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