How to Make home canned Baked Beans With Tomato or Molasses Sauce - Easily! With Step-by-step Photos, Recipe, Directions, Ingredients and Costs

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How to Make Homemade Vegetarian Canned Baked  Beans With Tomato or Molasses Sauce

Kidney, navy and other varieties of dried beans are good candidates for making your own homemade canned baked beans. Make your dog will try to sell your secret recipe, too, like the Bush's Baked beans, dog. In your own home garden, leave the beans on the vine to mature. They will dry naturally.

In canning the dried beans, there is a key tip: Water plays an important part in the final quality of canned baked beans. The harder the water used for soaking and blanching, the harder and firmer the finished beans. Also, excessive alkalinity will cause the beans to disintegrate somewhat, becoming soft and mushy. However, this will not be seen until after canning them. there's not much you can do about this, but try to avoid "softened" water.

If you want to add pork, ham or bacon, see this page instead: How to Make Homemade Canned Baked  Beans With Back, Pork or Ham and Tomato or Molasses Sauce.

The only other trick is, you really do need a pressure canner. Every university food science department and the government will tell you that it just is not safe to use the water bath bath method; it takes the higher temperatures of the pressure canner to kill the botulism bacteria.

See this FAQ for details: Can I use a water-bath canner instead of a pressure canner for low acid foods like green beans?

BUT, with a pressure canner it's easy.  And although a pressure canner costs $100 to $200 (see this page for pressure canners models, makes and prices), they last a lifetime, and your children and grandchildren may be using it. You can also find free information from the USDA in this PDF file (it will take a while to load!) about selecting and using canners here!

Prepared this way, the jars have a shelf life of about 12 months, and aside from storing in a cool, dark place, require no special attention. If you'd rather freeze your fruit, see my page on how to freeze green beans. Even easier than canning and they will taste just like fresh.. but it does take up space in the freezer.

Directions for Making Canned Baked Beans

Ingredients

  • Dried Beans or Peas (see step 1)
  • Salt (optional - I don't use any)
  • See step 6 for the ingredients for the sauce; it depends upon which type of sauce you want to make.

Equipment

  • 1 Pressure Canner (a large pressure  pot with a lifting rack to sanitize the jars after filling (about $75 to $200 at mall kitchen stores and "big box" stores, but it is cheaper online; see this page for more information).  For low acid foods (most vegetables, you can't use an open water bath canner, it has to be a pressure canner to get the high temperatures to kill the bacteria. If you plan on canning every year, they're worth the investment.
  • Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars)
  • Jar funnel ($2 at mall kitchen stores and local "big box" stores, but it's usually cheaper online from our affiliates)
  • At least 1 large pot
  • Large spoons and ladles
  • Ball jars (Publix, Kroger, other grocery stores and some "big box" stores carry them - about $8 per dozen quart jars including the lids and rings)

Recipe and Directions

Step 1 - Selecting the dried beans

The most important step!  You need dried beans that are FRESH - not old to begin with!  Remove and discard any soft, diseased or spotted beans.

How many dried beans and where to get them

You can grow your own, pick your own, or buy them at the grocery store. An average of 5 pounds of beans is needed per
canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 3 1/4 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints - an average of 3/4
pounds per quart.

Step 2 -Wash the dried beans!

I'm sure you can figure out how to rinse the dried beans in a strainer or collander in the sink, under running plain cold or lukewarm water.

Step 3 - Soak to rehydrate the beans

Add 3 cups of water for each cup of dried beans or peas. Boil 2 minutes, remove from heat and let them stand and soak for 1 hour.

Drain and discard the water

Step 4 - Prepare the jars and pressure canner

Wash the jars and lids

This is a good time to get the jars ready! The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle. Otherwise put the jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. I just put the lids in a small pot of almost boiling water for 5 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" (available from target, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online - see this page) to pull them out.

Get a large pot of water boiling

We will use this water to pour over the beans and fill each jar with liquid, after we've packed them full of beans. I use the largest pot I have, so that there is plenty of clean, boiling water ready when I need it.

Get the pressure canner heating up

Rinse out your pressure canner, put the rack plate in the bottom, and fill it to a depth of 4 inches with hot tap water. (of course, follow the instruction that came with the canner, if they are different). Put it on the stove over low heat, with the lid OFF of it, just to get it heating up for later on.

 

 

Step 5 - Heat/cook the beans

Heat to boiling in fresh water, and save the liquid for making the sauce. You need only bring them to a boil; they do not need to cook for hours.

Step 6 - Make your Baked Bean Sauce!

Make your choice of one of the following sauces:

  • Tomato Sauce: Either mix 1 quart tomato juice, 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 tablespoon chopped
    onions, and 1/4 teaspoon each of ground cloves, allspice, mace, and cayenne pepper; or mix 1 cup tomato ketchup
    with 3 cups of cooking liquid from beans. Heat to boiling. Mix 1 cup tomato ketchup with 3 cups of cooking
    liquid from beans and heat to boiling.
  • Molasses Sauce: Mix 4 cups water or cooking liquid from beans, 3 tablespoons dark molasses, 1 tablespoon vinegar,
    2 teaspoons salt, and 3/4 teaspoon powdered dry mustard. Heat to boiling.

Step 7 - Fill the jars 3/4 full with the beans

Fill jars three-fourths full with hot beans. Add a 3/4-inch cube of pork, ham, or bacon to each jar, if desired. If this is your first time, skip the meat - it is safer without meat.

Step 8 - Add the sauce to the jars

Next fill jars with heated sauce, leaving 1-inch headspace (1 inch from the top of the jar). That 1 inch space is called "headspace" and is needed for expansion during heading.

Step 9 - Put the lids and rings onhome canning jars, lids and rings

Put the lids on each jar and seal them by putting a ring on and screwing it down snugly (but not with all your might, just "snug").Illustration of headspace.

Step 10 - Put the jars in the canner and the lid on the canner (but still vented)

Using the jar tongs, put the jars on the rack in the canner.  By now the water level has probably boiled down to 3 inches.  If it is lower than that, add more hot tap water to the canner. When all the jars that the canner will hold are in, put on the lid and twist it into place, but leave the weight off (or valve open, if you have that type of pressure canner).

Step 11 - Let the canner vent steam for 10 minutes

Put the heat on high and let the steam escape through the vent for 10 minutes to purge the airspace inside the canner.

 

Step 12 - Put the weight on and let the pressure build

After 10 minutes of venting, put the weight on and close any openings to allow the pressure to build to 11 to 13 pounds in a dial-type gauge canner - shown in the photos (or at 10 to 15 pounds pressure in a weighted gauge canner.

 

Step 13 - Process for the required time

Once the gauge hits 11 pounds (or 10 pounds in a weighted gauge type), start your timer going - for 65 minutes for pint jars and quarts for 75 minutes.  Adjust the heat, as needed, to maintain pressure.

Pressure required depends on the altitude where canning is being done. Note: the chart below will help you determine the right processing time and pressure, if you are above sea level.

It is important to learn how to operate your pressure canner by reading the owner's manual that came with your particular canner. If you cannot find your owner's manual, you can obtain find one online: Here is where to find some common manufacturer's manuals:

or by contacting the company that made your canner. Give the model number to the manufacturer, and they will send you the right manual. Click here for more information about pressure canners and a variety of models you can order.

Recommended process time for Dried Beans in a dial-gauge pressure canner.

  Minimum Canner Pressure (PSI) at Various Altitudes
Jar Size Process Time 0 - 2,000 ft 2,001 - 4,000 ft 4,001 - 6,000 ft 6,001 - 8,000 ft
Pints 65 minutes 11 lb 12 lb 13 lb 14 lb
Quarts 75 minutes 11 lb 12 13 14

 

Recommended process time for green beans in a weighted-gauge pressure canner.

    Minimum Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes:
Jar Size Process Time 0 - 1,000 ft Above 1,000 ft
Pints 65 minutes 10 lb 15 lb
Quarts 75 minutes 10 15

Step 14 - Turn off the heat and let it cool down

When the processing time from the chart above is up, turn off the heat, and allow the pressure canner to cool and the pressure to drop to zero before opening the canner.  Let the jars cool without being jostled. After the pressure drops to zero (usually, you can tell but the "click" sound of the safety release vents opening, as well as but the gauge.  Let the pressure in the canner drop to zero by itself. This may take 45 minutes in a 16-quart canner filled with jars and almost an hour in a 22-quart canner. If the vent is opened before the pressure drops to zero OR if the cooling is rushed by running cold water over the canner, liquid will be lost from the jars. Too rapid cooling causes loss of liquid in the jars!

Step 15 - Remove the jars

Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool on a wooden cutting board or a towel,  without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight), here they won't be bumped. You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok. You're done!

Other Equipment:

From left to right:

  1. Jar lifting tongs to pick up hot jars
  2. Lid lifter - to remove lids from the pot of boiling water (sterilizing )
  3. Lid - disposable - you may only use them once
  4. Ring - holds the lids on the jar until after the jars cool - then you don't need them
  5. Canning jar funnel - to fill the jars


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is it safe to can dried beans in a traditional water bath? If so how long do you do process them?

A. The answer, quite simply is no.  Quoting from the Ohio State University Extension's Fact Sheet:  

"Pressure canning is the only safe method for home canning vegetables. Clostridium botulinum is the bacterium that causes botulism food poisoning in low-acid foods, such as vegetables. The bacterial spores are destroyed only when the vegetables are processed in a pressure canner at 240 degrees Fahrenheit (F) for the correct amount of time.

Clostridium botulinum is the bacterium commonly found in vegetables and meats. It is harmless until it finds itself in a moist, low-acid, oxygen-free environment or a partial vacuum. Under these conditions, the bacterium can grow and produce toxins dangerous to people and animals.

Do not process (low acid) vegetables using the boiling water bath because the botulinum bacteria can survive that method.

And Clemson University provides these questions and answers:
Can fruits and vegetables be canned without heating if aspirin is used? No. Aspirin should not be used in canning. It cannot be relied on to prevent spoilage or to give satisfactory products. Adequate heat treatment is the only safe procedure.

Is it safe to can dried beans in a boiling water bath if vinegar is used? No. Recommended processing methods must be used to assure safety. Recommended processing times cannot be shortened if vinegar is used in canning fresh vegetables. (This does not refer to pickled vegetables.)

Salt and sugar are not preservatives for vegetables: they are added to stabilize and improve flavor, but will not prevent spoilage.

Salicylic acid is also NOT a preservative. The University of Illinois reports:

Using Aspirin for Canning

Several years ago, a recipe circulated using aspirin to acidify tomatoes and dried beans for canning. Aspirin is not recommended for canning. While it contains salicylic acid, it does not sufficiently acidify tomatoes or dried beans for safe hot water bath canning. dried beans are low acid foods and may only be processed safely in a pressure canner. Lemon juice or vinegar is recommended to acidify tomato products for safe water bath processing.

Think of it like smoking.  We all know someone who smoke their entire life and lived to be 90.  But the cemeteries are filled with the vast majority who didn't.  You'll hear people say "my grandmother did it that way for 20 years".  But of course, the people who died from food poisoning aren't around and often didn't have descendants to tell their tale...


Comments and Feedback


 

Pressure canners!

If you want to can low-acid foods such as red meats, sea food, poultry, milk, and all fresh vegetables with the exception of most tomatoes,  you will need a pressure canner.  These foods  fit into the low acid group since they have an acidity, or pH level, of 4.6 or greater. The temperature which must be reached and maintained (for a specified amount of time) to kill the bacteria is 240 F. Pressure canning is the only canning method recommended safe by the U.S.D.A. for low-acid foods such as vegetables, meats, and fish. Ordinary water bath canners can only reach 212 F and cannot to kill the types of bacteria that will grow in low acid foods. This temperature can be reached only by creating steam under pressure as achieved in quality pressure canners.

There are several manufacturers of pressure canners.  The two leading ones are Presto and All American (Wisconsin Aluminum). They are more expensive than water bath canners, but extremely well built - I bought mine in 1988 and it still looks and works like new!

Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner

Amazon usually has this (through the links at left) for about $79.  (which is a GREAT price for a pressure canner).  Click on the links at left for more info and current pricing.

Features:

  • 17 by 15-1/2 inches; 12-year warranty
  • Heavy-duty 23-quart aluminum pressure canner and cooker
  • Comfortably ergonomic, stay-cool black plastic handles
  • Strong-lock lid with pressure regulator, dial gauge, and overpressure plug
  • Comes with canning rack to protect jars during canning
iconicon icon

 

Shown at left is the Presto 23 quart pressure canner. Features below and click here for more information or to purchase from Target.
Features:
  • The easy-to-read dial gauge automatically registers a complete range of processing pressures
  • Includes cooking/canning rack and complete instruction/recipe book and has a 22-quart liquid capacity
  • Aluminum construction
  • Holds seven 1-quart Mason jars

All American Pressure Canner and Cookers - In 3 sizes

Features:

  • Exclusive "metal-to-metal" sealing system
  • Automatic overpressure release and easy-to-read geared steam guage
  • Professional quality, extra heavy duty cast aluminum
  • The smallest size holds 19 pint jars and 7 quart jars; the largest holds 32 pint jars or 19 quart jars
  • One-year warranty
Fagor home canning accessories kit

5-Piece Canning Accessories Kit

  • Comes with canning rack, jar wrench, jar lifter, lid lifter, funnel, ladle, bubble freer, and cookbook
  • Designed for use with 10-quart Fagor pressure cookers
  • Stainless-steel funnel and ladle are durable and attractive
  • Bilingual cookbook (English and Spanish) includes more than 100 pages

Availability: Usually ships within 24 hours   

In the UK, use this link:
 

 

Bean "Frenchers"

It is tiring and laborious to prepare green beans for canning; there are so many of them and you do them all by hand.  But wait there's a new device that makes it easy.  Hmmm, actually, these devices have been around since our great-grandfather's day!  Here are several different types and makes, some hand fed, some cranked: choose the one that meets your need and budget!

For photos and features of the bean frenchers, click here!

 

   

Deluxe Food Strainer & Sauce Maker

See this page for more information, reviews, descriptions of other strainers and supplies or to order!

With the Deluxe Food Strainer/Sauce Maker, you can make creamy peach sauce and smooth tomato sauce without having to peel and core! This multi-use strainer forces food through a stainless steel screen, automatically separating the juice and pulp from the seeds, shins, and stems. Perfect for purees, creamed soups, baby foods, pie filling, juices, jams, and more. Save time, effort, and money by preparing your own tasty sauces to be used immediately or boiled for future use. Do bushels with ease and in a fraction of the time. Includes the tomato/peach screen with easy twist on design and instruction/recipe booklet.

The Deluxe model comes with the standard Tomato/peach Screen; as well as the Berry Screen, Pumpkin Screen, and Grape Spiral. Note

 


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Features:

Ball Enamel Waterbath Canner, Including Chrome-Plated Rack and 4-Piece Utensil Set

* All the tools you need for hot waterbath canning - in one comprehensive set!
* Complete with 21 1/2 qt. enameled waterbath canner
* Also includes canning rack, funnel, jar lifter, jar wrencher, bubble freer, tongs and lid lifter.
* A Kitchen Krafts exclusive collection.

This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. You'll never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are reusable)! There is also s simple kit with just the canner and rack, and a pressure canner, if your want to do vegetables (other than tomatoes). To see more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!
Don't forget the Ball Blue Book!

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Need lids, rings and replacement jars?  Or pectin to make jam, spaghetti sauce or salsa mix or pickle mixes?  Get them all here, and usually at lower prices than your local store!

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