Many of you know that because of physical limitations, I use a grocery delivery service for my grocery shopping. The service is geared toward Senior clients and I am very satisfied with it. The service puts out a yearly catalog of grocery items that I use to put together my twice monthly orders and the catalog is extensive. The only down side is that prices are not listed, which is understandable since the catalog is published yearly and prices change. So when I looked over my receipt a few weeks ago and discovered that I had paid $1.38 for an 8 ounce can of baked beans, I decided it was time to can my own.
I have canned pork and beans before, using a method where you measure the dry beans into jars, add the sauce and pressure can. That method worked, but the beans didn't turn out quite as tender as I would have liked. So this time I am using Jackie Clay's (Backwoods Home Magazine) recipe. There is more work involved than the first method, but I think the results will be more to my liking.
Here is the recipe I am using:
2 quarts. dried navy or other smaller beans
1 lb. thickly sliced bacon or salt pork (or ham)
6 large onions, diced
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
4 tsp. salt
4 tsp. dry mustard
1 1/3 cups molasses
Sort beans, rinse, then cover with 6 quarts fresh water; let stand overnight in a cool place. Drain. Cover beans with 6 quarts water in large stockpot. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer until skins begin to crack. Drain, reserving liquid. Pour beans into turkey roaster or other very large baking dish. Add bacon, ham, and remaining ingredients and 8 cups reserved liquid. Ladle sauce over beans and bake, covered, at 350 degrees for about 3 hours. Add water or cooking liquid to keep wet enough; you don’t want them dry but watery. Pack hot beans and sauce into hot jars, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Process pints for 80 minutes and quarts for 95 minutes at 10 pounds pressure.
I don't have any bacon or ham on hand so I will not be adding meat and I am adding fewer onions. My roaster pan is too small (I am making 1 1/2 times the recipe) so I am using my electric roaster instead of the oven.
I am using some pint jars and some half pint jars. The half pints are just right for a single serving. I am using 4 - 16 oz. bags of dry beans. I haven't done the math on all of the ingredients, but one bag of beans cost less than one 8 oz. can of prepared beans, so I don't think I can go wrong on the price.
The beans are now in the first stage of cooking. I will do a follow up tomorrow to let you know how it all turns out.
There is nothing wrong with buying prepared pork and beans, but when living on a fixed income, it seems well worth the time and trouble to can my own. That money will be better spent on items I can't preserve myself.
Keep on prepping.