Canning Weekend #1: Refried Beans

My boys eat bean burritos like there is no tomorrow. I used to buy the prepackaged ones in the store but those were lucky to last a day. They aren't that healthy and frankly, I had to find a way to keep burritos in this house without going broke. I moved to store bought canned beans and began making a few dozen at a time, freezing them individually and then throwing them in a baggy. (The secret to getting them to not stick together in one big lump, I discovered the hard way) 

I was headed out the door to go buy two more cases of refried beans when I remembered that I had enough dried pintos to feed a small village for a month. Then I decided to investigate canning them for ultimate convenience. For me, convenience reigns high in this house. Followed closely by nutrition and cost. I tried a few recipes but this is the one we like best. 

I soaked the pintos overnight, adding more water before I went to bed. In the morning I rinsed them (I highly recommend not reusing the soaking water. I know it has more nutrients, but with teenage boys who are gaseous enough, I just can't take it.) 

I filled quart jars with two inches of head space in order to give room for a bit more expansion and all the spices. Before adding water, I threw in spices to each jar. 

4Tbsp tomato sauce

2 Tbsp chopped onion

1 tsp taco seasoning

1 tsp paprika

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cumin

dash black pepper (or white pepper)

1/4 tsp garlic powder

Over that I poured boiling water, topped with hot lids and put in my pressure canner. These MUST be pressure canned and they must not be mashed when you can them. Mashed refrieds are too dense to get hot enough in the center. 

Because I didn't hot pack I let them sit in my canner to boil and steam for a good half hour getting nice and hot before I started building pressure. Let them go for 90 minutes at 10 lbs pressure, adjusting for altitude. You can use pints as well, just halve the spices and go for 75 minutes in the canner. I park myself in front of the stove with a good book to pass the time.

When you're ready to use, dump them in a pan, add a bit of water and mash with a potato masher. Add water slowly until you have the perfect consistency. 

Each quart will make about a dozen burritos, more if I mix them half and half with meat. These cost next to nothing to make. I calculated it once and I remember that the lid cost more than the entire contents of the jar. So, no burrito shortage at this house! 

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Posted on January 11, 2015 and filed under Homecraft Happiness, Canning, Frugal Eating.