I say “Boston Baked Beans” with a bit of hesitation because they’re really not true Boston baked beans but they are in close proximity. I know how I say, “Pshhh…” when someone says a recipe is Southern Cornbread and its not. Ha!
The recipe I started with was Tasha Tudor’s Boston Baked Beans. I make them pretty often and serve them with some brown bread, a salad and maybe an apple cobbler. They contain meat so they are a complete meal with a salad and bread. They take long cooking, 8 hours, at low temperature. I have never been quite satisfied at how they turn out in a crockpot so I thought I’d can some. I wanted to have some already cooked and on hand for this Autumn and Winter so it seemed like a good idea to try.
I am canning this batch in pints because there are only 4 of us here right now and sometimes only 2 of us. This recipe must be pressure canned. This is a recipe for experienced canners, not for the novice. This recipe makes about 9 pints of beans, 7 to can and two that I bake in the oven for a couple of hours and have for supper.
6 cups Navy Beans with water to cover
2 – 6 ounce cans tomato paste
2 large onions, diced finely
6 cups water for the sauce
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
8 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
Cooking water from the beans
About 3 ounces of a combination of bacon and smoked sausage or your preferred sausage, I think you could use Turkey sausage in this but the Turkey bacon might lose its flavor. 3 ounces is about what a person with a small hand could hold in their palm.
There are three preparatory steps to making and canning these beans.
- 1. Soak the beans
- 2. Cut up the meat
- 3. Make the sauce
1. Soak the beans – Use Navy Beans in this recipe. You will need about 6 cups of beans. Wash the beans, pick through them for rocks and such. Put the beans in a large pot or bowl, cover them with clean water and allow them to sit on the counter top over night. Next day, drain them, put them in a big cooking pot, add 1 pinch of baking soda, bring to a boil, lower heat and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. Once they have cooked for 10 minutes, keep them hot, don’t drain them or throw away the cooking water.
2. Cut up the meat – The sausage and bacon should be cut up into small bits, a little smaller than a bite. Once you start putting ingredients in the jars it will be easier if you have the meat already divided up into small portions, one portion of meat for each jar. You don’t need to cook the meat before putting it in the jars with the beans, the canning process will cook it.
3. Make the Sauce – in a medium sauce pan add the tomato paste, onions, water, brown sugar, molasses, dry mustard and salt. Bring to a boil, stir well, lower temperature but keep hot.
Now you’re ready to can!
Bring the water in your pressure canner to a boil per the manufacturer’s instructions. Heat the lids and rings. Bring some water to a boil and heat your jars.
1. Add a portion of the sausage and bacon to the hot jar
2. Add about 1 cup of pre-cooked beans to the jar with the meat. It should fill the jar about half way with beans and meat. This recipe makes a saucy dish, there is a lot of liquid, if you want less sauce, add a few more beans to the jar, only 1 or 2 tablespoons of beans though. That sauce is good though over mashed potatoes!
3. Now add sauce up to the shoulder of the jar
4. Add cooking water to fill the jar, leaving a one inch head space, add the lid and ring, tighten hand tight, put the jar in the prepared canner.
Once all the jars are filled and in the canner, you can put the canner lid on and begin venting the steam. I vent for 10 minutes then add the weight. You should follow your canner’s manufacturer’s instructions. Also, I add some clean white dish cloths to the canner, I weave them around and between the jars to keep the jars from banging in to one another and breaking.
Pressure the PINTS of baked beans for 75 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure.
Once they are finished, allow the canner to lose its pressure naturally. This means you will remove the canner from the heat, but leave the weight on and allow the canner to cool and release pressure over time. It takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour for a full canner to release all its pressure.
Take the jars out and sit them on a towel to cool. Listen for the “ping”!
If you were to can these beans in quarts, you would:
- Use enough beans and meat to fill the quart jars half way
- Use enough sauce to fill the jar to the shoulder
- Use enough cooking water to fill the jars and leave a one inch head space.
- Pressure can the jars at 10 pounds of pressure for 90 minutes