One thing I was able to do today while sitting was fill up quart jars with dry beans for bean soup mix. We love 9 or 10 or 15 bean soup but when I make it at home, it’s however many beans I find handy.
We love beans and bean soup is a favorite for us in the winter. I put together 25 quart jars of soup mix.
There’s no need to go through the whole situation of our food supply here but something like bean soup mix is great to have on hand.
At our Walmart, a bag of 15 bean soup mix, including the seasoning mix, is $2.72. That’s a 20 oz. bag so I’m going to say that’s 19 oz. of beans and 1 oz. of seasoning.
Dry beans at our Walmart run anywhere from $1.15 to $1.50 per pound, depending on the bean and whether the Great Value brand is available. Let’s just say $1.30 per one pound bag for the beans so that makes 19 oz. of beans cost $1.56. Each packet of the seasoning mix I use currently costs .18 so that makes 19 oz. of beans plus 1 seasoning packet cost $1.74. That’s basically $1 less than buying the packet of already mixed beans so, for the 25 jars of beans I made, I saved $25. Linen money! 🙂
Now, if you’re going to make a pot of bean soup three times a year, the savings isn’t worth it and I’d just buy the bag of already mixed beans!
How I Do It:
I use a large bowl or even a plastic wash tub. 24 pounds of beans will fill 12 quart jars with about 2 pounds of beans per jar and I made two batches – 12 quart jars the first time and 13 quarts the second time. That happened because I was using a half gallon jar of pinto beans and for the second batch, I dumped in the rest of what was in the jar and it was apparently more than two pounds.
I use whatever beans I have on hand.
Today I used the following beans:
- Pinto Beans from a jar
- Yellow Beans
- Black Beans
- Small Red Beans
- Great Northern Beans
- Lima Beans
- Baby Lima Beans
- Black Eyed Peas
- Garbanzo Beans
- Cranberry Beans
You can truly use as few or as many types of beans as you like or as you can find.
I didn’t do any prep (as in freezing or washing the beans beforehand), just dumped them all into a huge bowl, mixed them with my hands and then loaded them into 12 quart jars.
In each quart jar, I placed two packets of Goya Ham Flavored Concentrate. It isn’t the most healthy spice packet (corn syrup solids, MSG) out there but it’s very good and I figure the health benefits of the beans outweigh the ingredients I wish weren’t in there. I have seen some recipes online for making your own but haven’t tried it.
I love having the packet already in the jar so if I want to grab a jar to share with a friend or someone who needs food for their family, I can dump the contents into a ziplock bag and everything is included.
For quarts, I add two packets of the seasoning mix to each jars.
The box of seasoning packet contains 6 smaller boxes with 20 little packets in each box for a total of 120 packets. That’s what I’ve always received but I see some on Amazon are saying they receive different numbers of packets in their boxes. Not sure what’s up with that.
After the beans and seasoning packets are placed in the jar, I vacuum seal the jars. I use an old pressure canner that Vince made into a vacuum chamber and can seal 7 jars at once and it takes about 4 minutes total. So easy.
These beans/seasoning mix should be good for several years. The last time I made the bean mix was five years ago and we just ran out about a month ago. I don’t know how many I made then – probably 24 or 36 yards. I most often use cases of jars and try to fill full cases but I can’t say that’s what I did.
Cooking the Soup:
When it’s time to cook the soup, I’ll open the jar and dump out half the beans. I usually remove the two spice packets, dump the contents of the jar into a bowl and weigh the beans. It’s usually real close to two pounds – maybe 36 ounces. I’ll pour half of the beans – about a pound, into a ziplock bag, stick one seasoning packet in there and stick that in the front of my freezer so the next time I need to make beans, I’ll use the rest of what was in that car.
I wash the beans several times. Then I soak them overnight. Drain that water, rinse and drain them.
In a heavy pot (or in the pressure cooker), add a little oil, butter or bacon grease, saute an onion, bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, celery and garlic. When that’s clear and looked sauteed enough, add water, the beans and the seasoning packet. Add a can of tomatoes – I usually use a 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes.
I also will add some kind of meat. If we’ve smoked something recently, I’ll add some of that – chicken, brisket, pork butt – something to give it a bit of smokey flavor. If we have leftover steak or roast beef, I’ll chop that and add it. If we have nothing really to add, I’ll saute some cajun sausage and add that.
The soup is a meal by itself. I’ll serve it with crackers, or cornbread, with a sandwich or a salad.
Half of the jar, which is a little over 1 pound of beans, will last us for two meals (each) and then there’s usually still some leftover.
It’s a good, hearty meal and not expensive to fix.