Can Red Beans
Edited by Roneil, Eng, Shelley
How to Can Red Beans
It's a satisfying feeling to walk into your pantry and see jars of home preserved food. It is so convenient to have prepared food on hand for nights when quick meals are needed. Preserving your own food is much healthier as well, as there are no added artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. You might think that it's hard and expensive to can your own prepared meals, but it's not, especially after making the initial investment of a pressure canner and jars. If you can cook, you won't have any trouble learning how to can.
Louisiana style red beans or baked beans are just two things you can have prepared and ready in your pantry for a quick fix dinner.
Preparing the Beans
- 1Whenever you are preparing dried beans for cooking, you want to sort through them and pick out any that are broken or discolored. Sometimes little stones get packaged in with the beans, so look carefully for those as well.Advertisement
- 2The night before you want to can the beans, pour two pounds of sorted dried beans into a colander and rinse them thoroughly. Place the sorted and rinsed beans into a large crockpot, a 5 or 6 quart crockpot is necessary. You will need more room than you think since the beans will expand as they absorb the liquid. Cover the beans with water. Do not turn on the crockpot, but allow the beans to soak overnight or 8 to 12 hours.Advertisement
- 3The next morning, drain all the water off the beans and rinse them. You may also want to rinse out the crockpot as well.
- 4Add the beans back to the crockpot and cover with 2 quarts of beef broth. (Beef broth adds another depth of flavor to your beans instead of just plain water.) Turn the crockpot on high and allow the beans to soften even more. You want them to be just about soft enough to eat. Add more beef broth as necessary. This will take about three to four hours, keeping in mind that the time will vary some depending on your particular crockpot.
- 5Test a bean about every thirty minutes or so to see how they are coming along. The skins cracking is a good clue that the beans are just about ready to use.
- 1As with any recipe, gathering up your ingredients makes cooking easier. This takes a little forethought, but it is worth the effort. If you want to can baked beans, you will need 2 pounds of dried beans (rinsed, soaked, and softened from the above step), 1 cup of ketchup, 1 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons mustard, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 pound of cooked and crumbled bacon, and 1 teaspoon hot sauce.
Preparing the Jars
- 1Soak your canning jars in hot water and wash carefully. You can purchase a scrub brush that will reach all the way to the bottom of the jar. Both quart and pint size jars will work when canning red beans. You can choose the size of jars you want to use depending on the size of your family.
- 2Inspect the jars to make sure they are perfectly clean and do not have any cracks or chips. Chips in the glass around the rim of the jar will prevent proper sealing.
- 3If you are unfamiliar with canning, a good article to help get you started with the basics can be found here Can Your Own Food Safely.
Preparing the Canner
- 1Prepare your pressure canner according to the manufacturer's instructions. It is imperative that you follow those instructions exactly to ensure proper sealing of the jars to prevent spoilage of your food. You must use a pressure canner when canning anything containing meat or low acid foods.
- 2Read through your pressure canner's instructions completely so that you know the different steps you need to take when processing your food. Every canner brand and size varies a little bit in the directions.
Baked Beans (Makes approximately 10 pints)
- 1If you are just canning the beans, this would be the time to proceed with the canning process. Jump ahead to the "Filling the Jars" section.
- 2However, if you want to can baked beans, this is when you would add additional ingredients to your plain beans. Cut 1 pound of bacon into pieces and fry with one cup of chopped onion, drain the grease and add the bacon and onion mixture right into the crockpot with the beans.
- 3Also add 1 ½ cups brown sugar (you could also use molasses or a combination of molasses and brown sugar), 2 teaspoons of salt, 2 teaspoons of mustard, 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, and 1 teaspoon hot sauce.
- 4Mix all of the ingredients together thoroughly. Taste to see if there needs to be any adjustments to suit your tastes.
- 5Skip ahead to the "Filling the Jars" section to can the baked beans.
Louisiana Style Beans (Makes approximately 7 quarts)
- 1You could also choose to can Louisiana style red beans. These are a little bit spicy, and with the addition of rice, makes a complete meal. First of all, make sure your crockpot is big enough to hold all of the beans and the rest of the remaining ingredients. If you are unsure, transfer the beans from the crockpot to a larger stock pot, place on the stove, and then add the rest of the ingredients.
- 2Cook up the bulk sausage, making sure to break it up into small pieces as it cooks. Drain the grease from the sausage and then add the drained meat to the beans.
- 3Cut up the vegetables and the ham and add them to the pot. Add all your herbs and seasonings.
- 4Stir all the ingredients to mix everything together well. Allow the mixture to heat through. You do not need to cook the vegetables completely at this point as they will continue to cook throughout the canning process.
- 5Since all the foods are safe to eat at this point, this is a good time for you to taste test your Louisiana style red beans. Feel free to add more salt, pepper, or cayenne pepper to suit your personal tastes if desired. You don't want to process an entire batch of food that you don't like the taste of. This is where you will add more salt, if necessary.
Filling the Jars
- 1Use a wide mouth funnel and a ladle to help you get the food into the jars, making as little mess as possible. Placing your jars on a towel when filling them helps to absorb any spillage and keep your jars from slipping and sliding on your work surface.
- 2You also want to make sure that there is plenty of liquid in each jar, even if it seems like too much. The beans will continue to absorb the liquid as they process. If you have too little liquid in the jars, the beans will be very thick when you want to heat and eat them. Just make sure you leave 1 inch of head space. When filling the jars with this particular recipe, fill them all at once to make sure that all of the ingredients and the liquid are evenly distributed.
- 3Take a long wooden or plastic utensil and poke it into the jar a few times to remove any air bubbles. Never use metal as it could break the jar.
- 5Top the jars with a lid and tighten with a screw band. Place the jars in the canner.
Process the Beans
- 1Following your manufacturer's instructions for your pressure canner, process quart size jars for 95 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure. Process pint size jars for 75 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure.
- 3Allow the jars to sit on a towel, away from drafts, for 24 hours. If your jars are properly canned and sealed you should begin hearing pops. During the canning process, pressure builds up in the jar, creating a vacuum. As the jars cool, the lids pop downward, creating the desired seal. It's the happy sound of success after your labors.
- 4After 24 hours and the jars have cooled, remove the bands from the jars and test the lids to make sure they are sealed properly. You should not be able to remove the lid with your hands. If you can, either reprocess the jars using new lids, or store in the fridge and use within a few days.
- 5For jars that are properly sealed, wash the outsides to remove any traces of food that may have seeped out during processing, to prevent mold growing on the outside of the jar while in storage.
- 6Write on the top of the lid what the contents of the jar are and the date of preparation. Properly sealed jars can last for years, but if you can a great deal from one year to the next, you want to use up your oldest canned food first.
- 7Store your jars in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight.
- 1To eat the baked beans, open a jar, heat through, and enjoy.
- 2To eat the red beans, open a jar, heat through, remove any bay leaves, and serve over cooked white rice.