Food Preservation: Canning Pinto & Black Beans

I know….you’re surprised to see me. It’s been a while. I thought I would never see the light after the last few weeks of school…class parties and programs and sewing for La Fiesta…and then I got sick. Like in bed for three days sick. Most people probably never get overwhelmed….but I have to clear my plate when I am, otherwise I am a rabbit frozen in the headlights and I get NOTHING done…like nothing.

But I’m back and ready to share some things I’ve done and learned since I last posted.

Let’s start with beans….I have had “Canning dry beans” on my to-do list for a good long while. But it was intimidating. It appeared to take a lot of time. And it was intimidating.

I finally got around to trying it last week, and let me tell you….I am so excited about it. Throwing everything in the crockpot in the morning is great, and freezing the extra is great, but having bottles of already cooked beans downstairs in my pantry….that whip up into the loveliest re-fried beans in minutes….well, that’s just awesome.

I’ll talk you through the process (I used the Ball Blue Book of Food Preservation…the canning bible).


First you want to take your beans and rinse and sort them. Put them in the bottom of a large pot and cover by two inches with cold water. Bring them to a boil and cover and remove from the heat for 1 hour.



After the hour, rinse and drain the beans and cover again by two inches with cold water. Bring back to a boil and boil gently for 30 minutes.



While your beans are boiling, you’ll wanna get all your stuff ready. You’ll need:
Clean mason jars

Lids (new) and rings (can be reused, just avoid bent and rusted rings)- wash with dishsoap, rinse and add to a pan of almost simmering water for at least 10 minutes prior to use, to soften the sealing compound.
a lid lifter (optional)
a tool to measure headspace (optional)

canning salt (optional)
a pressure canner (NOT optional)



I like to fill my clean jars with water and put them in my pressure canner (after adding the 5 cups of water recommended by the manufacturer to the bottom) and heat them along with the water so they’re nice and hot when I’m ready to fill them. This is an easy way to start with hot clean jars.



When the beans have finished their 30 minute boil, fill the jars one at a time (dumping hot water first) with the cooked beans, and then cover with the cooking liquid leaving 1 inch headspace. Use the lid lifter to slide down all the sides and press the beans against the sides of the jar to release any air bubbles. Add salt if desired. 1/2 teaspoon for pints, 1 teaspoon for quarts.

Whip the rim with a clean damp rag or damp paper towel and center the lid on the top and screw on the ring, finger tight. Place in the pressure canner and repeat with remaining jars. I found that I got 10 pints of black beans from 3 pounds of dry beans, and almost 7 quarts of pinto beans from 4 pounds of dry beans (just to give you an idea.)

It’s definitely worth filling your canner since the process time is so long.



Once you have all your jars filled, place the lid on the canner and lock it in place. Turn the heat to high. Maintain a steady stream of steam (say that five times!) for 10 minutes, and then add the pressure regulator. Watch fairly closely and begin timing when you reach the pressure recommended for your altitude. I live in Utah, so I start timing once I reach 13 lbs of pressure. You’ll need to maintain a constant vigil near the stove to adjust the heat to keep it right close to (13) but not ever falling under, or you start your time over again. Trust me….that is no fun. If you go too high, you run the risk of experiencing one of the horror stories we’ve all heard….you know…exploding lids and all that.

You’ll process (maintain 13 lbs pressure) for 75 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for quarts.

Once processing time is done, remove the canner (carefully, especially if you’ve double stacked your pints) from the heat and let sit until it comes to zero pressure on it’s own. Don’t remove the pressure gauge until the pressure dial shows a nice big “zero” pressure. Then remove the pressure regulator and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and let sit another 10 minutes. Remove jars and place in draft free place on a cloth or cutting board for 24 hours. Check to make sure all jars have sealed.



Then stand in your kitchen and do the happy dance. Take pictures of your beautiful jars of beans. Write a Domestic Goddess of the Year Award acceptance speech.

Or, you can…you know…just whip up a batch of re-fried beans and make burritos…cause those natives are getting restless.

Have YOU canned beans before? Did you like it? Would you do it again?
Leave a comment and let me know! I’d love to hear from you.

Up next? Big fat GREEN baking FAIL! Stay tuned……

2 thoughts on “Food Preservation: Canning Pinto & Black Beans

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