How to Pressure Can Dried Beans in Weck Jars + Giveaway

canned beans square

As I’m sure is the case for many of you, canned beans are a staple in my pantry. I try to always keep an assortment of pinto, kidney, garbanzo, and black beans in my kitchen cabinet. Even when I’ve not been shopping in awhile, I nearly always have tortillas in the freezer and some kind of cheese in the fridge. Combined with a can of beans, I’m only a few steps away from a bean and cheese quesadilla lunch (and all the better if there’s a jar of salsa on the shelf).

dry beans in bowls and jars

In recent years, instead of sourcing my stash of canned beans from the store, I’ve been making them myself. That’s because as cheap as canned beans are, dried beans cost even less (I typically get  at least four 1/2 liter or pint jars from a single pound of dried beans). And by using my own jars, I avoid the chemicals in can liners and also keep that waste out of the system.

soaking beans at the beginning

If you have a pressure canner, making your own canned beans is incredibly simple (though I’ll grant you that the first time through it will feel like there are a lot of steps but it will get easier). If you don’t have one, this might just be the technique that convinces you to get one. If you’re looking for a good starter pressure canner, I use a 16 quart Presto and love it. It’s affordable and fits easily on to my small stove.

fully soaked beans

As is the case any time you use dried beans, you start by soaking them. If I’m canning on a weekend, I’ll soak the beans overnight so that they’re ready for a morning canning session. During the work week, I’ll set them to soak while I make breakfast and will can them up after dinner. I like to pressure can in the evenings because it means that I can let the canner cool overnight. I’ve found that the longer you let the canner cool undisturbed, the better the jars seal.

soaking beans

When you soak your beans, take care to use a bowl big enough to hold the beans and water to cover by 2-3 inches. As you can see in one of the pictures above, I didn’t use a bowl quite large enough for the white beans and so they soaked up everything I gave them and threatened to spill out of the bowl entirely.

prepped Weck jars

Once the beans are sufficiently soaked, it’s time to start to prep them for the canning process. Like I do in all canning situations, the first thing I do is get the jars and canning pot set up. In this case, I put the rack in the pot, set the jars on top, and fill the jars with hot water from the tap (because the water isn’t coming into contact with food, I don’t worry about using hot water).

Unlike with boiling water bath canning where you need a full pot, pressure canning works with steam so the jars don’t need to be submerged. An inch or two of water in the pot itself is really all you need.

lids and seals

When I use Weck jars, I take care to also tuck the glass lids and rubber rings into the pot to heat (leave the clips out). When I use conventional mason jars, I tuck new lids into the pot, but keep the rings out as they’re hard to work with when hot. Settle the lid on the pot and bring the pot to a boil. No need to lock the lid into place yet, you’re just warming the jars.

simmering beans

While the canner heats, pour the beans and their soaking water into a pot and bring them to a boil. You may need to add some additional water as they still should be covered by about 2 inches of water. They need approximately 25-30 minutes on the stove in order to heat through and begin to soften.

Take note that the beans should not be cooked fully when they go into the jars. If you cooked them fully before pressure canning, your finished product would be total mush.

filled Weck jars

When the jars are hot and the beans have simmered for about half an hour, it’s time to fill the jars. Remove the jars from the canner and place them on a kitchen towel. If you’ve boiled out most of your water from the bottom of the pot, pour the contents of the jars back into the canner. If your water level looks good, dump the water from the jars out into the sink.

Fill the jars with the prepared beans. You want to add enough beans so that they come up about 2/3 of the way up the jar. Then cover the beans with cooking liquid, leaving 1 inch of headspace.

Ideally, you’ll have about an inch of water above the bean level. Don’t skimp on the water because the beans are going to continue to cook in the jars and so will need additional liquid in order to soften fully.

three clips for pressure canning

Once the jars are filled, wipe the rims with a clean towel. Settle the rubber seal onto the lid of the Weck jar and place the seal and lid onto the jar. Secure the lid with three Weck jar clips. When canning Weck jars in a boiling water bath you only use two clips, but the increased intensity of the pressure canner means that you need an additional clip to ensure that the lid stays in place. If you’re using conventional mason jars, apply lids and rings in the usual fashion.

To avoid chipping the lid with the clips, place the clip on the lid first and then push down towards the side of the jar. If you start from the side of jar and push towards the lid, you risk breakage.

jars in the canner

Once the lids are secured, lower the jars into the canner. My 16 quart canner can hold five 1/2 liter Weck jars, seven quart jars, or nine pint jars. Pour a glug of white vinegar into the pot to help keep the jars and pot clean and then lock the lid into place.

Bring the pot up to a boil and let the steam vent for at least 15 minutes. You do this by running the pot without the pressure regulator in place. That’s the little black and metal hat that sits atop the vent shaft. The reason for this is that a canner that has been properly relieved of its oxygen through venting can reach a higher temperature than one that is full of oxygen. The higher the temperature, the more effectively the canner will kill any botulism spores present.

11 pounds of pressure

Once the canner is properly vented, apply the pressure regulator and bring up to pressure. If you live at 1,000 feet elevation or below (as I do), you bring the pot up to 11 pounds of pressure. If you live at higher elevations, you need to increase your pressure (find those exact elevation adjustments here)

pressure canner working

Once the canner reaches the appropriate pressure, start your timer. If you’re working with pint or 1/2 liter jars, you process the beans for 75 minutes. If you use quart or liter jars, process for 90 minutes. Make sure to check the pressure gauge often to ensure that you’re at the proper pressure levels. If your pressure drops below the required level, you have to bring the pot back up to pressure and restart your timer.

close up black beans

Once the time is up, turn the heat off and leave the pot alone. I like to let it cool for at least an hour after the pot depressurizes, but the longer you can let it cool, the better. Even after the pot depressurizes, there is still a huge amount of heat in the jars. It’s perfectly normal for the contents of the jars to be bubbling hours after the canning process has finished.

slipping seal on Weck jar

Weck jars work really well for pressure canning, but there are a couple tricks to it. I’ve already mentioned the first, using three clips instead of two. The second is that you really must ensure that the seal is in its ideal position before you settle the lid on the jar. As you can see, my seal slipped a little with this jar. It wasn’t enough to compromise the seal, but I knew that this rubber ring wasn’t as perfectly positioned as the rest when that jar went into the canner. I got lucky and didn’t ruin the seal, but that won’t always be the case.

pressure canned black beans

Now, for the giveaway portion of this post, which is sponsored by Mighty Nest (they also provided the Weck jars you’ve seen pictured throughout this post). They are offering one lucky Food in Jars reader a chance to win one dozen 1/2 Liter Weck jars (I like these jars for canning beans because hold about the same volume of beans that you get from a store bought can) and a 6 quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven. To enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter widget below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Close Up on the New Green Heritage Jars

Green Ball Jars

Friends! I’ve finally gotten my hands on some of the new green heritage pint jars ! I’ve been on the receiving end of a goodly number of jars over the years, but I must confess, I was more than a little excited to unwrap these bad boys. They are just so pretty!

Green Ball Jars

They come in case of six jars and are packaged in the same way that the blue jars were shipped last year. The sturdy box is white and is printed in matching black and green and the jars come shrink-wrapped into it.

Green Ball Jars

The fronts have the traditional Ball imprint, along with the word Perfection (the blue jars say Perfect Mason). They come packaged with silver bands and lids, but if you’re looking for a more perfect color match, you can also get some of Ball’s new green metallic lids and rings.

Green Ball Jars

Don’t forget that these green jars are being made in both regular mouth pints and wide mouth quarts. I’ve not yet seen the quart jars in person, but I’m hoping to get my hands on some soon.

Have any of you seen these jars in person yet? What do you think?

Disclosure: The nice folks from Ball’s PR company sent me this box of green jars for photography and review purposes. 

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Links: Meyer Lemons, Pour Spouts, and Winners

Meyer lemons and kaffir lines from the Lemon Ladies! Truly the best citrus source around.

My yearly order of Meyer lemons arrived from the Lemon Ladies on Saturday and I can’t wait to dig in and preserve them in a bunch of different ways (this post details some of my favorite ways to transform them). I also have some good pieces coming up this week, including a tutorial on how to pressure can dried beans, a plan for all those questions you guys asked me in this post, a new Preserves in Action, and a peek inside one of my current favorite cookbooks. Now, links!

green heritage jars

Now it’s time to announce the winners of the new Ball Heritage Green Jars. This giveaway set an entry record for this site and I’m so happy to be able to share these jars with ten winners. And now, here they are!

If you didn’t win, fret not. I’ll have another fun giveaway on Wednesday.

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Photos from the Food in Jars Flickr Pool

Each weekend, I dig through the Food in Jars Flickr pool and feature some of your photographs here in this space. If you’d like to see your hard work on the blog, please add your images to the group! And just so you know, Instagram and camera phone images are more than welcome (and it’s easy to set up your Instagram photos to feed to a Flickr account). Here are this week’s selections.

Pinto beans

We start this photo round-up with Angela’s home-canned beans. I have a post about just this technique scheduled for later this week, so if you’re intrigued by the idea of making your own canned beans from dried, stay tuned!

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Some very pretty homemade applesauce, along with a serving suggestion (I do love the combination of oatmeal and applesauce!). This one comes to us from Meryl of My Bit of Earth.

Blend some more

Homemade mustard getting blended up (right in the jar!) from Christina of My Homespun Home. If you’ve not made your own mustard yet, I implore you to start. It’s so easy and transformative!

crabapple jelly

This image is from  Rebecca at Cakewalk and is of a batch of crabapple jelly that she made back in the the last summer. If you ask me, this is the sort of preserve that is most sustaining during the cold months – beautiful and delicious!

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Check out that stack of dilly beans from Lindsay at The Wooden Nest! This by far my favorite pickle on earth and I love seeing them in such quantity.

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The picture doesn’t say what exactly is in this jar, but I have a feeling that’s a batch of pear vanilla jam, which is one of my very favorite preserves! From Ilene of the Urban Canning Company.

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February Sponsors: Cuppow, Fillmore Container, Tradestone Confections, Preserving Now, and The Clay Studio

vday-hero-640

The’s the start of a brand new month (is it just me, or did January positively fly by?) and that means it’s time to mention and thank the current Food in Jars sponsors. These are the companies make it possible for me to spend time testing recipes, writing tutorials, and answering canning questions and I am grateful for their support.

In the top spot is jar accessory maker Cuppow! They are the creator of the original mason jar travel mug topper and, more recently, of the BNTO, a cup that fits into a wide mouth mason jar and transforms it into a lunch box. If your sweetie is a jar lover, make sure to visit their shop for Valentine’s Day inspiration.

Next up is our friends at Fillmore Container. They sell all manner of canning jars and lids, as well as a handful of books and jar accessories. They’re a family-owned business based in Lancaster, PA and they happily work with home canners and commercial producers alike. If you’re looking for some jar-based Valentine’s Day ideas, they’ve got ‘em!

New to the site is Tradestone Confections. They make artisan chocolates in downtown Conshohocken, Pennsylvania (not too far at all from Food in Jars HQ!). Their line of handmade barks, truffles, gift assortments, bars, and caramels are available in their storefront or can be ordered online. Special for Valentine’s Day is their Love Collection (pictured above) which will make make your honey’s holiday sweet indeed.

I’m also happy to welcome Preserving Now back! Operated by Lyn Deardorff, Preserving Now is both a website and school dedicated to helping people expand their canning and preserving skills. If you’re in the Atlanta area, make sure to check out her schedule of upcoming classes and events!

The Clay Studio is back with us again! This Philadelphia-based non-profit was founded in 1974 and is dedicated to affirming the importance of the ceramic arts. They work to make clay an accessible medium to a broad range of people. I regularly drool over the many gorgeous pieces in their shop.

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Preserves in Action: Quick Blender Salsa

blender salsa above

Every summer, I make at least a dozen jars of salsa (my very favorite is the roasted corn salsa which is in my first book). As much as I try to ration those jars out across the year, they always run out too darned fast. As things stand now, I have two lone jars left that I’m saving for special snacking occasions.

However, when it comes to salsa, not all is lost when the homemade stash runs out. I still have at least 15 quarts of whole peeled tomatoes left from last summer’s canning sessions and so have been making batch after batch of blender salsa to satisfy my dipping needs.

chips and salsa side

I published my favorite recipe for blender salsa in a Super Bowl snacks piece on Table Matters about this time last year and it remains my go-to. The only change I make is that I drain a quart jar of whole peeled tomatoes (because I pack mine in water) and use them in place of the 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes. You can use either, depending on what you’ve got in your pantry.

I pour it on scrambled eggs, I use it as a braising medium for chicken thighs, and I scoop it into my mouth with tortilla chips (preferably the freshly fried chips from Tortilleria San Roman in South Philadelphia). And it’s a very good way to press your home canned tomatoes into action.

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