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Most people would never think about canning dried beans because, being dried, they are already preserved for long term storage. There are two reasons that I can dried beans instead of keeping them in dry form.
First, preparing a can of beans is much quicker than preparing dried beans. With canned beans, you can simply open a jar, dump the beans in a pan, warm them up, and you're ready to eat. No soaking, no precooking, no muss, no fuss!
Serving them up with a batch of cornbread made from home ground cornmeal, ground from field corn you grew yourself, makes it all the better!
Second, dried beans do have a shelf life. If dried beans have been stored too long - more than a year or so, some varieties can stay hard after cooking (no matter how long you cook them), and the flavor can deteriorate as well.
I have canned pinto, black turtle, navy, kidney and butter beans in this manner, and they always have turned out tasty. Any variety of bean that you like to eat can be prepared in the same way as described below.
-5 pounds of dried beans - your choice of variety
-2 Gallon Stock pot (two of them if you can get them)
-Long handled spoon
-Small sauce pan
-20 to 22 pint canning jars (or 10-12 Quarts)
-Canning lids and rings
-Magnetic lid wand
-Ladle or glass measuring pitcher
-A couple of old towels or scrap rags
-Wash the beans, and remove dirt, twigs, rocks, and bad beans.
-Place the beans in two 2 gallon stock pots.
-Cover the beans with two - three times the volume of water as beans.
-Bring the beans to a boil and simmer for one hour.
NOTE: You can add diced ham or ham bullion base to your beans at this time if you like ham flavored beans!
-Stir occasionally and add water if needed.
-Wash jars, lid and rings.
-Put 2" water in small sauce pan and bring to boil.
-Remove from heat, and place lids in water.
-Fill jars with drained beans to about 1-1/4 inches from the top.
-Add 1/2 teaspoon canning salt per pint (1 teaspoon per quart).
-Top off each jar with juice from the beans leaving 1/4 inch head space.
-Wipe rims of jars with wet dish cloth or paper towel.
-Assemble lids and rings and apply to jars.
-Tighten lids to hand tight.
Unless you have an industrial sized canner, this will take two rounds to can all of your beans.
-Put 3" water in canner and bring to boil.
-Place jars in canner and lock down the lid.
-Vent the canner for 7 to 10 minutes.
-Process at 10 PSI for 45 minutes for pints. (Quarts for 55 min.)
-When done, allow pressure to drop off naturally.
-Remove jars and place them on counter to cool.
Jars may take up to an hour to seal, but wait until they have cooled to room temperature to be sure. Any jars that do not seal will have to be either eaten right away (within 24 hours) or refrigerated and eaten with in a week or two.
Jars that don't seal are fairly uncommon if you follow instructions, but it does happen occasionally. When the odd one doesn't seal, just think of it as a way to quality check of your work!
I buy 1 pound bags of dried beans for around $1.15 and a box of 12 canning lids costs about $1.50. Pints require two boxes of lids (twice as many jars for same amount of beans...).
Total cost for pints is about $8.75. Quarts about $7.25.
If you can 22 pints, which is the normal amount (but can vary some depending on the type of beans you can), your cost will be about 40 cents per pint, or about 66 cents each for 11 quarts.
For comparison, 12 ounce cans of bean soup from the store can cost around $1.50 each. A little more than 3 times as much as doing it yourself!
You can probably buy dried beans cheaper if you find them in bulk.
If you grow them yourself, you only have the cost of seeds to consider.
Canning dried beans can be an inexpensive way to preserve them for longer storage. It also provides quick, easy to prepare side dishes or main courses (with home made corn bread of course!). You can add flavorings and seasonings to the beans when you warm them up to eat.
My favorite thing to add is ham flavored bullion seasoning. Use your imagination and experiment a bit to meet your own tastes.
Good Luck and enjoy!