About 8 weeks ago, as spring was first beginning to open her eyes to 2015, my newest gadget arrived on my doorstep – my All American Pressure Canner, now affectionately named by the family as The Beast. Excited to learn something new, I began perusing Pinterest for pressure canning tips and recipes, all while keeping this large canning monster in my dining room. As fate would have it, I ended up having several rounds of both dinner guests and overnight guests during this time and, having not yet found a permanent home for The Beast, I continued to transfer it from living room to dining room, depending on what space was needed for company. At one desperate point I even tossed a placemat on top of The Beast’s box and topped it with a few books, hoping it would look like an end table. Fail.
But with the passing of time my curiosity increased and my bravery settled in. It was time to conquer The Beast. I decided my first attempt needed to be a relatively inexpensive experiment so that, if not successful, at least I did not break the bank. Thus, canning dried beans became my first pressure canning project.
I had acquired some beautiful organic pinto beans from Fresh Fork Market, directly sourced from the Shagbark Seed & Mill in Athens, Ohio. Being assured by several Pinterest authors that canning dried beans was fool-proof, I spent a cool-weather May day canning pints of pinto beans that will later become the refried beans my family enjoys often. Yes, this was not as hard as I thought it would be…and no, the pressure canner did not explode (insert sigh of relief here!)
Here are a few pictures of the pinto bean canning process:
After sorting and rinsing the beans, I placed 1/2 cup beans in each pint jar, followed by 1/2 tsp. salt. Then I added hot water to the jars, filling up to the neck of the jar. Once I added the prepared lids (following the typical canning instructions), the jars were ready to be placed in The Beast.
After placing the jars in the pressure canner (following the canner instructions carefully), I secured the lid, heated it up, allowed the steam to vent for 10 minutes as instructed, and then maintained an 11 lb pressure for 75 minutes. Once this time had been completed and the canner was completely cooled down, I lifted the canned pints of pinto beans out of The Beast.
Several recipes I looked at said the beans will continue to puff up as they settle. These have a shelf life of one year without losing nutritional value. Organic refried beans are now ready and waiting in my cupboard for our next Mexican Night!
With Round One finished, I am even more excited to attempt pressure canning some additional recipes. Stay tuned for updates on future projects with The Beast – I am hoping to can fresh peas soon!