Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

Canning beans

I keep canning year round.  I enjoy it and it saves me money.  In Winter I switch to foods like dry beans and soups and I still can what we get from the mobile food bank.

Several weeks ago I had bought bags of dry beans from the discount bin at Kroger.  That store is no longer carrying dry beans except for a few bags of pinto and black beans in the ethnic food isle.   I bought several bags of different kinds.

We used to get dry beans in food bank boxes.  I haven’t seen any for a really long time.  I never saw anyone picking up food turn down or give away dry beans. So, if you are ever in need of an idea for a donation to your food bank. Dry beans would work.

I really like having canned beans ready to open, heat, and eat. I can them often.  The cost  of canned from the store is hovering around a dollar a can.  I save money by canning these myself.  Yesterday I decided to can 16 bean soup.

Food and kitchen 2015 063I took out a bag of Lima beans just in case the bean soup did not fill up the canner.  I don’t soak or pre-cook the beans.  I do what is called a dry pack.  The beans must be pressure canned for 90 minutes. That’s pressure cooking them in jars for all that time.  Putting beans in the jars unsoaked and uncooked makes them come out just right when finished.

I picked through then rinsed the beans really well.  As I was doing that I kept thinking if anyone wanted to grow a large variety of beans in their back yard garden, buying a bag of bean soup mix would give them a variety of 16 types.  I noticed is the soup mix no longer has chick peas in it.

Food and kitchen 2015 050Normally I put the beans in half pint size jars which is one serving size. I’m running short on the small jars so I’m using the regular pint size until some of the smaller ones are emptied.  I put 1/2 cup dry bean mix into each pint jar.  Fill with hot water and process as required.

Food and kitchen 2015 065As you can see, the beans swell as they cook which fills the jar.  Just open, heat, and eat.  No need to rinse off any of that “can taste” stuff you get with store bought canned beans.

I use half regular jar lids and half Tattler reusable lids.  Why?  Well, just in case I decide to enter some of my canning in the fair.  The rules say “regular metals lids only, no other type accepted” so these would work.

Now the only thing left is to remove the rings, wash the jars, add a date label, and add them to my inventory.

3 comments on “Canning beans

  1. Nathalie
    January 13, 2015

    I just got a pressure cooker for Christmas. Could I put the jars in the pressure cooker? Do you put the lids on prior to cooking or after? I’ve never canned anything in my life!

    • Na Na
      January 13, 2015

      No you can’t use a pressure cooker for canning. Don’t try it. A pressure cooker does NOT create high enough pressure for canning. Only a pressure canner made for canning should be used for the canning. That’s not to say you can’t still can some foods to save money. I suggest that if you are really interested in canning something start with a “Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving” and do water bath canning until you are familiar (and very confident) before you go to pressure canning. The ball book can be found at most grocery or department stores that sell the canning lids. I bought one for a neighbor for about 6 dollars a couple of years ago. The book goes into details about supplies you need and methods of canning. It also details food poisoning if not done properly.

      Oh, by the way, the lids go on before the canning process.

      • Nathalie
        January 13, 2015

        Thanks! I did read the manual to the pressure cooker and it said to NOT use it for canning. Coincidentally, I do have a copy of “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving” that I bought myself for Christmas! I had borrowed it from the library and decided that it seemed to be a good reference book to have if I ever got brave enough to start canning. Thanks for reminding me, I kind of had forgotten about it. I will crack it open and see what it says about water bath canning.

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