Why am I talking about canning in April? Isn’t Summer the time to can? Today’s canning is something you can do year round and in fact, it’s perfect to do any other time than in the middle of Summer when you’re already swamped in the canning department! Today we’re talking about dry beans and chicken.
We enjoy beans and eat a lot at our house. I like having a variety of canned beans on my shelves! I buy a 25 lb. bag at a time, then it lasts for a year or two. I only can a big batch of beans at a time as I need them.
I used to can them using my pressure canner. I was under a lot of pressure to be watching that pressure on my canner for every batch of beans I put through! But it was still worth it to have my own home canned beans…No BPA liner for one thing, plus, it’s one less thing to buy at the store! But I have discovered such an easy way to can beans or chicken, that you can basically take a nap or go to bed while your food is being canned!!
You first have to fill your jars, so of course there is a little work involved. I use pint jars, fill with half a cup dry beans. Add a half teaspoon salt. Fill to the neck with water. Wipe the jar tops and put on lids and rings. I do not soak my beans beforehand. I reused lids for all these jars and every one sealed!
Place bread or cookie racks in the oven on top of your oven racks. Then set the jars on the racks and fill your oven with jars! As many or as few as you like. Once you have them all arranged, turn your oven to 255*. When it beeps the correct temperature, begin timing and let them at that temperature for 5 hours. This is when you can go take your nap. After 5 hours, turn the oven off and let them sit in the oven for another 10 hours more or less. There’s not an exact time frame here. I like to get them in the oven late afternoon, like around 4:30. Then I can turn them off at 9:30 p.m. and go to bed! Forget about them until the next morning! I like to do this at night so it doesn’t tie up my oven all day. If you wake up during the night you might hear the assuring little pops of sealing jars! About 7:30 a.m. I took my jars out of the oven and set them on the counter to finish cooling. They were actually still hot enough I needed a tea towel to handle them. I then waited until the next day, before putting them on my basement shelves.
I also use this same method to can chicken breasts. Stuff jars with meat- I used pints, and add a half teaspoon salt. I did not add water to these jars because it will make broth of its own as it cooks. Again, have your jars in the oven for 5 hours at 255*, turn the oven off and let set until nearly cool. Having canned chicken and beans on hand is perfect for quick meals! I like adding either or both to a salad for some good protein and you’ve got a meal right there!
Get some beans in the oven and go to bed! It’s called carefree canning!