Thursday, March 8, 2012

Canning is messy.... can clean up later.
This is not a canning tutorial....there are plenty of those online.  I'm hoping to show you that it is easier than you think....just messy.  Nothing that a sponge or a rag can't handle in a few minutes.  It also can save you a bunch of money while allowing you to use whole, organic foods.

I don't do as much canning as I used to, since canned foods are the home version of over-processed foods and are devoid of many nutrients.  However, the convenience and money-saving aspect is not to be denied, so I can a few items that would normally be thoroughly cooked even if not canned.  Be sure to eat any canned foods along with some enzyme and probiotic rich foods, such as fresh, raw veggies or fermented condiments.

It is very handy to have a supply of cooked, recipe-ready beans available.  You can also freeze them in containers if you don't want to can.....freezer space is at a premium here, so I can them.  One pint jar of black beans is perfect for the recipe in my next article, that you don't want to miss.  Trust me.  Don't miss it.  All of you who are attempting to improve your health through food will weep tears of joy at my next recipe.....even those, like me, who are generally unimpressed with beans.

Canning beans starts the previous day by soaking the beans in filtered water or well water.  I used six pounds of organic black beans that I bought in bulk for $1.50 per pound and stored in glass jars.  I inspected them for small stones (tossed a few) and filled a large stock pot with water, a glug of whey, and rinsed beans, put the cover on, and let it sit for 24 hours.  Then I drained and rinsed them thoroughly, throwing the soaking water out.  This neutralizes some of the phytates and makes the beans more digestible.

Then I simply put the soaked beans back in the pot with plenty of fresh water and simmered them for 30 minutes while I set up my canner and put some pint jars into the oven to heat up at 215 F.  You can boil the jars, but I find it easiest to either put them in the dishwasher or into the oven.

Then I simply ladled the hot beans into the jars, added some of the murky bean water, filling them to one inch below the rim.  A standard canning funnel will mark that line for you....just fill until the beans come to the bottom of the funnel.
Wipe the rim of the jar, and put the lids on, tighten the rings that hold them in place, then loosening the ring by 1/4 inch.
I used BPA-free lids and rings from Tattler's.  Love these lids!  You can use them over and over, just replacing the rubber rings when they get brittle.  If you store them well, they should last many years.
I store mine in an air-tight jar to make them last longer...the rings, that is.  Most of the white lids are stored in their original boxes, but when the boxes fall apart, I put them into a canning jar....once a jar gets the smallest chip on the rim, it will no longer seal properly, and is perfect for storing things in. 
As the jars were filled, I set them in the canner, making a double layer of jars.  Then I processed them for 75 minutes, cleaning up the kitchen while I monitored the pressure and fiddled with the heat to keep the pressure between 11 and 12 lbs.
I can fit 20 pint jars into each of my two canners....unless I use Golden Harvest brand jars.  One snuck into this batch (grrrrr!) so I only fit 19 jars into one canner and had too few beans left to justify firing up the second canner.  The last of the beans will be frozen in portions and used first.  I had to cook them, and they are cooling on the porch now.  I'll guess that there are enough leftover beans to fill 4-5 jars, although I'll bag them for the freezer. 
After 24 hours of cooling, I'll remove the metal rings and test the seal by lifting each jar by the lid.  Any that are loose will go into the fridge or freezer, and the rest will be labelled and stored.

Let's do the math.  Six pounds of beans at $1.50 per pound equals $9.00 for the beans.  I made the equivalent of two dozen 15 ounce cans of organic black beans.  I rarely go into grocery stores other than to buy fresh produce and butter, and have never purchased canned organic beans, but a quick online search revealed an average price of about $2 per can.  I got $48 worth of canned beans for $9, so I made at least $20 per hour.  Without having to pay income or sales tax on that $39, I made closer to $60 for my trouble.

Run right out and get some dried beans and try cooking them from'll be amazed at how easy and satisfying it is....even if you don't can them.  You can add them to recipes such as chili, you can mash them and make bean paste or refried beans for dips and burritos and tacos, you can even ferment them!  Best of all, you can make dessert with them......stay tuned!

No comments:

Post a Comment