Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Pressure Canned Beans

This is the first post in a series of three on pressure canning. Pressure canners are relatively inexpensive (around $130) and can save you money in the long run by providing an economical way to can vegetables, beans, and other low-acid foods. Also, you don't have to worry about BPA in cans, and you can control the amount of salt that goes into the canned foods. 

This first instalment is canned beans--a convenient staple for any pantry. 

- 8 to 10oz dried beans per 1 litre/1 quart jar (see note below)
- boiling water
- canning jars with lids and rings
- pressure canner (I use a dial gauge canner)

1. Rinse then soak beans in plenty of water overnight. My canner holds 7 jars, so I soak at least 3.5 lbs of beans. Or, follow the directions on the bad for quick soaking. I prefer the overnight soak. No need to do all one kind of bean--the picture above shows chickpeas, pinto beans, and black beans getting ready for the canner. 
2. On canning day, sterilise your jars. Get the water to boiling in your pressure canner--follow the directions that came with your canner. Keep your rings and lids in hot but not boiling (82 C) water.

3. Drain beans, rinse, then add 16 to 20oz of beans per sterilised jar (see note below).

4. Fill the jars with boiling water, leaving 1" headspace.
5. Place lids on jars, then tighten rings finger tight. I have found that finger tight is pretty darn tight. It's as tight as you can get the ring on without using the palm of your hand. If your lid is too loose, liquid will seep out of jar during processing. 
6. Place jars into the pressure canner. Close and seal the lid.

7. Bring to boiling. Let the water boil for a good 10 mins--the steam should be shooting out of the vent pipe with gusto.

8. Place the pressure regulator over the vent pipe. Bring the pressure up to 11 lbs. This takes a little finesse. Lower heat will give you lower pressure, so when the gauge reaches 8 lbs I turn the heat down from high to med-lo so that it reaches 11 but does not blow past it. You will need to fiddle a bit to find out what heat keeps the pressure at a constant 11 lbs.
9. Process the jars for 90 minutes. If the pressure drops below 11 you will need to get it back up to 11 and start the timer again. 
10. When done, remove the canner from the heat. Allow it to cool and the pressure to go to zero. 

11. Remove the canner lid and remove the jars, being careful not to tilt the jars or touch the lids. Allow to fully cool, then check to make sure all the lids have sealed. 

NOTE: Aquafaba is all the rage these days. 20oz of beans per jar comes out of the canner looking like the pic above. After the beans have cooled, the aquafaba gets more viscous. I use if for mayonnaise (delicious!). If you want a thinner aquafaba, use 16oz to 18oz of soaked beans per litre/quart jar.