Home canned and Baked BeansMarch 30th, 2014
Since it does take some time to soak, cook and simmer Boston Baked Beans, why not cook larger batches and freeze or can some of them for later meals? The usual recipe calls for soaking the dry beans in water over night. Change the water a couple times. Then cook the beans by boiling hard for an hour or two. To save a lot of both cooking time and fuel use a pressure cooker for 30 minutes instead. I prefer to use stainless steel pressure cookers for cooking foods and aluminium ones for processing sealed jars of food.
The next step is to add the seasonings to the precooked beans and slowly cook them together for hours so all the flavors combine together. The traditional way is to cover and bake in a moderate oven for hours. Now days we have electric "Crock Pots" or "Slow Cookers" which can simmer using very little power. A third option is to simply Pressure Can the mixture of cooked beans and raw seasonings. This way they will keep on the shelf for years and be ready to heat up for a quick meal when ever you like. Only a real Pressure Canner is safe for processing beans and meats. There is no safe way to can these foods at home in a Water Bath Canner. Most Pressure Canners come with recipe booklets and there are also many good recipe books with Pressure Canning sections. Choose one set of instructions and follow it carefully. Do not mix and match canning instructions.
Gardening, Cooking from scratch and Canning are all skills to be mastered. None of these things are difficult but they do take time and practice. Like riding a bicycle, some learn faster than others, but no one is smooth and efficient at the beginning. There are tried and true canning tools which ease and speed the work. They are not expensive. I use a jar lifter, a canning jar funnel and a magnetic lid lifter to move the hot lids to the jars.
Soak 3 cups of dry beans overnight. Change the soaking water several times.
Pressure Cook beans just covered with water for 1/2 hour or boil 1 or 2 hours.
Drain off and save the cooking water.
Prepare the seasonings-
Mix 1/8 teaspoon powdered Ginger and 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard well into 3/4 cup molasses.
Dice 1 and 1/2 cups of onion.
Cut 3/4 pound of bacon into small pieces.
Gently stir seasonings into the hot beans then spoon into hot jars. Top off with the cooking liquid to the head space called for in your Pressure Canning recipe.
Secure the sterilized lids with rings and follow your Pressure Canning recipe to can.