This is a time of year when the canner sits idle. The summer garden with its bounty of beans, peas and tomatoes to be canned, is gone. The fall garden, with beets, carrots and mustard greens to be canned isn’t quite ready. This is a time when I can take advantage of the cooler temps and can some dried beans. Why can dried beans?
- A lot of them are cooked at once and then all I have to do is open a jar, season them and heat them up. We love all beans and it seems crazy to me to cook half a one pound bag at a time. Even then, we have leftovers so cooking a lot of them at once and canning them makes sense.
- Dried beans are a good staple to have in my preparedness efforts and I still keep pounds and pounds of them in my stockpile but in an event without power, it would be so much easier to open a jar vs. cooking from the dried state.
Over the weekend, while Vince and I were grocery shopping, I had one can of black beans on my grocery list. I had used my last jar of home canned black beans about a month ago and just hadn’t gotten around to canning more. One can of black beans here ranged from 85¢ to $1.25, depending on the brand. That was a reminder to cook up a couple of batches of dried black beans and get them canned. A 2 pound bag of Casserole brand dried black beans was about $2.50 and though there were less expensive beans, I opted for the Casserole brand. I got the equivalent of 21 pints (17 pints/2 quarts) out of those two bags. All I added was salt. Depending on what I’m using the beans for, I’ll season some of them differently when I cook them. Except for the cost of the propane used, and it didn’t take much, the cost per pint is a bit less than 24¢. Home canned! No weird ingredients! No preservatives! Just beans, water and a bit less than 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sound like a good deal to anyone besides me?
But, why stop with the black beans? I had never used my new big canner that I bought a good while back. I got the All American 30 quart and, after using it for two batches yesterday, I love it!
My old Presto on the right, the new All American on the left. Here’s my review of the All American after using it for two batches of beans. It’s heavy — real heavy. For me to bring it over to the house from the upstairs storage room, I had to carry the lid and go back and get the bottom. But, heavy and big is what makes it good. You will notice that it has the weighted gauge and the dial gauge. The first batch, I had it loaded . . stacked to capacity (14 quarts). The second batch was only 9 quarts. The weighted gauge was quite noisy throughout the second batch. I’m not sure if it’s because the canner wasn’t full but if Vince had been home, it would have aggravated him. I love that I can process 14 quarts at once. The beans had to process for 1-1/2 hours and it was nice to be able to do double the amount that I can do in the Presto canner.
Also, with the Presto canner, I struggle to keep the pressure at 10 pounds. I often have to turn the burner completely off for a second because the pressure is creeping upward toward 15 psi even with the burner as low as it will go. With the All American, I found a spot, not even all the way to low, where the canner maintained 10 psi. By the time the second batch was processing, I was completely confident to sit and knit and check on the canner every 15 minutes or so, without having to stand there and watch it constantly, like I pretty much have to do with the Presto.
I canned 8 pounds of pinto beans and 4 pounds of black beans. That came out to 17 pints of black beans, 2 quarts of black beans and 21 quarts of pinto beans.
That’s a lot of beans!