Are you looking to learn how to pressure can dried beans? You’ve arrived at the right place. This post will show you how to safely and easily can your beans.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
And remember. If Weck jars don’t fit your budget, the basics in this post also apply to how to pressure can dried beans in regular mason jars too. For a post that walks you through this technique using Ball canning jars, check out my post on how to can Rosemary White Bean Soup Starter.
I can’t wait to can beans….
I use beans almost daily for soups, bean cakes, spreads and sometimes just as is
I love to make coconut rice with black beans, or a sausage stir fry with cannellini beans and spinach. I’ve never thought to can my own beans — great to not have them taking up freezer space! Thank you!
I usually freeze chickpeas to roast them with garlic or shallots.
Excited to hear about this. I hate buying beans. I cooked and frozen them but that is not as convenient for use.
This is interesting. I never thought about canning dried beans. I want to avoid the linings that come in cans also. I am going to have to give this a try.
I love using canned black beans for my semi-homemade salsa. Take a can of black beans, drained. Mix it with a jar of store bought salsa, drained can of corn niblets, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, juice of one lime, and a tsp of cumin. Mix and refridgerate.
Canned beans are great in chili … sounds delicious on this cold day!
For everything! Especially veggie chili! Those jars are so lovely 🙂
I love using canned beans in soups, easy and very tasty.
My favorite way to use canned beans is in taco meat and black beans along side sweet potatoes.
Nachos of course! Easy weeknight dinner. Mmmm.
I’ve used a pressure canner before, but never to can beans. This,would be alot cheaper and easier. And i love those Weck jars, cant wait to try them!
Love them in a stew!
I love using beans in salads lately- soups too!
I love canned beans in chipotle black bean soup.
I loved canned beans for chili and hummus! These jars are oh so cute – I would love to get the chance to try them out!
Beans, beans the musical fruit. The more we eat the more we toot. The more we toot the better we feel. So let’s eat beans for every meal!
Those beans look great!
I’m ready to get some more plastic out of the house! Beans are a regular in our home.
I have been wanting to pressure can beans but haven’t gotten around to it. thanks for the boost. It is now on my short list.
and my favorite way to use canned beans…..add to Food in Jars corn salsa with cut up avocado. YUM!! I bring that to almost every gathering and my friends devour it.
Definitely chili! But I just used some yesterday to make a bean pie (think pumpkin pie but with beans)!
I really miss my moms beans. Simple pinto beans with cornbread.
I have had weck jars on my wish list for years! Fingers crossed I win!
I love to make a soup of all the leftover odds-and-ends vegetables at the end of the week, and toss in a few cans of assorted beans. I take a jar of soup for lunch everyday at work.
I am a vegetarian, so I eat my fair share of beans. I am trying to get away from canned beans, so I really enjoyed this post! Right now I’m using tons of canned beans in soup. Another favorite use is in white bean dip. This is such an awesome giveaway – thanks for the chance to win!
I love to use them in making a good hearty chili or stew for cold winter nights!
I like to substitute beans for half of the meat in tex-mex type recipes (tacos, enchiladas, etc.). I also like to make beans and rice or quesadillas as a lunch dish for the kids and me.
I’m getting a pressure canner for my birthday in early March, so I was excited to come to your website and see a post about canning beans!!
Canned beans are perfect for a quick crockpot chili.
so excited about this post! I tried pressure canning beans one last year and it was a mushy disaster! I love beans in soup.
i’m way too excited about trying this out.. canning beans!
and those jars, adorable!!
Oo–something else to try with a pressure cooker!
The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper cookbook has this amazing garlicky white bean salad recipe I’ve made so many times I don’t need the book. It’s amazing, though I recommend doubling the black pepper.
I don’t know that I could pick a favorite way to use canned beans but I probably use them most in soups (winter= soup in upstate NY).
I love cannellini beans in all sorts of soups AND on tuna salad plates. Love kidney beans, pinto’s, and speckled beans in chili, burritos, etc. and I make lots of hummus so I always have chick peas on hand.
I love to use canned black beans in vegetarian tacos. Thanks for this post!
I use canned beans to make chili! My mom’s turkey chili recipe is perfect for cold winter nights, and even better with some skillet cornbread on the side.
Would love to use these jars!
I love to make a quick and easy and hearty soup with them. Also red beans and rice!
I’ve never tried pressure canning, but I’d like to. This might be the project that gets me started.
Reading/seeing this makes me WANT to get started right NOW!!!
We use a lot of beans (especially chickpeas) in Indian meals… with a little spicy mango pickle, some papadams… yum!
I make big batches of beans every week or so, as well as a big batch of rice. Then throughout the week, all I have to do is heat up beans and rice with some home-canned salsa verde or corn relish and BAM instant meal!
You just blew my mind–had no idea that you could pressure can beans at home! And it’s silly, but I also didn’t realize the Weck jars were recommended for anything more than decorative/storage use. Awesome.
Oh I was so excited to see this post. I actually just tried canning beans for the first time last week, and after reading these step-by-step directions I now see the many things I did wrong. I had several jars that did not seal. I am fairly new to pressure canning and I was very discouraged and disappointed after my unsuccessful attempt, now I am excited to try it again! Thank you thank you!!
Minor correction….your canner is not filled with oxygen, it is filled with air, which mostly nitrogen. But you do need to get it out of there so you can increase the pressure so you can get the temperature higher than 212….better living through chemistry!
I love doing 16 bean soup.
Second time following your instructions with great results! I have a large pressure canner so I can do 16 wide mouth pints in one batch…how awesome that a few dollars of dried beans can yield enough for numerous quick weeknight meals for this busy momma!
Just enjoying preparing foo to eat later. Living the advantages of quick meals from the stores of our pantry.
The food taste so much better and you know what you are eating!
Canning dry beans is a big savings! Try it?
I didn’t know you could can beans!
I have been researching french and italian glass jars (and this is the first I’ve seen on these type of jars without all the metal hardware). It seems very expensive upfront for the jars, but also for the gaskets. I’m having a hard time rationalizing having to buy gaskets for each use. Do people buy them in bulk or what? I have dried things in ball jars with the screw on lids and reuse those and have been wanting to get into canning but it just seems hugely expensive, and i’ve been reading everything I can. Please help me understand!
You don’t necessarily have to use the gaskets just one time. I reuse mine as long as they are still in top shape. If I’m making a batch of something to give away, I use new ones.
This looks great! If I wanted to can some homemade chicken stock in the Weck 1L juice jars would they fit in the Presto canner?
I just found this page today, and I am so glad it’s here and alive. 🙂
Question: of five jars, one was not bubbling at all after removing the jars from the canner. All the jars are still bubbling half an hour after removing them from the canner except that one.
What does this lack of bubbling indicate about that jar?
Does it help to know it was not on the bottom of the canner? It was the only jar on the second tier, four on the bottom tier, one on top. The one on top was not bubbling even when I had just opened the canner after the cool down/depressurization.
They are still cooling, so I haven’t removed the clips to see if there is a seal.
The heat and pressure is the same throughout the canner, so as long as you followed the proper procedure, they should be fine.
Fantastic post. Cleared up a lot of questions for me. But I have one more: how do you stack Weck jars in two layers? Do you use a rack or simply stand them on top of each other? I ask because I presume the clips make using a rack difficult.
I don’t stack Weck jars in the canner. My Presto isn’t tall enough to hold two stacks of these jars. However, if I were to stack them, I would use a rack.
Thanks for replying. I’m a canning newbie based in Europe and Wecks are by far the cheapest and easiest jars to get hold of. But because there’s no tradition of pressure canning here, getting information is proving difficult! I’ll be having a look at your Canning 101 and ordering a Presto, but I can’t make up my mind between a 16 quart and a 23 quart. I’m a bit tempted to get the 23 quart simply because it’s tall enough to use as a water bath as well.
If you cook your beans like you’re going to eat them, with spices and they are done, can you can them with a regular water bath heat method instead of pressure??
Nope. You can never can low acid foods like beans in a boiling water bath canner. It doesn’t matter how you prepared them.
Do you heat the gaskets before putting the lids on when pressure canning like you do with water bath canning?
You really don’t need to. They’re going to get enough heat to sufficiently soften during the processing time.
I just got a new pressure canner in order to can beans. And I’m starting my Weck collection.
As a single cook I’m very interested in canning in very small jars. 1/5 or 1/4 L at most.
Can you recommend a processing time for these smaller jars, or should i treat them the same as a half liter jar?
You treat them the same as the larger jars!
One more question. When you can multiple varieties of beans how do you manage them?
I mean, do you cook one variety and set it aside (in the fridge?) while you do the next or are you juggling multiple pots on the stove at the same time?
I thought I’d get started with a pound of chickpeas and one of pintos.
I juggle multiple pots on the stove.
I have an All American Pressure Canner from 2007 and the manual indicates I should never use certain foods in it due to the foaming action of the food which includes beans (the dried variety). I have since looked at websites that show canning (dried) beans in a pressure canner but I am hesitant because I still fear it a little. It seems that canning in jars in the pressure canner is ok, but I should avoid cooking beans directly in the pressure cooker (no jars). It will be my second time using this canner. Still a bit wary. Thank you! Melissa
The National Center for Home Food Preservation says you can do it, and that’s enough for me. http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_04/beans_peas_shelled.html
I’m so glad I stumbled upon your post about using Weck jars for canning. I live in Germany and Mason jars are very expensive here. Weck jars on the other hand are cheap and available everywhere. I’ll be trying some canning very soon. Thank you
Great tips and techniques! I love white beans and black beans. Gotta get some in jars for the winter! I may add onion and garlic.
I also have the Presto 16 qt weighted gauge “WalMart special” canner, it’s the perfect size for our smaller household.
why do we have to use a completely new rubber seal each time?
Is there any reusable alternative?
How did they seal before rubber?
There really wasn’t wide spread water bath canning before rubber seals were available.
Pressure canning directions say to vent the steam for 10 minutes. Why do your directions say “at least 15 minutes”? Thanks.
Those were the directions from the documentation I was working with. By all means, follow your canner’s instructions.