I always have such fun experimenting with new plants and varieties in the garden! This year I tried growing our own dry beans for using in soup and stew recipes over the winter. My expectations were pretty low… I had tried growing them last year as an underplanting in the dent corn (think 3 sisters) and it did horribly!
Come to think of it, everything I underplant in the corn does horribly. Whether with beans or squash, try as I might, I simply fail time and again at really utilizing that space between the rows where I’m going to struggle to get into pull weeds once the corn is grown up. I’m thinking of trying a cover crop next year and if that doesn’t work, well that will just be one extra spot I’ll have to source hay mulch to cover it with.
By giving the dried beans their own area in the garden this year, they did wonderfully! I grew Red Kidney beans, Cannellini beans, and Golden Jacob’s Cattle (which aren’t nearly as lovely once you cook them by the way.) I was able to harvest quite a bit- enough for me to can about 40 pints of beans for our pantry shelves!
Now the reason I decided to can them instead of leaving them in their dry, rustically beautiful state is because I know me well enough to realize that planning meals far enough in advance to allow for the soaking and cooking times when they’d be on the menu pretty much would never happen. It’s one of my many shortcomings. If you’d like to learn how to cook with dry beans, Joybilee Farms will teach you how (complete with an awesome printable chart!)
I found canning dry beans to be pretty simple. You do need a pressure canner because they are low-acid. If you do a lot of canning and haven’t invested in a pressure canner yet, you really should. I can’t believe it took me so long to get one, but now that I do, I use it all the time.
(Learn how to safely use a pressure canner.)
To can dry beans all you have to do is rinse the beans and soak them in water overnight … 1 part beans, 4 parts water. In the morning, rinse them again and then add them to a stock pot with at least double the water as beans. Bring the water to a boil for about 30 minutes until the beans are just soft enough to cut through but not mushy. Ladle them into a pint-sized canning jar, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, and then fill the jar with cooking water, leaving 1″ headspace. Then can them at 11 pounds of pressure for 75 minutes.
If you’re new to pressure canning I’m not going to detail the how-to’s of it, that’s beyond the scope of this article, but here are some resources I heartily recommend.
The trickiest part for me was timing successive batches of beans to go into the canner when the last ones were done and not have it take 4 days. Rather than boiling them, I ended up turning the cooked beans down to the lowest heat and barely simmering them after the previous batch of beans was in the canner. By reducing the heat and lengthening the cooking time to closer to 1 hour, I was able to get all but the last few pints done in one day.
How to Can Dry Beans and Peas
How to Can Dry Beans
- dry beans
- Rinse the beans and soak them overnight in water at a ratio of 1 part beans, 4 parts water.
- In the morning, rinse the beans again and then add them to a stock pot with at least double the water as beans.
- Bring the water to a boil for about 30 minutes until the beans are just soft enough to cut through but not mushy.
- Ladle them into a pint-sized canning jar, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, and then fill the jar with cooking water, leaving 1″ headspace.
- Can them at 11 pounds of pressure for 75 minutes. (Be sure to read about safely using a pressure canner first or watch At Home Canning for Beginners and Beyond which I highly recommend.)
I’m cracking my first jar of Cannellini beans into a pot of Chicken Chili this week… what’s your favorite recipe that uses dried beans?
Dyan Kirkpatrick says
I never thought of canning beans. I’m the same as you when it comes to getting them soaked in time to actually use them in a recipe! Thanks for the great post.
You’re welcome! Gotta love finding ways to simplify mealtime, right? 🙂
Yankee Homestead says
I'm impressed you grew your own! Canning beans is definitely on my list…I've already got a pressure canner. Thanks for the easy instructions!
Rebekah Chadwick says
Way easier to just can from dry…half cup dry beans in a pint, fill to neck with water, half tsp salt and whatever spices desired. Process 75 minutes. Perfect!
Cindy Gober Brewer says
Thank you for sharing. May I ask what growing zone your in? And were these beans planted in Spring or in Summer? Thank you.
Quinn Veon says
I'm in zone 5 & planted them about the 1st week of June because beans do best when the ground is warmed. I was surprised at how quickly they had matured and were done. My pole beans won't be dry for harvesting seed for another month.
Cindy Gober Brewer says
Thank you. For me in zone 9….Dec/Jan planting
Ashley Hedrick Browning says
Thanks for this! I need to do this as I always need beans but forget to soak, etc. 🙂
RL Johnson says
have tried Dry beans and shortcut soaking before canning and i have to be honest (& i am a bean fanatic so will eat them just about any way) the shortcut ones tasted & their texture was better.. also more data is saying the dry version is definately not recommended.. so i have switched.. soaking for 2 hrs is much less work and they taste SO good… 🙂
Dos Pinos says
The squash in the three sisters is primarily what shades the weeds in corn. Try pole beans and plant them when corn is 6 inches. Cornell has a great guide!
As a cover crop I would say buckwheat for shading out the weeds but I'm not optimistic there would be much more success with that vs bush beans. It sounds like the corn is getting the jump on available sunlight and shading out the understory. Maybe transplanting the corn into further more established plants? I'd like to know how this works out as I'm stuck in the city saving for mine and my husbands future farm. Good luck!
Quinn Veon says
I have used pole beans in the past and found that while they grew throughout, but really did the best along the edges of the plot. It was enough to get us a little harvest, but I primarily used those beans to save for seed. I'll tell you what cover crop I'm interested in experimenting with in the corn is trefoil (which will fix nitrogen and doesn't need to be mown down as quickly as other green manures) after seeing this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnGllzoXjak I had no clue you could transplant sweet corn before either. You learn something new…
I so want to try this.Can you tell me how many pints that 1 pound of dry beans would yield?