Canning and Preserving Dried Pinto Beans

Learn how to save money by canning and preserving dried pinto beans at home rather than purchasing commercially canned beans.

Pinto beans are a healthy source of protein and a versatile food that can be used in many ways. One serving (one-half cup) of cooked pinto beans has only 120 total calories, 5 of which are from fat.

Pinto beans can be prepared and enjoyed in a variety of ways. They may be eaten alone or can be used as an ingredient in salads, soups or casseroles. Pinto beans are available dry in bulk or as ready to heat commercially canned beans at a cost of about $1 per can. Canning and preserving dried pinto beans at home rather than buying canned beans at the store can yield significant savings.

Home Canning Equipment Needed for Preserving Pinto Beans

The investment in home canning equipment in the long run is fairly inexpensive considering that it can be used again and again.

Equipment needed for canning and preserving dried pinto beans includes;

  • home pressure canner
  • pint canning jars
  • canning jar rings
  • canning jar lids
  • bulk dried pinto beans

Pressure canners are available from most retailers that sell cookware and come in a variety of sizes. Depending on size, construction and features prices range from between $100 to $200. For home canning, typical pressure canners, according to, “The Complete Guide To Home Canning,” published by the USDA, have a capacity of seven quart jars or eight to nine pint jars. Pressure canners as opposed to pressure cookers which are different, is the USDA recommended type of equipment to be used for safely canning low acid foods like pinto beans.

Ball mason canning jars are the type most people are familiar with. Pint jars, which are featured in this article cost from about $9 to $10 per dozen. New jars come with separate metal screw-on rings and lids. The jars and rings can be used again and again and pretty much require only a one time investment but lids should not be reused. Lids are available separately at a nominal cost.

Preparation Steps for Canning and Preserving

Thoroughly clean the jars to be used. Washing them in a dishwasher is the easiest method but they can be hand washed with hot water and dish washing detergent.

Remove any impurities like small stones or defective beans from the dried beans and then rinse them in water to remove dirt before use.

Dried Pinto Bean Recipe for Home Canning

These instructions are based on the information provided in the “The Complete Guide To Home Canning,” published by the USDA, a helpful all-around reference for all home canning.

Place the beans in a container, covered with water for 12-18 hours to hydrate them. When ready to begin canning, drain the beans and discard the water.

Cover the soaked beans with fresh water and boil them for thirty minutes. Prepare the pressure canner by filling it with about 4 inches of hot tap water and heating it up according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Fill the pint canning jars evenly with beans making sure to leave 1 to 1-1/4 inches of unfilled space (termed headspace) at the top of the jars to allow for expansion during processing and to permit the formation of a vacuum. Once the jars have been packed, using the water beans were boiled in, fill the space around the beans up to the level of the headspace. Put a new lid on each jar and then screw down the rings. Rings just need to be snug and need not be excessively tightened.

Place the jars according to canner capacity in the pressure canner. Some of the water may have boiled off during the preparation of the canner for use. Just be certain that a level of at least 3 inches remain, adding water if necessary. Use tongs to place the jars in the canner to prevent being burned by the steam. Put the lid on the canner and seal it. Turn the heat to high but allow the pressure canner to vent, according to manufacturer’s directions for 10 minutes.

After venting, put on the weight or close the vent valve, depending on the style of the canner used, and allow the pressure to build to 11-13 psi for dial gauge type canners or 10-15 psi for weighted gauge canners.

Once the correct pressure is achieved, adjust the heat to maintain the required pressure for 75 minutes (pint processing) and then turn off the heat and remove the canner from the heat source. Allow the canner to cool until the pressure drops to zero. Once pressure is at zero, vent the canner to allow the steam to escape.

Open the canner and lift out the jars with tongs and place them on a towel in a non-draft area with at least one inch separation between jars to cool. Allow the jars to cool to room temperature which takes from 12-24 hours. After cooling the jars check the seals by pressing down on the center of the lid with a fingertip. Lids should not pop up and down. If that happens, no vacuum was created and the jar will need to be reprocessed. Once cooled and seal checked the jars can be labeled and stored in the pantry.

Canning and preserving your own pinto beans at home is an easy, economical way of filling your pantry with protein-rich, ready to heat and eat, pinto beans.

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