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Canning black beans is an effective way to store fresh beans for use throughout the year. To create flavored black beans, spices can be added to the jars while canning to create a pre-seasoned dish. Certain tips can also be followed to make sure canned foods remain safe and fresh, including using a pressure canner instead of using water canning to preserve them.
Herbs and spices can be added into jars of beans during the canning process, in order to make flavored beans. Canning black beans with spices such as salt, pepper, tomato sauce, and cilantro creates Mexican flavored beans, which can then be added to salads or tacos to make a quick and easy dinner.
Sometimes, when canning black beans, a glass jar cracks or breaks during canning. To prevent this, glass jars should be kept in a warm area, such as in the dishwasher or in a simmering pot of shallow water, after they are washed and are waiting to be filled. This prevents the glass from being too rapidly heated when hot beans are placed inside and reduces the risk of cracking.
Clostridium botulium is a type of bacteria that can grow in oxygenless environments, such as sealed cans or jars. If it is consumed, it can cause botulism. This bacteria does not grow on fresh foods, because it cannot survive in the open, but once a food is canned, the risk becomes much higher, and there is no way to tell if this bacteria has affected a preserved food. Symptoms of botulism include vomiting, paralysis, and difficulty breathing. This condition can be fatal It treatment is not found quickly.
The chances of a canned food becoming infected with the Clostridium botulium bacteria are much higher when foods are not acidic, as it is difficult for this bacteria to survive in acidic environments. Most fruits are acidic, but most vegetables have a neutral pH. It is recommended that vegetables, such as black beans, be canned with a pressure canner rather than through water canning the prevent botulism.
Water canning involves placing canning jars filled with food in boiling water, which is at a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius). This is a hot enough temperature to kill most bacteria, especially in an acidic environment that is already inhospitable to these organisms. Pressure canning heats canning jars to 240 degrees Fahrenheit (115.6 degrees Celsius), which is high enough to kill most bacteria even in more neutral environments. When canning black beans, it is recommended that a pressure canner be used to ensure safety.
Another ways to keep canned foods fresh is to only use newly washed and sanitized jars. After the food is placed into the jar, any remaining food should always be wiped away from the lip, in order to deter bacterial growth in these areas. After canning, the jars should be tested to be sure that the lids are air tight. Air tight lids will not depress when they are pushed on.