Monday, January 8, 2018

Home Canned Pinto Chili Beans

Well Kansas has seen it's first snow....short lived, but it did happen.  This means colder weather and what is better to serve than Chili!  If your not an avid canner you might ask yourself why would you want to can your own beans rather than just buy them?  I mean....there is a lot of work and time involved in canning!  

Well, there are many reasons to can beans for yourself.  For me, it was all about doing something that I had not done before!  You know...the whole inquisitive thing...ya...that's me!  I have canned plain pinto beans for various recipes including homemade refried beans, but never a chili version.  I did keep track of the cost, and it's actually quite a bit cheaper to purchase dry beans and can them yourself.  Even if you make them all fancy like!  LOL!  And of course if I was going to do that!  I mean, if I'm taking the time to do this now, I wanted to save myself time later!  

That's another big reason people can, it will save not only money, but time in the future!  So...on a busy night this winter all I have to do is thaw some meat from the freezer, brown it up and add my jar(S) of beans, and tomatoes if you like! All the seasonings and veggies are in there.  (My tomatoes had already been those were separate.)  If it's more about saving money....just omit the fresh veggies and stick with the dried spices!  It nearly cuts the cost in half!  

For me....I wanted it to look pretty and taste amazing.  Even more so this time because I was using Pinto Beans rather than the typical Red Bean.  Why you ask?  Well, I was curious.  Ha ha ha!  Could this be done and turn out ok?  Would the flavor and texture come out the way I desired?  And the answer was yes.  Otherwise...let's be honest, I wouldn't be here writing up this blog!  Ha ha ha....oh my!  I was also able to purchase the dry pinto beans at a bulk price, and the red beans would've been smaller bags at a larger price.  So that certainly played a factor too.  I knew that with it being the "off season" that veggies were going to be more costly, and I had not saved back any from my garden for this purpose!  So there you go.... that is my explanation of my experimentation!  Hee hee hee!  

At this point I'm going to assume that you have canned before.  And that you have all the canning supplies including a pressure canner and have had some experience with it.  You also know some of the terminology and will understand "canning terms" as we go through the steps.  If not, just enjoy the story until you are comfortable with your own home canning experience and come back again and follow the steps closer when you're ready!  Anther option for non-canners is to instead cook your beans, veggies, spices, ect. in a pot until veggies are soft, and place into freezer safe containers to be frozen for future use!  But trust me, either way you'll want to keep reading, funny stuff ahead!

Let's BEGIN!

So, I kinda tend to do things in big quantities!  A typical person trying something new might go out and buy a 2# bag of beans....but me being me decided a 12# bag would be the way to go. So when it was time to sort the beans for soaking, I got comfy and put on a movie! You just need to sort through and make sure there are no foreign objects like tiny pebbles, and then discard any broken or funny looking beans.  Give them a good rinse, and place in a bowl and cover beans almost double in size with water.

I put my beans to soak for 36 hours, to give a good chance of them plumping up and to save cooking time later.  Yes, you can do for less...but really a minimum of 8 hours is suggested!  (There are dry canning methods but I like a softer texture...all up to the canner really, just do your diligent research!)  Any beans that float to the top, go ahead and discard!  Rinse them very well and put in a pot of water to start warming.

Gather your clean jars and make sure you are getting them hot!  I use my dishwasher for this!  I add vinegar to the rinse compartment and it helps with our hard water stains! 
I would suggest using wide mouth,they're easier to fill, and easier to empty!

While the dishwasher is going and the beans are heating, you have time to prep your veggies!  I used red, yellow, and orange bell peppers.  This was by accident because the grocery store was out of green, but it was a happy accident because they look so pretty.  Of course they did cost a bit more, but ya comes with a price!  ha ha hee hee  The green color came from the jalapeños.  

 Now...I'm going to take a moment and tell you all something.  Back when I was preparing for this big project I forgot the big can of tomatoe sauce at the bulk grocery store.  My dear sister was going there the next day, and said she'd pick it up for me!  Of course this led to the whole...what are you up to now conversation....and that lead to "Oh, I'll come help".  Poor thing....she really didn't know what she just got herself into.  Fast forward to canning day....she is on jalapeño duty.  I'm busy cutting away at the bell peppers and onions while she worked diligently cutting such small chunks of these jalapeño peppers.  At first we didn't think they were very hot, but I forgot to put out the plastic gloves for her to use, and the seeds were actually quite pungent!  Her hands proceeded to nearly catch on fire and with each slice of the knife a bit of juice would pop out and ever so strategically land in her eye.  She was nearly blinded, but did not leave her duty, and stayed at the jalapeño station until her job was done.  It may be awhile before she offers her assistance in one of my "new projects." 

Alright, back to the canning.  Let's see....we've chopped the Bell Peppers, Jalapeños, and Onions.  Yes...we need to clean the garlic and gather the dry spices, open the can of tomatoes sauce (I know, homemade would've been better)!  I chose to use black pepper, chili powder, cumin, paprika, and canning salt.  Get everything lined up in an assembly line and put the jar lids in the just boiled hot water.  We are ready to grab some jars and start filling!

To each quart jar we added 3 cups of the drained beans, 1/3 cup of bell pepper, 1/2 cup onion, 1 tablespoon jalapeño, 1 large clove garlic-pressed, 2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon each of paprika and cumin.  Topped it off with 1/2 cup tomato sauce and hot water to the 1 inch fill line.

It was quite exciting to watch the process take place.  They look so pretty as you layer them with all the colorful veggies, spices, and sauce!  And quite interesting how the water kinda diluted it all and slipped around each bean....mesmerizing almost!

 De-bubble and add more hot water as needed!  Leave at least 1/2 inch headspace...I did a whole inch.  Wipe down your jar with vinegar to clear it from any spills!  This also gives you one last chance to inspect the rim for any chips or dings!  Place lids on and add rings on finger tight and place into prepared pressure canner.

Don't forget your 10 minute release time before adding your weight, and double Check what is suggested for your area/altitude on pressure and time! (Typically it will be 10/11# pressure. 90 minutes for quarts.) When it's safe to open the lid and take out jars, place on your countertop on top of a towel to cool for at least 12 hours.  They will continue to boil for hours!  

Because I had so many, it took me several batches.  Tip: You can keep your filled jars warm in a pot, or even in the oven on low while you're waiting for the next batch to go in the canner!  

You'll notice that the beans swelled a bit more and soaked up the  juices!  This is a good thing...they're taking on all that flavor!  As time passes they will take more and more of that flavor on, infusing the beans!  Yeah baby, that's what we want to achieve!  If you wait a few weeks to use them, the flavor will be better!

Once jars are completely cool take of rings and clean with soapy water and rinse with vinegar water.  Check each seal carefully as you do this.  Any that are not sealed, or questionable, put rings back on and place in the refrigerator to use right away!

They look so pretty!  Take pride in what you've just done!  It was a big accomplishment and it took planning, time, and determination to get here!  As much as we want to leave them out on the counter for all to see, canned goods are best stored in a cool dark place.  Mine is "the cave", lol!  Actually it's a storm shelter that I kinda have taken to a new purpose, lol!  But under a bed, in a cabinet, you can always find corners to stash your jars!

I had 2 that did not seal.  So later that week I added 2# hamburger and 2 pints of previously canned tomatoes chunks to the pot. With some scratch made cornbread and butter, we had a nice meal!  It turned out incredible!  I will definitely do this project again...especially if I don't have to cut the jalapeños!  Sorry Sissy.... because you're experienced with Jalapeño cutting and all the side effects, I'll let you continue to do it!

Hope you all enjoyed my experimental experience ... and I'd love to see if you tried this recipe and how you chose to store it!  

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  1. I enjoyed reading about your bean-canning experience. How long have you been pressure canning?

  2. Thanks for sharing this recipe! It sounds so good! I've never used Jalapenos in chili, but I think that sounds wonderful I might have to try it!

    1. I don’t like a lot of heat, but do like just a few added! Beans can be bland!

  3. homemade canned food is such a comfort for me, reminds me of my grandmother who used to do this with red peppers!

    1. I’ve never canned peppers alone, might have to try that!

  4. I have been wanting to try this for years - with your help I think I'm going to have to finally go for it!
    You say after you leave them to soak you put the beans on to warm? Do you actually cook them for a time or just simmer to warm them for the canner?

    1. I am so glad that you want to try this! Yeah! I don't "warm" them to cook them, but to just bring the beans to temperature so that the majority of the ingredients added to the HOT jars are close to temp. I find it's better to have hot ingredients with hot jars to get the most successful canning experience!