Reduced-Sugar, sort-of-vegetarian, “Cooked in the jar” Pork and Beans :)

How’s that for a title? :)

A great friend–someone I met on one of my Yahoo canning groups about a year ago … who I’ve bonded with so fast I’m positive we canned together in a former life :) –asked recently if I had a “cooked in the jar” Pork & Beans recipe she could try for her daughter (who’s vegetarian) that she (as a meat-eating low-carber) would like, too.

The answer is yes! :)


Lane’s Reduced-Sugar, Sort-of Vegetarian, “Cooked in the Jar” Pork & Beans

Line up a canner load of pint jars, and–in each jar–place:

  • 1/3 cup dry white beans (I use navy beans, but great northerns would work)
  • 1 tablespoon dried onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon Splenda
  • 1/4 teaspoon bacon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Clear Jel (canning-approved cornstarch)
  • a light grating of nutmeg
  • warmed tomato juice up to the half-way mark
  • boiling water to 1-inch headspace

Pressure-can for 75 minutes @ 10psi, or adjust for your altitude


If you don’t need/want to go low-carb/reduced sugar, you can replace the Splenda and molasses with two-to-four teaspoons of brown sugar, depending on taste. If you don’t care about being a sort-of vegetarian, you can always add a teaspoon of bacon bits instead of the 1/4 teaspoon of bacon salt. Or, if you insist on realism … and treat pork & beans like a King Cake, where you get good luck when you find the special goodie tucked inside the recipe … you can always keep the bacon salt, and include a 1/2 inch cube of pork fat in each jar, too.

Once you get all the dry ingredients in the jar, they look like this:

When you get ready to add the tomato juice … don’t make it too warm … and start stirring as soon as you start pouring it in. I opened my large can of juice, put about half of it in my 8-cup Pyrex measuring cup, and just ran it through the microwave for about a minute. The idea is to just not put it in there completely cold, but you also don’t want it too warm either. This is the step where you’re mixing in your Clear Jel … so if your juice it more than just warmed, it could cause the Clear Jel to clump.

Add the warmed juice until it reaches roughly half-way to a one-inch headspace, mix well, and it looks like this :)

Add boiling water to bring each jar up to a one-inch headspace. Clean the lip, apply a two-part canning lid, and pressure can for 75 minutes at 10 psi if you’re at less than 2,000 feet. Adjust pressure to 15psi for greater altitudes. If you insist on making quarts, double the recipe … then pressure can for 90 minutes, with the same pressure and adjustment for altitude.

They look like this the next morning :)

I know. They don’t exactly look like the Pork & Beans you buy in cans … but that’s just because the tomato solids out of the juice have temporarily separated to the top of the jar. Don’t worry about that right now. Once you open it, dump it in a pan, and start warming it … those tomato solids will mix in with the Clear Jel-thickened parts below, making that rich tomato gravy you enjoy out of the original!

Cost-wise … these “cooked in the jar” beauties are amazingly cheap! A third-cup of dry white beans costs pennies–especially when you buy them in bulk like I do–and nothing else in that jar is really all that expensive either. The most expensive thing is probably the tomato juice. I used about half a can to make four pints, so it probably cost me $0.15/jar. The spices just came out of my stash. All in all, I’d be surprised if I have $0.20/jar invested here … but–considering how much I too love pork & beans–I’ll get mouthfuls of joy back out of it!

Let me know what you think, Sheila :)

About Lane

Just a canner ... on this food journey called life :)
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4 Responses to Reduced-Sugar, sort-of-vegetarian, “Cooked in the jar” Pork and Beans :)

  1. Sheila says:

    OHHHHHH MYYYYYY SWEETIE… I know we canned together in the past life.. but more like you are my.Very own ..almost.. DEAR DAUGHTER.. I could just hug you till your little head popped off but.. then ..No more Ideas.. Honey you hit me right head on with this.. and truly I will have a canner going with these ……….I have a 1/2 gallon northern’s setting on the floor from the Ham and Bean run.. the Clear Jel and, all the spices in stock.. and home canned tomato juice by the gallons..
    If he don’t know it.. and Men DO!! need reminded at times… You tell your Dear Hubby ..just how lucky he is to have you..!!!!!!!!!!!!!… And I said so… Now you may be just as Lucky ?? Have not really met him yet but I hope to one day…so I will send him a hug also..
    looks like another day inside .. my road is still solid ice in front of the house.. may be ok in places but.. I don’t need to find out for sure..first time in my 42 yrs the mail has not run for several days.. goodness..
    God blessed me with.. Wonderful Friends.. lot’s of canning jars.. and god help.. many canners.. hehe love that part..and this wonderful Computer.. and I buy my supplies really cheap.. so like you.. this stuff don’t cost me much.. and shoot the canning flats from the dutchman’s store in Cantril Iowa.. can not be beat..heheh For Quality and Cost..
    Many hugs for this one… Dear Lady…
    I promise I will get on it here in just a few…
    wooo hooo.. pork and beans later tonight.. hehehhe

  2. Lane says:

    I’m sending the love right back acccha, my darlin … but if you hugged me so hard you popped my head right off … think of all the canning we’d miss talking about :)

    I’m glad I caught you before you put up those beans … and since you have your own canned tomato juice (when I had to buy mine in the store) your per-jar cost is REALLY going to be pennies! I’m envious!

    Let me know once you crack open a jar. I’m curious to hear what your tongue says we should add, too :)


  3. Sheila Wright says:

    Oh my Honey… did I not leave a note about my canning of the pork and beans… well…let me tell ya.. THEY ARE FANTASTIC……..FLAT OUT HANDS DOWN WONDERFUL…NO JOKE… So much so that I got up 14 pints.. all the jars I had down here at the time…. and the kids do not like me going up to the attic with no one here to get more….my DD was at the farm visiting.. . Silly kids anyway..but I did not.. soo 14 was it that day.. I give a pint to my good neighbor guy… he loves beans and she does not and will not cook them.. he fell in love.. I MEAN IN LOVE..WITH THEM.. shoot I been lovin’ that guy for over 40 yrs.. and her too.. Well… Monday I spent all day with her at her house and we did up her… 19 pint jars in my Big AA as it holds 2 layers.. and also…6 qts of plain Northers… this is what ..6#s made.. (19 pints and 6 qts).. oh and I took her to the.. Salvage store I took you to.. and we got them beans for…1.00 for 2#s ..they did not have any dry or onion powder so we got onion bullion cubes..
    I took what went in each jar dry crushed it all up with 1/2 tsp of my ham base.. it measured.. 2 TBS.. so I set her to crushing and mixing with a fork to get it all fine and ready.. into the jars… WE took her home canned tomatoes.. and whizzed them with the stick blender.. heated 1 1/2 min in the micro.. in went the washed beans,, in went the T.Juice.. stir stir well cap and in the canner… We started with cold water as our Product was just warm…..
    She is so proud of her beans.. you would think she thought it up…hehehhe.And I am thrilled I could share it with her………
    good lord this said leave a note.. not a durn book..hehehhe Love and Huggs to you..

  4. Lane says:

    Well, she did think it up, my darlin! She thought “I need to get Sheila over here to teach me how to make those darned beans my husband keeps raving about. He loves them, and they’re CHEAP, TOO!” 8)

    Thanks for sharing, Sheila! I always love to hear that someone’s enjoying my handiwork! :)

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