - refried, chili, baked beans, etc. You are right, it is wonderful to have on hand!

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Here's my recipe for refried beans . . .

Anonymous said...

does anyone know how long canned pinto beans will last? I had a friend tell me that she heard 15 years but I'd like something more authoritative. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hello, I am so glad I found your site. I am a farmgirl wantabe!! LOL
I have three questions.

1. What about canning the beans with ham in them?

2. Or what if I cooked my beans and ham and then canned them?

3.How would that work?


Anonymous said...

I've been canning dried beans for years but do it a little differently. I clean and soak the beans for a full 24 hours. Drain and rinse them off. I put 1/3 cup chopped onion and 1 clove garlic in the bottom of each quart jar. Then add 2 cups of the soaked and drained beans. I add 1 tsp canning salt and fill the jar with water. It seems like there is a lot of head space with just water, but it will cook up and fill the space. Sometimes I add pepper flakes.

I process them in a pressure cooker canner at 10 pounds (I live in Missouri) for 90 minutes.

My canner holds 7 quarts and it takes about 3 pounds of dried beans to do 7 quarts. Sometimes I do a few jars of pintos and a few of black or Navy beans. It doesn't matter as they all cook the same length of time. Same with lentils.

I've added other vegetables from the garden in season: chopped carrots, collards, bell peppers.

This spring I bought a 14" propane burner for canning outside during the summer. It brings the pressure cooker from cold to a rocking stage in 10 minutes. I love it. I can't lift a full canner very well, so I turn it off and let it sit there for a couple hours. By then the pressure is gone and I can open it and bring the jars inside.

I enjoy your blog.

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Some methods of canning do cook beans first. As far as combining ingredients, technically you aren't supposed to make up new recipes when canning due to density, acid content, and cooking times . . . BUT if you would, you need to make sure that you pressure can your recipe according to the ingredient with the highest temp and pressure

Anonymous said...

I don't have a pressure canner, but I have a pressure cooker which sets the pressure at 15Lbs via a swaying gadget on top of the cooker. Can I use that?

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

That will work! :)

colocanner said...

I have canned beans with ham and it turns out great. Cooking time for the ham and beans is about the same. I could not live without the Ball Blue Book. It answers a ton of questions. I am looking for a recipe for canning chili beans like you get in the store. Seems it would be simple, I just can't come up with right combination of ingredients. Will add meat and other ingredients when I am ready to make the chili.

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Here's what I do for chili per pint
1 - 1 1/2 T chili powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp salt

I then mix it with 1 16 oz diced tomatoes and 1 16 oz tomato sauce OR 1 qt canned tomatoes and 1 6 oz tomato paste.

Hope that helps!

Anonymous said...

I canned some pinto beans and they have recently started turning a blackish color near the top of the jar. The jar is sealed, but I am wondering if these are safe to eat.

Anonymous said...

My daughter canned pinto beans in quarts - she soaked the beans overnight, drained them in the morning, and added new water and salt and processed at 10 lbs of pressure for 90 minutes - now her jars are all coming unsealed!! Why??

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

To the blackish beans - it may be due to not having liquid cover them, which would be safe. But if in doubt -throw it out when using canned items.

For the unsealing - it could be that the rims of the jars had residue on them, or if they were over pressurized it would have forced some contents out, which would have left residue. Head space might also have been an issue.

Anonymous said...

I have canned for ~12 years. Everything you can imagine. I can lots of roasts, sausage, wild berries, pheasants (which run in my 'yard'). If you can eat it, most of the time you can can it.
I can leftover soups chilis, etc.
I understand that extension agents get all worked up about canning 'untried' recipes.
As a rancher's wife (the unpaid hand) & science teacher, I can tell you all they are worried about is liability.
If you make sure your jars are clean, sterilized, etc., and follow the directions of the canner, you'll be all right.
I can hamburger (bcs as of late I have 700 lbs of it!). I have had only one molded jar in all these years of anything. I always throw something out if it smells 'funny' or looks questionable.
And I eat pickles and other things that are over 10 years old.
They are fine if the seal held.
One thing about meat, if you find old freezer burned meat (like I sometimes find a roast in the bottom of the freezer that's like 4 years old!), I cut off the freezer burned part & can it. And it is wonderful.
There is so much you can do by canning.
And if you live out in the stix like I do, where the power seems to go out sometimes for weeks at a time, it is essential.

Anonymous said...

Do you have all these recipes mentioned in the above posts listed in one location by chance.
They all sound great!

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

I can't remember which all I have put up, but if you look under the label "Cooking" you might find some.

Anonymous said...

I came across this recipes last year. So far I've done 2 batches of them and we're very pleased. This recipes doesn't taste low fat at all. We're getting ready to do 2 more batches next weekend since we just ran out. Thanks a bunch

Anonymous said...

I am planning to cook pinto beans and can them hot then put them in a steam canner for about an hour. Can't see how that would differ from a pressure canner. Will let you know how it turns out.

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

That method will work for sealing them if you want to store them in the freezer or in the fridge temporarily before eating, however it is quiet different from pressure canning for shelf stable storage and is very dangerous to do - not mentioning you will probably end up with beans that go bad.

In a pressure canner, the temperature is increased to a level that a steam cooker can't reach. This higher temperature is necessary to kill anything that could cause spoilage and bacterial growth in the food. The length of time recommended is figured so that that high temperature reaches the very center of the jar, to make sure the whole jar has reached the appropriate temp for safe food preservation.

It is very important to follow canning instructions and use the appropriate methods in order to not put you health in danger.

Anonymous said...

Okie Dokie, I googled to find out how I might keep my freshly cooked pot of pinto beans in jars to preserve freshness! Two hours later I'm still here and have so enjoyed reading your blog and checking out the farm, etc. as well as all the other links....Thank you for taking the time to share your world. I've never canned a thing in my life But I thought why not with these beans??. They are delicious and since it's just my son and I they will just end up going bad and down the food disposal. So, let me make sure I've got this straight...even though they are already cooked I have to pressure can them for the same amount of time as if they were raw??? Will they still taste the same and have the same consistency??? What if I heated them to a high temp so the jar would have a great seal and stick them in the extra frig to store? How much longer do you think they would stay fresh...I'm just really sick of good food going to waste.....

Anonymous said...

I always cook my beans with fresh onion, garlic and jalapeƱos in the pot. Then I take them out once the beans are done and the vegetables have given them their flavors. What I did to incorporate this into the canning process was to cook the vegetables in the water that I used to cover the beans. It worked really well.

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