Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cannin' frijoles and takin' names

Editors Note:  Today's title is dedicated to Summersweet Farms because the other day she was talking about "Splitting Wood and Takin' Names" - which I thought was fabulous! And she likes pie.

We've got weather moving thru today so I'm making the best of it and canning beans. That's right, you can can your own beans. Not just any beans, today its all about frijoles. These little beauties will be come refried beans one day.

All y'all know I don't have a vegetarian bone in my body but I do like beans for lots of reasons. Especially since you can slap some bacon on them or cook 'em up with a ham bone for a fabulous supper. Or one of our favorite things is my pal Drew's famous Black Bean and Corn Salsa. Last nite we made several-layer-nachos with some of our canned beans and it was spectacular. Especially as rancho huevos this morning.

Why can beans that you can get at the store for about a buck? Because a whole bag-o-beans is just a buck and today I got just a little over 7 pints of beans for my trouble. I used to think it would be a lot of work for nothing. But wow! Once you have home canned beans you won't go back to the ones you get in the store.

Not only are you avoiding all the who-knows-what with industrial canned goods, but you are making sure you know exactly what is going in the beans. Hold the extra salt and shenanigans, please, and just do it yourself. Now is a great time of year to can beans. You should have a buncha empty jars and what else are you gonna do all day, watch tv? Nah, grab that pressure canner and do something useful - like can some beans.

The best online source for all things canning is Pickyourown.org and specifically here for how to can dried beans.

The steps are easy:

1. Either quick or overnight soak the dried beans of your choice.
2. Drain well, then use new water to simmer them up for 30 minutes.
3. Load up the jars leaving a full inch of headroom, add a little salt if desired.
4. Top off with the still hot water from the beans, or new boiling water. Make sure you still have an inch of headspace.
5. Seal up the jars and process, process, process.

And voila - canned beans!

I made refried beans the old school way. In a hot skillet with a little lard until they where warm, mashed 'em with the back of a spoon, hit 'em with a shot of tabasco...and hur-rah we got us some refried frijoles.

The only downside to canning beans - or any canning for that matter - is that it takes a while to process (75 minutes per my instruction manual) which is a whole lot of standing around watching the pressure-o-meter to make sure I don't blow up the house. Its a little irritating as my pal VeggiePak wrote to me one day - basically you have to keep a close eye on the dial to maintain the desired pressure by futzing around with the stove tmperature. But I make good use of the time and either use the time in the kitchen for blogging or baking.

My timer is about to go off so now I'll move the canner off the burner and just let it all sit overnight so that my jars seal. Then one day soon I'll have me some more holy frijoles. The only way they could be any better is if I grew and dried the beans myself - like what I'll do this summer.

Happy Monday everyone - now go and get your beans on!


Chai Chai said...

You just had to bring up bacon. Cooking those beans will bacon would be heavenly. Unfortunately I think I have a few more years of goat/sheep berry seeding before I can get anything to grow in my garden.

Robin said...

I've never thought about canning my dried beans. I guess that they would definitely come in handy. Do they have to be processed in a pressure canner or can they be processed in a boiling bath??? I guess maybe I should just go look in one of my canning books!

Mama Mess said...

Cerealously.........there is NUTTIN' better than home canned beans. Had me some homecanned kidney beans just the other day. Right outta the jar, dice up some onion and sprinkle with a little cheese and a dash of chipotle pepper.........uummm ummm good!

Summersweet Farm said...

Ooh oooooh! I feel so special!!!!

And you know what else is funny, I was JUST wondering if I could can up refried beans of my own. Great minds think alike!

My new favorite way to prepare refried beans (we like the Ducal brand) is to mix them up with half a can of salsa (home-grown and canned of course!). It makes them so silky and so flavorful!

Now off to sink some fenceposts before the 3" of sleet that's due across us this evening. Love ya hon! Thanks for mentioning me! :D

Mr. H. said...

Happy Monday! It's quesadilla night at our house so we will be cooking up some re-frys too.:) We need to get a pressure canner one of these days.

Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

it's always good to have a supply of beans handy, for that matter in todays economy it's good to have a supply on hand of anything food wise is handy :o).
Your right too! what else is more profitable to spend your time doing.

Dmarie said...

okay, yet another reason for me to start cooking beans from scratch! will bookmark this page for sure and be back!

Dave @ HappyAcres said...

I've canned a lot of things but never beans. I can only imagine they'd be better than store bought canned ones, as well as cheaper.

It must be a moon phase or something, because I bought a ham shank today to fix with a mess of beans. I see some cornbread in my future too!

Journey11 said...

My neighbor had told me about canning dried beans, but she doesn't pre-cook hers. She just puts the rinsed beans into the jar with cold water and salt (forget how long she told me to process them). I wonder which method I should use? I guess I'll have to try them both. They are so handy though, to just open a jar! I have trouble planning ahead to soak them. We'd eat more beans this way.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

CC - I've been sending out 'bacon' vibes into the world. Just keep pilin' on the poop, baby! You'll get that soil fixed up. Especially when you get pigz

Hi Robin! Talk about a quick dinner - easy peasy and fast AND delish! The need to be processed in a pressure canner for sure.

Sounds superduper, GW!

Happy fencing SSF! And YES you are special! You've done a fabulous job on all your projects. Now you can add 'real' refried beans to you list! I can't believe I paid $1 or more for them before. Sheesh!

Happy Quesadilla Nite, Mr. H! And yes you need a pressure canner. I'm becoming friends with mine for sure.

You are just right, Ginny, on both counts. Having a good supply makes good sense and being profitable. Well, you know the Good Word on that!

Dmarie, you can't imagine how simple the process is! Easy peasy!

Villager, it sounds like you know whats good! Ham, beans, and cornbread. My my....

Grandpa said...

I've been surviving on canned baked beans for breakfast. This gives me an idea! Thanks dear pal.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Add some hot peppers to those beans, and put an egg on top.. now THAT's breakfast, Grandpa!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Yikes! Sorry Journey - our posts passed in the night...

yep! you can skip the cooking part. someone else reminded me of that. but i'd probably make sure those beans were simmering anyway so that you dont have broken jars (cold contents + boiling water in canner = broken jars).

we eat more beans this way too!

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