(Repost) Safely Cooking Beans in a pressure cooker

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Due to a fool I am reposting it as this is such a good thread

When reading the instructions on my new pressure cooker, I was disappointed to find that cooking beans is "never reccomended", because they tend to foam and block the vent, and then, look out!

However, on a cheaper pressure cooker I saw, they say as long as the beans are not spit, you can soak them overnight in (2 cups beans) water with 1/4 cup oil, and 1 tbs. salt and this will minimize foaming.

Anybody got experience with this? My cooker is an All American pressure canner.

-- beans, beans (goodfor@the.heart), April 10, 1999


uh, I meant split, not spit..

-- beans (b@b.b), April 10, 1999.

I have fond memories of the day my mother did lima beans in her pressure canner. The pressure valve (that round thingie) blew off and sprayed lima beans all over the kitchen ceiling.

Today I am canning 60 lbs of chicken in my two All American pressure canners. One old, one new. Bought new pressure meter and valve for the old one, it works fine.

Chicken quarters are 29 cents a lb this week at Lucky (West Coast only?) 60 lbs of chicken, boneless, works out to about 14 quart jars of meat, about that in chicken juice, and about 10 half pint jars of chicken fat. Takes about nine hours.

Will have beans for dinner, anyway.

-- Mary (CAgdma@home.com), April 10, 1999.

Kewl - I am canning beef in a thin barbecue sauce today. Did ham last week with thin sauce of pineapple cloves and raisins. (Will probably be pretty strong.) Did the chicken quarters two weeks ago. Have son who will have difficulty without meat. Suggest you make chicken stock too. It will make good gravy and sauces and flavor beans and rice.

Also bought thirty pounds of frozen berrys and made preserves last month.

Good canning site is http://www.msue.msu.edu/msue/imp/mod01/master01.html

Did find after buying replacement parts for my 20 year old pressure canner, that the cost was about the same as a new one.

-- marsh (armstrng@sisqtel.net), April 10, 1999.

Beans are no problem to cook. I do lima's in mine all the time. It is important to keep the level of the liquid in the cooker to only about 1 to 1 1/2 cups (or so...). Soaking them is a good idea also and the oil does help a lot with the foaming. I think folks use too much liquid and cause these problems themselves.

You can also go half-way. That is cook the beans a reduced amount of time, set the cooker off the heat and let the pressure drop. Once the pressure is down, remove the lid and continue cooking the 'pot that was formally known as a pressure cooker...'. This method isn't as fast as a complete cooking under pressure but it will significantly reduce the total cook time. And reduce any worries about repaving the ceiling... :)

-- x (fire_water5@yahoo.com), April 10, 1999.

I have unfond memories of the day I cooked navy beans in a pressure cooker. I'll bet that apartment still has a brown stain on the ceiling. It also sprayed bean juice all over the clean dishes in the drainer. My advice: don't cook beans in the pressure cooker.

-- Pearlie Sweetcake (storestuff@home.now), April 10, 1999.

Try using a fireless box {insulated box}. Bring the pressurer cooker to full pressure and place the pressure cooker into your insulated box , put an insulated lit on top and close the box. Eight to ten hours later the pressure cooker is still hot, the food is cooked and ready to eat hot when you want to eat it. P.S. Made my insulated box out of a large cardboard box and starifoam. Custom foarmed the starifoam to fit the pressure cooker. Lined the staridoam with foil. Did the same for the top,leaving a space for the special pressure weight. Really reduces amount of energy needed to cook. The food is cooked very quickly and will stay hot for 8 to 10 hours.

-- thinkIcan (thinkIcan@make.it), April 10, 1999.

Hubby made me what I call a "bush box" or "outback oven". The pot, which I have found a Visions casserole dish to do the best job, sits in insulated box. Our box is plywood with 6 inches of styrofoam all the way around. I don't even soak my beans. Throw beans into a pot along with onion, ham and whatever esle you like, bring to a rolling boil and then put into the box (with lid on casserole dish) Our box takes about 8 hours, but I usually take it out in the afternoon and quickly bring to boil again and put back into box until dinner. Believe me, you will need pot holders!! As our box sits out on the porch, hubby tied two bricks together with a string handle. These are kept in the solar oven which sits out on the patio all of the time. Thus the bricks are usually hot and I put them into the bush box to preheat it. I use my solar oven and bush box all the time. Why pay for and use unnecessary electricity? For some reason, the corn bread baked in solar oven does not raise as much but seems to have more flavor. Hubby still working on his solar oven prototype as he wants to get it so it will get up to 400 degrees. Right now about 260 seems to be tops. I use it all the time to make tuna/catfish candles and hobo stoves. This week I am going to brown a pot roast, put in veggies and fluid, bring to a boil and put into the bush box and see what we get. Might be one hell of a mess! LOL Old Git, I wish you would send me your email address to JHaral2197@aol.com

-- Taz (Tassie@aol.com), April 10, 1999.

-- Brian (imager@ampsc.com), April 11, 1999


I have a Kuhn-Ricoh pressure cooker and a cookbook by Lorna J. Sass titled "Cooking Under Pressure" which says:

"Many manufacturers warn against cooking applesauce, cranberries, pearl barley, rhubarb, and split peas for fear that the foaming action will catapault a small bit of food into the vent and clog it. I've avoided cranberries, rhubarb and plain split peas, but I have discovered methods for cooking applesauce, pearl barley, and pea soup that caused no problems in multiple testings. Just follow the recipes carefully, and keep an eye on the pressure guage and vent when these ingredients are cooking.

Always reduce the pressure under cold running water when cooking these foods and never attempt to force open the lid."

I have followed her recipes for various beans and split peas, and have never had a problem. I also believe that the design of the better new pressure cookers has a feature that prevents their "blowing up". There is a back-up relief valve that gives if the pressure gets too high. I have been very happy with my Kuhn-Ricoh, and ficure that it has paid for itself in the savings on canned beans and electricity in the five years that I have used it.

We can't stand the taste and texture of canned beans anymore, having discovered how much better they taste when home cooked....

Good luck all you

-- housemouse (jgj@nevermind.net), April 11, 1999.

We always use a pyrex glass dish with a lid when we cook with a pressure cooker. The rice, plit peas, beans never get out of the pyrex covered dish.

-- thinkIcan (thinkIcan@make.it), April 11, 1999.

Best way to cook beans, as well as the easiest, is in a slow cooker.

Remember those gifts everyone got 10 years ago that you thought were useless? Well, they have been reborn for use post Y2K.

Actually, I use mine often, as I am very busy, and it saves time while p[reserving nutrients.

I throw the beans in to soak in water, rinse the water after several hours, add more.

Then, I turn on the cooker for slow cooking (low). After several hours, I return, stir, add a carrot.

Return later, add an onion, a potato, and a bay leaf or two.

A few hours later, more stirring, some olive oil, garlic cloves, and soon, a thick, delicious hearty bean stew. Suitable for storing or enjoying now.

-- Sara Nealy (keithn@aloha.net), April 11, 1999.

You know, The pyrex dish with pyrex lid might just work fine! for two reasons: 1) to keep the foam from invading the vents, as indicated above, and 2) the stainless steel pressure cooker with the hypenated name above may be different, and thus better suited to cooking beans, or any food in general. I've always been leery of cooking food in my American _Aluminum_ because it seems that there are a lot of "salts" on the canning jars, although that could be just my hard water and not aluminum salts, but also because the American Aluminum has tiny "grooves" in the inside, where it was ground or milled, and it might be really hard to clean.

Putting the food in a Pyrex container with a lid..or even some half gallon canning jars (!) would probably work, but don't forget to put water in the bottom of the canner as well, and to use that insert that comes with it.


-- Mary (Cagd,a@home.com), April 11, 1999.

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