How to Can Homemade Baked Beans
Why Baked Beans?
Last year, my husband and I created some amazing baked beans. They were absolutely delicious. Since then we have thought about these beans and, when we got a pressure canner, we thought these baked beans would be the perfect thing to can. They make a huge batch of beans (more than we can eat between the two of us) and by canning them it makes it possible for us to enjoy them all summer long but we only have to make them once!
Canning Baked Beans
This is really a two part process. The first part is cooking the baked beans, getting them ready to be canned. The next part is the actually canning process. I will walk you through both processes.
The first part, the baked beans recipe, is optional. You can use your favorite baked beans recipe and run with it. It would probably be best if you stick to recipes that use regular kidney beans, great northern beans, etc. I would not use recipe that uses canned pork n' beans as part of the recipe. That is my personal opinion, though. I don't like my beans to be extremely mushy and that would most likely be the result.
The second part, the canning process, is fairly similar from canner to canner. The biggest difference will be the amount of time to cook and the pounds pressure required. I highly recommend that you look at the instructions for your pressure canner to make sure that you are doing it correctly.
Sweet Baked Beans
- 12 ounces bacon, thick cut, cut into 1/4
- 6 (about 7 cups) medium onions, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 (15 ounces) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 2/3 cup molasses
- 3/4 cup barbecue sauce, choose your favorite (I like more sweet than savory)
- 3/4 cup ketchup
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoons prepared mustard
- 3 tablespoons dry mustard
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- to taste Salt and Pepper
Gather It All Together
While the Bacon Cooks
While the bacon is cooking, this is a good time to get your beans rinsed and drained as well as gather up all the ingredients you need for the sauce.
- Cut up the onions, bell peppers, and garlic cloves. 6 onions are a lot, so we used a mandolin to help. Once they are chopped, set them aside while you cook the bacon.
- In a large pot, cook the bacon over low-medium heat to render the fat. "Render the fat" means to cook bacon over low temps until the fat has pretty much melted off the meat and all that is left is deliciously crispy bacon. This can take up to fifteen minutes. When the bacon is done, you want to reserve some of the fat to help cook the vegetables. You want at least 1/4 cup of fat (I know this sounds like a lot, but you are cooking a lot of vegetables). I find the easiest way to get the fat out of the pan is to use a paper towel and soak it up. This way it is easy to dispose of and I don't have to get any other dishes dirty.
- Add the onion, pepper, and garlic. Cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes
- Finally, add the beans and all the ingredients for the sauce. At this point you can taste the beans and decide if you like the sauce or not. You can always add more mustard, ketchup, etc. Whatever you need to make it the flavor you want.
- Cook the beans for about 15-20 minutes. It should thicken slightly. I always like to give it one final taste to make sure it really is the flavor I want. Also, I just like to taste it.
The first step to canning is to make sure that you have everything you need, especially jars. You can use any kind of canning jars as long as they are not damaged in any way (no nicks or cracks). For this recipe, I used Wal-Mart's brand of glass jars. Ball's jars look prettier, but they are also more pricey. Since one of the objects of canning is to save money, I figure the less money spent on jars the better. We use pint jars for the beans because it is only the two of us so we don't need large jars of beans. However, you can easily use quart jars as well. If you are reusing canning jars, don't forget to replace the the lids (the flat metal part of the lid). You can reuse the rings, but it is not recommended that you reuse the lids. They might not reseal properly.
Let's Get Canning!
Now I will walk you through the process of canning the beans. Like I stated before, please refer to your instruction booklet that comes with your pressure canner to make sure that you use the correct times and pounds pressure.
Step One: Wash Everything!
When it comes to canning, I get very particular about making sure that everything is clean and sterilized. Technically, if you are pressure canning you don't need to sterilize your jars. However, I figure it won't hurt. To sterilize in the dishwasher, simple put the jars in the dishwasher and put them through a wash cycle, finishing with a heat dry. If you don't have a dishwasher, then sterilize following these instructions.
Wash the lids and rings with hot soapy water. Then heat a pan of water just to boiling, pull it off the heat, and put the lids and rings into the water.
Also, make sure you wash anything else you will use in the canning process (the funnel, ladle, etc.)
Get Lids Hot
Step Two: Get Set Up
Now you need to make sure that you get everything set up. Put the canner on the stove, get the water you need for the canner ready to go, and set up your canning station.
I organize my canning station by, first, placing the jars on a dish towel. This helps make clean up easier. Then I put the funnel, magnetic lid lifter, and headspace tool next to the jars. Next I put the food to be canned (in this case the beans) and the lids on the table. Finally, I make sure that I have a wet dishcloth so that I can wipe the jars down.
Fill the Jar
Step Three: Fill the Jars!
This is one of my favorite parts of this process. It is also very important that it is done correctly. Here is this step broken down:
- Place the funnel on the jar and start ladling beans into the jar.
- Fill it until there is 1" headspace left. I love my headspace tool to help me with this process.
- Next, using the other end of the headspace tool or a knife, make sure that there are no bubbles in the jar. You do this by running the tool or knife around the inside of the jar.
- Then wipe down the rim of the jar, making sure there is no food on the edges.
- Finally, using the magnetic lid lifter, lift out the lid and ring, put them on the jars and tighten. You want it finger tight. This means you want it snug but not so tight that it will be impossible to open later.
Filled and Ready to Go!
Jars in Canner
In the Pressure Canner
Step Four: Pressure Can the Beans
Place the jars on the rack in the canner and add hot water (also add 1 tablespoon vinegar if you want to prevent water stains, especially if you have hard water). The jars can touch each other. Then close the canner. With the pressure control off, you want to heat the water on high until the steam comes out of vent tube. Let the steam vent for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, place the pressure control on the vent tube (be careful here! You instructions should have a suggestion on how to place the control without burning yourself). My pressure canner has an automatic pressure control so I simply have to place it so that the pounds pressure I want is facing down. Others are different, so always double-check.
After the control is placed, wait until is starts to jiggle vigorously. Then reduce the heat so that it only jiggles about 3-4 times a minute. When this happens, set the timer for 75 minutes. Now all you have to do is wait!
The Finished Product
Step Five: Finish It Up!
When the beans are done processing, remove the canner from the heat and let it cool. This can take up to an hour depending on the size of your canner. When the pressure is fully down, remove the control and carefully remove the lid.
This is where the jar lifter comes in handy. Use it to remove the jars from the canner then set the jars on a cooking rack or some dishtowels. Let the jars cool completely. As they do you will probably hear the lids pop as they seal.
After 12 hours it is usually a good idea to remove the seals and make sure that the jars are properly sealed. You do this by tapping the lid. If it does not move, then it has been properly sealed. If it does move, then that means that it did not seal. If this happens, then you should put in the fridge and eat it soon.
|Serving size: 1/2 cup|
|Calories from Fat||36|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 4 g||6%|
|Carbohydrates 69 g||23%|
|Sugar 35 g|
|Protein 13 g||26%|
|Sodium 681 mg||28%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
And there you have it! Canned baked beans. Very simple and easy to do. The canning process does take time, but it is well worth the effort. The beans are delicious and fairly inexpensive to make. As I said earlier, you could easily use a different recipe for the beans. That is your choice. Regardless of which recipe you use, I guarantee you that you will have a great sense of accomplishment and pride in your finished product.
I Would Love to Hear
Please let me know how your canning experience goes in the comments section below!