Why can your own beans when you can buy canned beans or make your own as you go?  First, homemade canned beans are convenient.  There have been many times when I wanted to make a bean dish with homemade beans, but didn’t prepare with an overnight soak and cooking time.  Second, homemade canned bean broth is magical.  Unlike the tinny, slimy liquid you find in store bought cans, your homemade version will be clean, fragrant and flavorful.  The broth is a treat in itself.  Finally, homemade canned beans are economical.  You can buy a can of basic beans for about $1 or better brands for over $2 each.  Dried beans cost under a dollar per pound and can yield 4-5 cans per pound.

You will need a pressure canner.  Due to botulism concerns you cannot use a water bath canner to can beans.  A pressure cooker also cannot substitute for a pressure canner.  I bought my pressure canner at Amazon and feel it is a worthwhile investment if you want to can beyond tomatoes, pickles, and peaches.  Find the canner I bought here.

Buy the freshest dried beans available.  Go to a store with high bean turnover.  Fresh beans will make a difference.  If you want to go fancy, Rancho Gordo has an excellent selection of heirloom beans that look absolutely drool-worthy in Mason jars.

Homemade Canned Beans

1 lb dried beans yields 4-5 pint jars depending on the bean.  Kidneys yielded 5 pints while black and garbanzo beans yielded 4 pints.

1 lb dried beans

1/4 onion chunk

1 garlic head left whole

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 tsp salt

Sort through beans and toss any stones, debris or shriveled beans.  Soak beans overnight.  The next day pour out soaking liquid, place beans in a large stockpot, and add fresh water filling 2″ above.  Add onion chunk, head of garlic and bay leaf.  Turn heat on high to get a full boil and then turn heat to low and let simmer.  Bubbles should barely bread the surface.  Cook for 30 minutes.

No need to sterilize jars as the pressure canner will do the sterilizing for you.  Fill clean, hot Mason jars with beans, but do not pack too tightly.  Cover with bean water.  Leave 1″ head space.  Carefully use a skewer or nonmetal spatula and work out the bubbles in the jars.  Wipe tops of jars and adjust lids.  Process at 11 pounds of pressure.  Pints 75 minutes and quarts 90 minutes.  Follow pressure canning manufacturer’s instructions for allowing pressure to drop and removing cover.

Remove jars from canner and place on a surface with a kitchen towel to avoid hot jars from breaking.  Allow to cool completely for 24 hours before testing seal.  Refrigerate and use any jars that do not seal properly.  Properly canned and sealed jars can be stored in the pantry for up to one year.  After one year you can still consume the beans, but they will have lost some nutritional value and taste.