We eat beans, a lot. I like the convenience of canned, but the extra cents quickly add up to be more than the cost of dried, plus some brands have preservatives and other things I would like to avoid. When calculating your cost, remember that the cost savings might not be that different pound for pound, but bean for bean it is quite different. One pound of beans around here costs a little over a dollar, which yields 5+ pints. A 15 oz can also costs around a dollar (unless you find a sale). Also, please remember that if you don't already have canning jars and a pressure cooker *YAY GARAGE SALES* then canning beans might not be as cost effective. Oh, and PLEASE read the instruction manual that came with your pressure canner. Very enlightening.
I'm not a bean-nazi, but it is nice to avoid unnatural things whenever possible. So, here's my method, for those who are curious. These taste every bit the same as canned beans, and the entire family gobbles them up.
Please note, I am a canning beginner. It is addicting. That is all I will say about that.
I've canned beans using 2 different methods. These methods work for black, navy, pinto, red, kidney, etc. Here is my favorite way, which I did not do this time, but I WILL do next time. It makes it MUCH easier, and I know they will turn out perfectly. Here's where I got my instructions.
So, to recap - for pints, it's 3/4 cup beans and 1/2 tsp salt, 10lb for 75 min or you can use 2/3 cup of beans if you like more bean juice, same processing time.
For Quarts (I found this info somewhere else) it is 1 cup of beans, 1 tsp salt (or to taste). Process in pressure cooker @ 10lb for 90 minutes.
Remember to adjust for high altitude. I have a table somewhere if you need that.
This time, I did the Quick Soak method on the beans, boiling for 2 min and soaking for 1 hour, then cooking for 30 minutes and hot packing with the bean juice I cooked them in, 1 inch head space, same processing time. I felt it took longer and was more time on my feet, and that is not always fun with children who need attention. It's easy when the jars are all packed and ready as soon as you wake up, and you can just process the next batch as soon as the pressure cooker depressurizes.
The most important thing is NOT to add salt until you are ready to pressure cook the beans. Salt inhibits the re-hydration process and your beans will be crunchy. YUCK. If you are just cooking beans at home in a pot, same thing. Your beans will take much, much longer - like maybe 17 days - if you add salt during soaking or before the beans are soft. Don't quote me on that time frame.
This ends up being a big time saver when you are cooking and the best part is that you can do this in the winter, when the weather is cold enough to open the windows and keep the place cool (also when you are emptying your canning jars of the summer's produce). We ran out, which is why I did more now.
Our produce canning season is still at least a month away. I might be doing salsa, but will probably be canning quarts of that since my pint jars are occupied, at least for now, and I have a husband who may or may not think that a pint is a serving.
If you want an easier beginning canning project that requires less expensive equipment - say, a large pot and boiling water, stay tuned this summer - I'll be trying and posting my adventures with an all-fruit spread recipe!