Cooking

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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.

IMG_9126 (3)

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.

beanpot

It isn’t the big, flashy foods that feed a growing family through the flux of the everyday. It is those staple foods left on the back burner (no pun intended) that give calories and nourishment – raw and roasted vegetables, sourdough bread, raw milk, plenty of chicken soup, eggs, soured porridge, kefir, kraut, lots of sweet and Irish potatoes… and, of course, beans and rice.

cuminseeds

We eat beans pretty much every day and sometimes more than once. This dish – or a slight variation – shows up once or twice a week to the lunch or dinner table, depending on what the day holds. It’s nothing fancy, but topped with avocado, onion, and sauerkraut it makes for a simple and nourishing (not to mention frugal) staple food.

beansand-rice

The thing that turns something so ho-hum into a meal we scrape the bottom of the pot for is the simple act of frying the onion. A generous amount of lard or coconut oil give the otherwise bland staple a richness that makes all the difference.

Everyday Rice and Beans

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup lard or coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1.5 cups long-grain white rice
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce (one pint home-canned)
  • 4 cups prepared beans (approximately three 15 oz cans)
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 1/4 cups broth or water

Directions

Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for several minutes, until the onion is translucent and beginning to brown around the edges. Add the cumin seeds and rice and saute several more minutes or until the rice just begins to take on some color.

Add all remaining ingredients and stir together to combine. Bring to a simmer, cover, and turn heat down to low. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring every five minutes or so, until rice is tender.

Serve with diced onion, avocado, and kraut.