"I don't have time......." We have all had this thought about something or someone at one time or another. In regard to our focus item this week, I have often thought "I don't have time to think ahead to soak..." or "I don't have time to cook beans.....ever". Well, with age I hope comes wisdom. We are about to see.
Hopefully by now you have read the posts that focus on the different types of dry beans that are available. Please know that this is not an exhaustive list! The most popular question I have heard next to "I don't know what kind to get" is "What do I do with them?" Well here is one option.....can them.
If you purchase beans in the can, then this option is one you can really do instead of buying them in cans. The best part is....it is one of the easiest things to do. To get started you will certainly need you beans, some salt, water, jars, lids, rings, and your pressure cooker/canner. If you don't have a Pressure Canner, ask a neighbor or friend to help you. Here are the steps:
Wash and sort your beans. Sometimes beans have rocks or small sticks in them. I use my colander and do this step.
Clean and sterilize your jars and lids.
Set up your jars and place a funnel into the first jar.
For pints, put a 1/2 Cup of dry beans into the jar. For quarts, use 1 Cup of dry beans.
For pints, put in 1/2 teaspoon of salt. For quarts, use 1 teaspoon.
Fill up the jar with water. Leave about 3/4 inch of headspace. I just put water in until I reach the glass circle that stops the ring when it is screwed on.
Here, you see that I have 4 different types of beans. That is one of the things that is so great about doing this. I only can a few jars at a time....as I need them. I have Black beans, Navy Beans, Pinto Beans, and Kidney Beans that I will be canning in this batch.
Wipe off the top of the jar with a clean cloth.
Place a sterilized lid on the jar.
Next, place the ring on the jar.
Place the jars into your Pressure Canner. If you have hard water, make sure you put in a few Tablespoons of Vinegar into the water in your Canner. If you don't, your jars will come out with a hard-water film on the outside of them. The beans will be fine, your jars will look.....funny.
Here, you can see that I have 7 pints in my canner. This is equivalent to 7 cans of beans. Process them for 90 minutes at 15 lbs of pressure.
After 90 minutes, allow the canner to cool naturally. Do not rush the cooling process as beans have protein. You should never rush a canner to cool quickly when canning proteins. After the cooling process, remove the jars from the Canner.
Here is a jar of Navy beans. As you can see, most of them are plump, but some are not. There is no reason to worry. After a few days, they all will be plump.
A few additional points:
1. This works with beans that are newly purchased, and beans that have been in storage for many years. The Kidney beans that I canned have been in my storage for over 7 years. If I soak them or slow cook them, they take forever.
2. A pint of beans is equivalent to a 15 oz can of beans that you purchase from the store. You can substitute it in your favorite soup or chili recipe.
3. I don't can batch after batch at one time. I just do one batch, and when they are gone, I do another. This is a great way to use your empty jars during the winter.
4. A can of Kidney beans on Amazon.com costs just about $1.30 a can. This comes out to $.08/ounce. An ounce of dry Kidney beans (same source) is less than half a cent per ounce. This works out to be about a 63% savings.
5. I am a very busy person! So, after work, I will quickly prepare 7 jars (it takes about ~5 minutes), and put them into the Pressure Canner. I set the timer and go about the other million things that I have to do on my list. When the timer goes off (after 90 minutes), I turn them off and usually wait until morning before removing them from the canner.
So, in response to the initial statement about "not having time", you really do have 5 minutes. You really do have 90 minutes while you are watching the Olympics or other primetime shows that you love.
Give it a try!