Beans are a big part of a whole-food plant-based diet. The easiest way to have them available is by canning dried beans. Since we have a glass cooktop, we do all our canning on it. Here is how we pressure can dried beans on a glass cooktop. It works great for us, take what you like and leave what you don’t, but do it at your own risk.
Canning dried beans is not a lot of work but it does take 4-6 hours. As I already mentioned in using the FlyLady system, I do it about once a month, during the kitchen cleaning zone week. While the beans are getting processed, I clean my kitchen.
My canner fits 18 pint jars and I rotate between pinto, black and kidney beans, and also chickpeas.
Things you will need to can dried beans
For canning dried beans you will need a high-pressure canner. I use the Presto canner, it is a canner that can be used on a glass cooktop. Not all canners can. Presto also has a canner for induction glass cooktop that works on gas, electric, smooth-top, and induction ranges. If you don’t have a canner, that would be the one I would recomend. With this one you are set for whatever cooktop you will have in the future.
The presto canner comes with a presto pressure regulator. The regulator only prevents that pressure in the canner does not build up in excess of 15 pounds. Since you most likely do not need to can in such high pressure, you will have to read the pressure on the pressure dial gauge.
To be precise the dial gauge needs to be handled with care and checked regularly. I find that it is a lot easier to get yourself a Presto canner pressure regulator. Make sure to check the number of your canner, so it works for you. Also, leave on as much weight, as you need, your instruction manual will tell you that. Now you can just use that regulator and forget about the dial gauge.
I have shared before how I clean and store my regular canning jars, you can read about it here. However, the jars for canning dried beans do not get stored away, I use them all the time.
If you have canned beans you will know that the jars, even after a dishwasher cleaning remain with a slight film. They are clean, and if it is bothering someone, the film can easily be cleaned with acidity. I just reuse them for more beans.
Also, for regular canning of my fresh produce in the summer, I use new lids. Not so for beans. For beans, I actually reuse lids. I just make sure the lid has no rust or defects in it. Used lids might not always seal. Since we use beans all the time a jar or two that didn’t seal is not a big deal. However, in my experience they usually all seal.
Soaking dried beans
Dried beans need to be soaked prior to cooking. That also is the only method that guarantees canning safety. In practice though, I don’t always pre-soak. The pre-soaked pressure canned beans get quite mushy. They are great for refried beans and soups, also make the tastiest hummus. For roasted chickpeas, however, I just don’t pre-soak them.
For a pint jar, you need a heaped half cup of dry beans, and for 18 jars it’s 4-5 pounds of dry beans. The beans will about double in size after soaking.
I wash all beans changing water 3 times and make sure there are no halves or any gone bad beans. For soaking, I use filtered water, since most of it will be ubsorbed by the beans. Use a large bowl or pot, the beans do expand a lot. Soak for about 12 hours, then drain.
Filling the jars
Note, the canning book recommends using a hot pack. Boiling the beans for 30 minutes prior to filling the jars. I don’t do that. I fill the jar two-inch to the top with pre-soaked beans, or a heaped 1/2 cup of washed dried beans, add 1/4- 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cover the beans with boiled water leaving 1-inch headspace. Adjust jar lids.
Canning on a glass cooktop
As I already mentioned I use the canner on a glass cooktop. Only canners that are legal for glass cooktop can be used. If in doubt, or you have no information anymore, just look at your canner bottom. It has to be smooth and even. If you are looking for a canner that can be used on glass, the Presto canner for induction glass cooktop works on gas, electric, smooth-top, and induction ranges.
My presto canner has a smaller bottom than the canner itself (see above picture). It is important that the bottom that actually touches the cooktop is the same size as the burner, otherwise, the range will overheat and might split. So even though the canner is a big pot, I do not use it on my big burner. I use the smaller burner, that the actual bottom covers. Check your canner bottom to make sure you use the right size burner. If in doubt, measure your burner and bottom.
If the burner is fully covered, the setting can be used on high, the glass should not overheat.
Getting the canner ready to can
Place the empty canner on the stove using the right size burner (read above).
Place the first canning rack on the bottom of the canner. Fill the canner to the marking with water (about 3 quarts) and a splash of vinegar. The vinegar prevents water stains on jars.
Important! The water needs to be about the same temperature as your jars. To keep everything hot is not needed, but you can’t place cool jars into boiling water and vice versa, they can split.
Now place your jars into the canner. Use a second rack and fill the canner up if so desired.
Now check the lid, sealing ring, air vent (it loosens itself sometimes), vent pipe to be open, and overpressure plug to sit in nicely.
Close the lid aligning the V mark on the cover with the mark on the body handle. Press down and turn the lid into the direction to align the handles.
Turn on the stove on high. Note, if your high setting is so high that you never use it, choose a setting you are comfortable with. It has to be relatively high to get to the heat a pressure canner needs.
Heat the canner till steady steam comes out of the vent pipe. Now set the timer for 10 minutes. Turn down the heat a bit, but make sure the flow of the steam continues.
After the 10 minutes are over, place the pressure regulator on the vent. Turn the heat on high again and leave it relatively high till the needed pressure is up.
The canner will seal first, then the dial gauge needle will start to move till it reaches the pressure you need. This can take 20 minutes. If you got a Presto canner pressure regulator with weights on, the regulator will start to viggle at the set pressure. If not, just watch the needle.
Dried beans need to be processed at
11 pounds of pressure in altitude below 2,000 feet.
2,001-4,000 feet at 12 pounds.
4,001-6,000 feet at 13 pounds
6,001-8,000 at 14 pounds
Processing time is the same for all altitudes. 75 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for quarts.
Turn the heat down when pressure is reached and set the timer. Make sure the pressure stays constant during the whole processing time. Again, it is much easier with a Presto canner pressure regulator, the sound will just get stronger if there is too much heat, so turn it down a bit, and slower if there is not enough heat, so you can adjust the heat.
When the time is over, turn off the stove. I do not move the canner because it’s too heavy for me but you can if needed. Let the pressure come down, don’t touch the regulator or the lid, it will come down on its own.
Once the pressure is down, wait another 10 minutes before opening the lid. Don’t rush anything. After opening, wait another few minutes before removing the jars. There is pressure not only in the canner but also in the jars, you don’t want anything to come up.
Let the jars cool on a towel, check the seals and store for use.