In Part One of this Dried Bean challenge post, I was using a bucket of beans from my long term storage, and replacing what I used with a new bag of beans to put in LTS mylar and the bucket I just emptied. So I will pick up from that point.
I carefully cut the mylar bag open, (but if you are just starting out then open your purchased bag of beans), and pour the beans into large dish pans, pick through, and rinse the beans and then cover them with water to soak overnight. I then could wipe the inside of the mylar bag with a dry cloth, peel the label off the outside of the bucket and store both for reuse at another time, I can usually get 2 sometimes 3 uses out of a mylar bag, and an infinite number of uses out of the buckets since I treat them carefully when opening and store out of the light and heat), or in this case I will reuse the bucket, use an new mylar bag and save the opened bag for a smaller quantity of food another time.
I will interrupt myself for a minute and address a few things about pressure canning... ***Practically everyone has a horror story told by their grandma about the pressure canner blowing its lid on the stove. Well, I was witness to one case of that myself as a child, the lid left its impression in the ceiling for as long as I can remember... but it was a pressure cooker, not a canner, as most of the stories were probably about. With a pressure cooker, it is possible to clog the pressure release with foods that boiled up too high in the pot, or that was left with the heat too high, and in the old pressure cookers there was no emergency release plug. But today in both canners and cookers, there is a hard rubber plug that will blow out if the pressure builds too high. and there is a locking mechanism that comes into play when the pressure inside the pot reaches a certain level, at that point until the pot cools down, there is no way to unlock the pot. The lid is not going to blow off. But if you were gifted your great grandma's cooker or canner and it was made before the safety measures were put into place, I would use it as a flower pot or salvage it for its aluminum value and buy an new model.
Now where was I...The black beans will go into large kettles on the stove and boil them on medium high for 30 minutes. I will use pint size jars, (the size of the jar will vary with the type of item I am canning). While the beans are cooking, I put all the jars through a sterilization cycle on the dishwasher, or put them on a tray in a 250 degree oven for 15 minutes to sterilize the jars. I put the flat part of the two part lids in a small pan of water simmer it until needed.When the beans have boiled for 30 minutes, I move them off the stove and put the pressure canner on the stove. I place the rack that will keep the jars off the bottom of the pan in the canner and fill with 1 1/2 to 2 inches of water and turn the heat on high to heat the water. This water is what will make the steam that processes the jars under pressure. Next, I line the jars on the counter, (put a towel down on the counter first if the jars aren't on a tray, so that the cold counter won't shatter a hot jar), put a wide mouth funnel in a jar and fill with beans , draining most of the liquid off before ladling the beans in the jars. I fill the jars to the bottom of the neck of a regular mouth jar and to the last ring thread on a wide mouth jar, which will leave about 1 inch of head space in the top of the jar. Then I add 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt to each jar and ladle cooking liquid in to just cover the beans. Wiping each jar rim thoroughly with a clean damp cloth, will assure that the lids will adhere properly and seal tight after canning, so wipe the rims, place the flat part of the lid on the jar and then place the band on. The band should just be just finger tight, if you crank the lid down too tight it could cause the jars to burst under pressure, and if it is too lose it might not seal, so twist the band on and when you begin to feel resistance, go a little tighter then stop. To check to see if it is tightened properly, unscrew one of the jars, if it is hard to turn the lid off then it is too tight.
Now for some bonus pointers...
In the initial distribution of 2-10 lb. bag of beans, 7 lbs. went into long term storage in mylar and a bucket, and 3 pounds remained for another use, I added the 3 left over pounds from the first bag of beans to the other 10 lb. bag of beans and soaked all of them over night and then cooked them for 30 minutes so that I could can 20 pints of beans. After completing the 20 pints of canned beans, I cooked the remaining beans until they were completely done. I reserved half of the cooked beans to make Caribbean Black Bean Soup, drained the rest of the beans and added the liquid to the pot of soup I would be making. Then I put the drained beans on dehydrator trays and dehydrated them until they were completely dry and turned to powder when when I crushed between my fingers. On this rainy day they took about 18 hours to dry, on dry days it would take less time. These beans are ready to seal up with a Food Saver, or can be stored in small, serving size mylar bags with an oxygen absorber.
|Cooked, dehydrated beans vacuum sealed with Food Sever wide mouth attachment|
But I didn't stop there! I also made dried soup mix from some of the dehydrated beans. I put the seasoning for the Caribbean Black Bean Soup in the Vitamix with some of the dehydrated beans, and processed them all into a fine powder. I then sealed them with a Food Saver Vacuum sealer and labeled them with cooking directions. But wait! I am not finished yet! Remember the pot of Caribbean Black Bean Soup I made? Well, I cooked it down to a very thick soup,reserved enough of the soup for my husband and I to have a bowl each for dinner, then I cooled the rest and put it in the Vitamix and blended it until I had a thick smooth slightly loose paste. I used my dehydrator's solid silicone sheets, and spread the cooled thick bean soup paste on the dryer sheets and dried it until the soup was completely dry. I broke a corner off the dried soup and crushed to powder with my fingers as a test to make sure it was completely dry. If it is not powdery when crushed return to the dehydrator and continue drying until it is. I then checked my Vitamix carafe to make sure it was bone dry and added my dehydrated soup and blended it into a fine powder. I also used the Food Saver to seal the soup up in individual servings, and labeled with cooking instructions and the date. This soup is ready to eat, just add hot water, stir and leave for a minute or two while the ingredients absorb the water. To make a thick paste for use as a burrito filling or to make to make a dip for chips, add water a little at a time until desired consistency is achieved or for soup slowly add hot water until the consistency is... what can I say.. uh,soupy...
|Thick bean soup, ready for the dehydrator|
|Two serving bags of dehydrated uncooked Black Bean Soup|
Wow... It is just amazing how much can be done with a couple of bags of dried beans!