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.

Chili weather

A few days ago the weather was rather cold.  Not winter time cold but cold enough to think about making chili.  I went to the pantry to get a jar of chili for a quick supper.  DUH!  I’m out of pre-made chili.  So I grab a jar of ground beef, a jar of tomatoes, a jar of mushrooms, and a can of tomato sauce to make the chili from scratch.  I reach for a jar of red beans. DUH! I don’t have any red beans for the chili.  Dang, I should have remembered that because I’ve been out of canned beans for about a month.  Then I discovered I didn’t have any chili powder either.  Defeated I made spaghetti instead.

Next day I decided I really needed to can beans.  I eat them quite often in various dishes and the convenience of jars with beans already cooked is rather nice.  No metal can taste either.

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I got out my basket with bags of beans and started picking through them.  As I was doing this it occurred to me I could greatly speed up the canning process if I picked through all of the beans ahead of time.

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Giggle, my daughter thought I was sorting beans from a bag of mixed beans. No, I’m just going through them to pick out the rocks, clumps of dirt, bug bitten ones, pieces of corn, and other debris.

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I decided to pick through all the beans I have and put them into storage containers instead of leaving them in bags.  The result is that I now have better storage for all the dry beans in my pantry. Each container holds about 6 pounds.

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The date on the label is the date I bought them, not an expiration date.  Last summer the store was clearing out their stock and would no longer be selling beans except for some in the ethnic food isle.  I got these at half price.

I canned 10 jars because my pressure canner holds ten. I did 3 kidney, 3 pinto, 3 navy, and 1 butter (lima).  This gave me an immediate variety and I’ll can more in the next few days.  I still need black beans.

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I use the dry can method which is 1/2 cup of dry beans per one pint jar. Add water and pressure can.  No pre-soaking or pre-cooking.  I leave out the salt.

8 comments on “Chili weather

  1. Amy
    November 12, 2015

    I want to do this after the first of the year. I need to get a pressure canner, so that might be a good idea for a gift suggestion. I need to be more practical. We (hubby and I) are trying to be debt free, and you are a big inspiration to me!! Thank you for your posts, and all your hard work.

    • Na Na
      November 12, 2015

      Yes, yes, and yes! Being debt free is the thriftiest thing of all. Sometimes we can’t help getting in debt due to sudden emergencies. Its staying it debt that’s just wrong.

  2. Randal Oulton
    October 6, 2015

    You are lucky your canner holds 10 pint jars. Here in Canada, the Presto 16 quart only holds 9, because the pint jars up here are bigger.

    • Na Na
      October 6, 2015

      That’s interesting. I thought jars were the same everywhere. I should have realized other places like Canada use the metric measurements don’t they? I bought one of the smaller All American canners but I’ve seen some that hold 24 and 36 pint jars. I would never be able to lift one that large to put on the stove to use it. Mine is very heavy even though its smaller.

      • Randal Oulton
        October 8, 2015

        The jar size difference is US pint (473 ml) vs metric (1/2 litre [500 ml]). So 2 tablespoons extra in the metric, and you’d never notice visually. I’m not sure if the extra 2 tablespoons means we’re lucky because we can get more in and Americans are getting ripped off, or, if it’s a curse because something about the shape or volume just takes up an extra few microns of space, crowding out a 10th jar, even though it looks like a 10th would fit in. (Though you can get a 1/2 pint jar in that wasted space.) The jars are made by Jarden, in the same factory that makes the Ball and Kerr jars, I guess they just do separate runs for the metric.

        Lucky you to have an All American. My choices were sealed because I have a glass-top stove at the present time.

        • Na Na
          October 8, 2015

          Jarden is also the company making all the metal lids these days and the lids are just a tiny bit larger than the jar. I guess every company has their own idea of size requirements. BTW did you know you don’t need to heat the lids anymore. Just use cold from the box.

          I guess I’m lucky that I had a choice of either gas or electric. I have both hook ups. I chose the gas because its best for canning and also because it will still work during a power outage.

  3. Linda S.
    October 5, 2015

    Sounds easy! I’m going to try this.

    • Na Na
      October 5, 2015

      Pressure can pints for 1 hour and 15 minutes at whatever pressure needed in your area. Don’t be tempted to add more than the 1/2 cup because the beans can swell enough to break the jar. Error on the less side.

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