Shannon

I am wife to Stewart, mama of five, homeschooler, messy cook, and avid fermenter. This is where I tell our story... of building a sustainable off-grid homestead in a Christian agrarian community... of raising this growing family of ours... of the beauty and the hard and the joy in all of it.
894 articles written by Shannon

canning-dried-beans-1

Sometime last year I came upon several boxes of bagged dried beans. These were fairly old and, after trying a few pounds, I found them quite tough even after a long simmering.

At this same time I happened to have a neighbor coming over to help out with household chores (ahem, dishes) while I was recipe testing. She mentioned that her Mom had canned a bunch of old dried beans and that the long cook in the pressure canner softened them right up.

Well, it wasn’t until fall that I finally got around to it and it isn’t until several months later that I am now sharing this process with you all. (Have I ever told y’all that I procrastinate a lot and forget continuously and that you do not want someone like me in charge of anything that requires attention to detail or any type of precision… at all?)

Thankfully I have not had a canning endeavor go south thus far so I tell you that because I forgot to write down my process, not because we all got botulism. Again, thankfully.

I was talking to Susan about this a couple of weeks ago and confidently told her I filled the jars with approximately 1 1/4 cups of soaked beans. Confidently. And then I dug through the photos and found photographic evidence that I can’t remember a thing. Those jars were filled to at least two cups, y’all!

I now think that the 1 1/4 cup amount was used for canning dried beans but that is when no soaking is employed (see below).

canning-dried-beans-two

So, instead of throwing out a tutorial I will first share my basic process and then several resources that got me through canning boxes and boxes of dried beans with nary a case of botulism.

My Process for Canning Dried Beans

  1. Soak beans in plenty of filtered water for 24-48 hours.
  2. Drain beans.
  3. Loosely pack into jars and fill remainder of jar with water (broth would also work), leaving head space.
  4. Process in pressure canner according to directions below.

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Canning Dried Bean Resources

These are the main sites I looked at and, as usual on the internet, there is conflicting advice.

By the way, I have also skipped the soaking method when time is short. If you assume most dried beans triple in size once hydrated and cooked, approximately 1 1/4 – 1 1/3 cups of dried beans can be packed into jars, covered with water, and processed as is. In both the soaked and unsoaked methods I have found the end result to be a tender bean ready in a pinch on those days I’ve forgotten to start soaking a pot the night before.

tableferments

Our kitchen table is often overflowing with dishes after a meal or kombucha making supplies or sourdough bread pans and dusty piles of flour. This table is where we gather for nourishment of all kinds and store piles of groceries after the weekly trip to town and do all sorts of making when the counters inevitably clutter up.

It is, as you can tell if you stopped by in real life or simply look at these photos, rarely clean.

But having not had a table we could all gather around for several years makes me really appreciate this sturdy thrift store find. And it is making storing and eating fermented vegetables a snap.

In Traditionally Fermented Foods I argue for not refrigerating fermented vegetables. I share reasons why storing them in cellars or counter tops produces a tastier, better ferment based on my own research and experiences both on- and off-grid. Much of the book, in fact, is geared towards those of us who use fermentation as a tool in the pursuit of a more sustainable food system. Because that is how we use it.

ferments-tableone

So my tip for getting everyone to eat fermented vegetables at every meal? Well, it’s as simple as leaving jars of various fermented vegetables in the center of the table. These are jars that have been fermenting for at least 4-6 weeks at room temperature and are therefore fully fermented and taste “ripe”.

When I plop a pan of eggs or a pot of Rice and Beans at the table, these ferments add tang, crunch, and of course a host of health benefits. They sit beside eggs and potatoes for breakfast, bowls of soup for lunch, and atop vegetable stir-fry for supper. Some updated recipes for our favorites can be found in Traditionally Fermented Foods and include:

Of course, if someone is already averse to that lactic acid tang, it might take a bit of cajoling. I have found that children, when started at infancy or toddlerhood, go on to really like fermented pickles of all kinds and ask for them on site. Us adults are harder to convince but given time – and ferments made tasty by using some tips and tricks also shared in TFF – we eventually come around.

turnipkraut

And now, I don’t know how many half-gallons later, we are nearing the bottom of our turnip kraut. We’ve still got a few gallons of pickled turnip sticks but this kraut will be sorely missed.