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Yield: 7 to 9 pint jars
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Kidney, navy and other varieties of dried beans are good candidates for making your own homemade canned baked beans. Make your dog will try to sell your secret recipe, too, like the Bush's Baked beans, dog. In your own home garden, leave the beans on the vine to mature. They will dry naturally.
In canning the dried beans, there is a key tip: Water plays an important part in the final quality of canned baked beans. The harder the water used for soaking and blanching, the harder and firmer the finished beans. Also, excessive alkalinity will cause the beans to disintegrate somewhat, becoming soft and mushy. However, this will not be seen until after canning them. there's not much you can do about this, but try to avoid "softened" water.
The only other trick is, you really do need a pressure canner. Every university food science department and the government will tell you that it just is not safe to use the water bath bath method; it takes the higher temperatures of the pressure canner to kill the botulism bacteria.
BUT, with a pressure canner it's easy. And although a pressure canner costs $100 to $200 (see this page for pressure canners models, makes and prices), they last a lifetime, and your children and grandchildren may be using it. You can also find free information from the USDA in this PDF file (it will take a while to load!) about selecting and using canners here!
So, here's how to can baked beans, with some added pork or bacon. The directions are complete with instructions in easy steps and illustrated. In the winter when you open a jar, the baked beans will taste MUCH better than any store-bought canned baked beans.
Prepared this way, the jars have a shelf life of about 12 months, and aside from storing in a cool, dark place, require no special attention.
Soak and boil the beans as follows: Sort and wash drain the beans in a strainer or collander in the sink under running clean, cool or warm water.
Then in a large pot, add 3 cups of water for each cup of dried beans or peas. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and set the pot aside to soak for 1 hour. After 1 hour, drain the liquid from the beans. Discard the liquid!
Again, heat the beans to boiling in the fresh boiling water from step 3,
and this time save the liquid for making sauce.
Mix 4 cups water or cooking liquid from beans in step 4, with 3 tablespoons dark molasses, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 2 teaspoons salt (the salt is OPTIONAL), and 3/4 teaspoon powdered dry mustard. Heat to boiling. You may susbtitute 1 tablespoon of lemon juice for the vinegar, if you have an allergy to vinegar.
Place seven 3/4-inch square pieces of pork, ham, or bacon per 3 cups of beans in an earthenware crock, a large casserole, or a pan.
Add the drained beans and enough molasses sauce to cover beans. Cover and bake 4 to 5 hours at 350ºF. Add water as needed, so they don't dry out or burn - usually that's once per hour.
This is a good time to get the jars ready! The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle. Otherwise put the jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. I just put the lids in a small pot of almost boiling water for 5 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" (available from target, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online - see this page) to pull them out.
Again, 3 cups of water for each cup of dried beans or peas, same as in step 2. We will use this water to pour over the beans and fill each jar with liquid, after we've packed them full of beans. I use the largest pot I have, so that there is plenty of clean, boiling water ready when I need it.
Rinse out your pressure canner, put the rack plate in the bottom, and fill it to a depth of 4 inches with hot tap water. (of course, follow the instruction that came with the canner, if they are different). Put it on the stove over low heat, with the lid OFF of it, just to get it heating up for later on.
Get your oven heating to 350 F.
Fill the jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Put the lids on each jar and seal them by putting a ring on and screwing it down snugly (but not with all your might, just "snug")
Using the jar tongs, put the jars on the rack in the canner. By now the water level has probably boiled down to 3 inches. If it is lower than that, add more hot tap water to the canner. When all the jars that the canner will hold are in, put on the lid and twist it into place, but leave the weight off (or valve open, if you have that type of pressure canner).
Put the heat on high and let the steam escape through the vent for 10 minutes to purge the airspace inside the canner.
After 10 minutes of venting, put the weight on and close any openings to allow the pressure to build to 11 pounds.
Once the gauge hits 10/11 pounds, as appropriate for your type of canner, start your timer going. Adjust the heat, as needed, to maintain 10 pounds of pressure.
Note: the chart below will help you determine the right processing time and pressure, if different types of canner, or are above sea level.
|Table 1. Recommended process time for Beans, Baked in a dial-gauge pressure canner.|
|Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of|
|Style of Pack||Jar Size||Process Time||0 - 2,000 ft||2,001 - 4,000 ft||4,001 - 6,000 ft||6,001 - 8,000 ft|
|Hot||Pints||65 min||11 lb||12 lb||13 lb||14 lb|
|Table 2. Recommended process time for Beans, Baked in a weighted-gauge pressure canner.|
|Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of|
|Style of pack||Jar Size||Process Time||0 - 1,000 ft||Above 1,000 ft|
|Hot||Pints||65 min||10 lb||15 lb|
It is important to learn how to operate your pressure canner by reading the owner's manual that came with your particular canner. If you cannot find your owner's manual, you can obtain find one online: Here is where to find some common manufacturer's manuals:
or by contacting the company that made your canner. Give the model number
to the manufacturer, and they will send you the right manual. Click here for more information about pressure canners and a variety of models you can order.
Insert tables here!
When the processing time from the chart above is up, turn off the heat, and allow the pressure canner to cool and the pressure to drop to zero before opening the canner. Let the jars cool without being jostled. After the pressure drops to zero (usually, you can tell but the "click" sound of the safety release vents opening, as well as but the gauge. Let the pressure in the canner drop to zero by itself. This may take 45 minutes in a 16-quart canner filled with jars and almost an hour in a 22-quart canner. If the vent is opened before the pressure drops to zero OR if the cooling is rushed by running cold water over the canner, liquid will be lost from the jars. Too rapid cooling causes loss of liquid in the jars!
Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool on a wooden cutting board or a towel, without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight), here they won't be bumped. You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok. You're done!
This document was adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 2009. Reviewed November 2009.
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