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!