Today’s Canning Chat question regards canning pinto beans. Hi there! My name is Sharon Peterson, and I’m with Simply Canning where you can find home canning tutorials, tips, tricks, recipes, and online classes. Come join me, and I’ll help you get your pantry filled.
Video Transcript – Edited for Clarity
Today’s Canning Chat question comes from my inbox. It is from Tammy in Arkansas, and she writes, “I’m canning dried Pinto beans. I understand everything about soaking, rinsing, and then cooking the beans 30 minutes. But I couldn’t find an exact measurement for how many beans go in each jar. If you fill the beans to the top, won’t they still swell, like while cooking? I have a friend who measures her 1/2 cup of dry per pint, and then fills with hot water to 1-inch space. But I wanted to do your method.” I am glad to hear that! “Can you give me an exact measurement for how many beans to put in my pint jars and then fill with the cooking liquid? I’m going to can in the morning, and I want to be sure I do it right.”
Your friend is putting dry beans in the jar, adding the hot water, and then processing it. The beans are cooking in the jar itself in the pressure canner. A lot of people do it that way. You just need to be aware that it’s not a tested method.
When they tested the methods, times, and pressure involved for Pinto or any other dried beans, they tested it with a partially cooked bean. The texture is going to be different. The density of the beans are going to be different. You can’t use those tested directions with dried beans. It hasn’t been checked. I’m glad to hear that you’re going to presoak and start from a partially cooked bean. That’s my first point.
Canning Pinto Beans: Do the Beans Swell During Canning?
Second, you’re right. The beans do tend to swell a bit in the jar. Even if you’ve done the presoak and precook, they tend to swell a bit. Be sure that you are filling your jar up to the proper headspace.
Headspace is the distance between the lid and the food in the jar. This is not a jar of beans, because I didn’t have any on my shelf, but this is a jar of jelly. The headspace is the distance between the lid and the level of the food inside the jar. With beans, you’ll have 1-inch headspace.
First, put your beans in your jar. Because the beans do tend to swell, I will leave a 2-inch headspace, or even a little bit more. I am pretty generous with that headspace when I’m doing beans, because they do tend to swell. I just have better luck this way.
However, be sure that your liquid is up to the proper headspace. Your beans will be at a 2-inch headspace, and then your water will be above that, up to a 1-inch headspace. That is what I have done. I’ve had good results with that.
I hope it was helpful. I’m glad to hear that you’re not starting with dried beans, that you’re going to go ahead and presoak and precook your beans. It’s the perfect way to do it.
You guys have a great afternoon. We will see you in the next Canning Chat. We’ll talk to you later.
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Page last updated: 7/9/2021