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Pressure canning pulses  RSS feed

 
master steward
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It was mentioned on the cooking with dry beans and peas thread, that we can pressure cook dry beans, right in the jar, so that they are ready to eat at a moment's notice.

Anyone done this?

There seems to be two ways, first is to put the dry beans in the jars and fill with water.


The other is to partly cook the beans first.


What I would like to do is to pre-soak the beans, then pack them in the jars and pressure can them. Is it possible?

I know just enough about canning to know that I need to follow a recipe to be safe. Do you have any recipes you like for this kind of thing?
 
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I haven't done it yet, but saved this bookmark for when I do.

http://gnowfglins.com/2014/10/27/how-to-can-beans-the-nourishing-way/
 
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The recipe in the Ball Blue Book for canning dried beans is:

Combine beans and water.
Bring to boil for 2 minutes. Let soak for 1 hour.
Rinse.
Add water and boil for 30 minutes.
Pack into jars leaving 1" headspace.
Add cooking broth or water.
Pressure cook.
 
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I cook beans regularly in the crockpot. I will be making them from now this way as I have a pressure canner, and limited freezer space here.

I wish canning would work after drying fruits/veges.
 
raven ranson
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One of the things I'm wondering is that when cooking different pulses, they need different cooking times. Even in a pressure cooker, adzuki beans need about 5 min, whereas chickpeas need 14 (from soaked). But these recipes all have the same time for cooking the beans. Do we need to take this into account when canning beans?
 
gardener
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When pressure canning, remember that the time in the pressure cooker is based on attaining food safety, not cooking til done. I am kind of careful about "doing things my own way" when it comes to canning. There is a recipe for dry beans in the ball blue book, but I don't want to do the "extra" steps.

I have just put the washed dried beans in the jar (1/4-1/3 cup in a pint jar with 1/4 teaspoon of salt) then fill with water leaving 1/2 inch head space and at altitude 5200 feet, canned at 15 pounds of pressure for 90 minutes. That's more time than the ball blue book says, but I haven't done the pre cook thing. This way the beans don't always come out evenly distributed in the jar, there are beans packed tight in the bottom of the jar.

To get around this, I have filled the jars in the evening, let them sit (essentially soaking the beans) overnight, then in the morning, shake them up so they are more evenly distributed in the jar, and and a little water to return to the proper headspace, then can them at 15# for 90 minutes, that works better.

When my children were small, I found a pork and beans recipe and put a piece of pork and some spices piece of garlic piece of onion, tomato juice in there did the 90 minute thing, and that was the basis for a good bean soup.

Mostly I just do plain beans now. I only can beans in the winter so that I am using the energy twice, once to cook the beans and once to heat the house.

If I were to can lentils, I would still do the 90 minutes at 15 pounds (at my elevation) for pint size jars, because that is the right time and pressure to kill the botulinum spores all the way in the center of the jar... when it is not a brothy liquid but a thick thing that will impede the circulation of heat throughout thw whole jar.

So, lentlis would probably cook all the way to mush, maybe not what you want form your lentils, but since they cook so fast anyway, it's not that much of an advantage to have them precooked.

Living at high elevation, it's hard to get dry beans to cook, so using the pressure canner cooks the beans better in a shorter period of time.

If you don't already have a copy of the Ball canning book, I highly recommend it. It is a great reference. If I want to add pork to my beans, I can check what is the time required for each, then can the mixture for the length of time required for the food that takes the longest, keeping in mind the other thing about the texture. Solid thick things are going to require more time than thin juicy liquid where the contents of the jar circulates easily, there by transferring the heat, and the temperature of the contents rises uniformly.

But as I said, I err on the side of caution. Because I can the beans for 90 minutes, I just can't feel comfortable canning chicken broth for less than 90 minutes.
 
pollinator
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Growing up we canned green beans packing them in the jar raw. My job was to cut them in 1 inch chunks and pack them in the jar and add the salt and water. My mother did the pressure canning so I don't remember the pressure and timing but that came from the book anyway. When they cooled I would take them to the root cellar and store them on shelves with the other canned goods. My mother would count how many were coming for dinner and order one quart for each person so the more company we had the more variety we had on the table.
Then there was the peas! My mother would blanch the pods and I was given the task of putting the stem end between the rollers of the washing machine wringer which would pop the peas out of the pods. The peas tended to be over cooked when pressure caned so when we got the freezer we transitioned to freezing them.
The freezer is another story of community. My father was an excellent carpenter who who was working with an excellent refrigeration man who could not saw a board straight. So my father built two 40 cubic foot freezers and the refrigeration man installed the freezer plates and compressors. Two years later he was reassigned and gave us his freezer so we had two f them and by that time had more meet animals so we were freezing our meet instead of canning it.
Any way that is the way things were done 70 years ago.
 
steward
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The USDA Canning Guide (PDF) may be downloaded for free. It is broken into eight sections, which must be downloaded seperately. Or, just download the Vegetable canning guide, which includes beans/peas.
 
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so heres my question about canning- now normally this might be a moot point on a cooking network etc, but on the permie forum- hoping to get an idea- how healthy is canning for one- with the plastic lining to the jar lids??
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Hi Wayne,
At this point, that's up for conjecture. The plastic reusable lids are free of an identified food contaminant, but I don't know what they are made of. My bias is for the material in longer use, the metal lid with the built in plastisol "gasket". I don't know what the argument is against the disposable metls lids other than they are a single use item (I inspect and reuse them as long as there is no corrosion of the metal, and the sealing compound is intact, but that's not a recommended practice. I don't really like paying for the lids AND the price has increased exponentially, and there has been at least one artificially created shortage that I know of, because there are so few manufacturers of the product.

But, when it comes to "NEW" and "IMPROVED" I'm suspicious. When each new "food safe" plastic is introduced it is always proclaimed to be superior to everything in use at the time. Over and over again, in a little time that has not proven to be true. Also, the plastic reusable lids- and I hope I have not misunderstood your question are very expensive. They are manufactured less than 10 miles from my home, or distributed from here, so I contacted the seller to see what it would take to buy them at a lower price, skip the middle man etc by buying a large enough amount but that was not an option. Stinkers, I have to buy from the retail seller, or online.

So, for two reasons, I did not buy any. And my bias is to wait a long time before I expose my food to that particular plastic.

And that's what I can contribute to the discussion.
 
wayne nicol
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thanks for the response mate, sorry looking back i realize i was a bit vague in my post- and i seem to be hijacking this thread now- so i will start a topic on its own- but i was specifically referring to the plastic lining on the metal lids- i mean plastic is essentially petrochemical- they tout that things are BPA free etc etc- but what about all the other toxins in the compound that has not been brought to the fore yet!
 
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I've canned both dried beans and dried peas.

Here's my method: SOAK BEANS OVERNIGHT in filtered or well water!! Rinse with clean cold water (these steps help reduce gas). Fill canning jars half full or slightly less of soaked beans then fill with boiling water leaving 1" headspace. Process 40 minutes for a quart or 30 minutes for a pint.

Beans come out great!!

First time doing this, I put in too many peas and not enough water and got a nice mess. Mush of peas. The jury is still out about canning peas--how does one keep them from turning to mush??

I use a 7 bean mix of everything organic that I can find. Things like lentils or split peas don't go in this mix because they're way too small and cooking time is too different.

General notes about pressure canning, I NEVER add salt--it doesn't matter what the recipe says--for your health's sake, skip it. Use herbs instead for flavor. If you want more salt flavor, add it to the food on the plate you're about to eat.


 
Thekla McDaniels
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Dottie Kinn wrote:I've canned both dried beans and dried peas.

Here's my method: SOAK BEANS OVERNIGHT in filtered or well water!! Rinse with clean cold water (these steps help reduce gas). Fill canning jars half full or slightly less of soaked beans then fill with boiling water leaving 1" headspace. Process 40 minutes for a quart or 30 minutes for a pint.

General notes about pressure canning, I NEVER add salt--it doesn't matter what the recipe says--for your health's sake, skip it. Use herbs instead for flavor. If you want more salt flavor, add it to the food on the plate you're about to eat.




Dottie, are you using a pressure canner on that 40 minutes for a quart and 30 for a pint? What is your elevation, and how much pressure are you using?

I totally agree with you on the salt. That teaspoon per quart that seems standard for just about everything savory is there for the flavor. I think that's what the USA palate is trained to. The texture is probably affected just a little bit, but only minimally in my opinion.

I seldom add salt to anything until it gets to my plate. I have heard that sea salt does not affect blood pressure or the cardio vascular system the way refined (pure Na Cl with iodine and anti caking agents). I don't really know if it is true, but I eat salt from an ancient sea, and have quit worrying about my blood pressure. (have a strong family history of heart disease, and did limit my salt for most of my life).
 
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Many of you will find out soon enough that a lot the recommendations of well intentioned people here do not work.
The REASON to not soak and not precook beans is to prevent them from over cooking when you use the recommended
cooking times, heats and pressures of the canning mfgrs etc.
Small lentils and peas simply cannot be pressure canned according to USDA guidelines. They are too fragile and what you
wind up with is "paste" Commercial canners like the soup
makers in the grocery stores have much shorter cooking and pressure times but meet safety considerations due to
other procedures which prevent harmful bacteria.
Red Beans and Black beans are two beans that do not cook overly rapidly and I use exclusively due to their superior
nutrition compared to all other beans. Their color is a result of the anti cancer ingredient found in grapes and wine etc.

Salt use is a personally destructive behavior. Salt = slow suicide.
There are dozens of other flavorings and spices and herbs and heats to spike your food with if you insist.

Add variety... experiment... Along with raw meat chunks added to my beans and rice canned "meals" I like to stick
a whole carrot down the middle of the jar and or sometimes a big chunk of potato etc. Even did a cucumber and
squash once.... oh and especially chunks of onions/garlics etc.
 
Dottie Kinn
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Thekla,

We're at 2500 feet and my pressure cooker seems to like 12 pounds pressure.

As a side note, I've discovered the joy of raw canning meat!! YIKES is it EASY!! We're a household of 2 so I use half-pint jars. I cut the raw meat (tenderloin from a local processing house ). Sometimes I just cut a round slab that perfectly fits the jar, sometimes chunks and press out the air pockets. Don't make it too tight, though. I cracked several jars doing that. Leave the 1" at top. NO WATER, SALT, OR OTHER LIQUID. Process 12 pounds for 70 minutes. 95 minutes for quarts. The meat makes it's own juice. We've been doing this 2 years and no problems. The meat is absolutely delicious, moist, and tender.
 
Dottie Kinn
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Hi Scott,

Thanks for the info about the soaking. I've read forever, it seems, that beans should always be soaked to remove the undigestable and toxic elements in the skin. Can't remember their names at this point. Will pressure cooking them w/out soaking eliminate these I'm for trying it but don't really want to poison us.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Both sodium and chloride are essential to life processes. It is probably very hard to be deficient in either one if eating mainstream USA processed foods from the corporate giants, but if one grows their own, or starts with raw, dry or otherwise entirely unadulterated ingredients, then, IMO, salt can be an important part of a mineral rich diet, especially if one uses a complete unadulterated or modified salt rich in trace minerals.

I have read a few reports of farmers using sea salt as a soil amendment or "fertilizer" and measuring increased yields and better flavor and more minerals in the harvest. I plan to do a small test here this year, adding a fraction of what the documented research added to their soil, as I have alkaline soil, with plenty of "mineral salts" already present, and it DOES seem counter intuitive to add salt to the soil.
 
gardener
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As I am eating a plant-based diet that's supposed to be heavy on beans and whole grains, this thread inspired me.  I had fallen away from cooking my pots full of beans and my rice cookers full of mixed grains and rice, because they are just boring enough that I was "losing" them in the back of the fridge and food waste (which I hate) was starting to happen.  Also when I slow cook stuff this way it's sort of a graveyard for spices; you have to use an awful lot to flavor these fundamentally bland foods, especially when (like me) you're cooking without added oils, which helps carry flavor through the food. 

So I saw this notion of preparing instant ready-to-eat flavered-how-I-want off-the-shelf pre-flavored beans-and-rice meals in pint jars as attractive.  I've been playing with it for about a week now and I'm having a lot of fun! 

What follows is what I am doing; it seems to be working with my digestive tract.  I make no claims about lectins or about the relative safety of this procedure versus something in a USDA-approved manual.  I'm satisfied that it's safe enough for me; if you want to do something similar, do your own safety research first. 

I am starting with dry beans (of which there are many pounds in store, some of them five or more years old).  I am rinsing them and checking for rocks, but not soaking.  Into each pint jar, I am putting 1/3 cup of beans (any kind), 1/4 cup of grain (again, any kind, I'm going through and using up several different whole grains that I've got that are nearing the limit of their shelf life as currently stored), and two teaspoons of spices.  Spices are a mix I'm stirring up for each batch.  What's great about this is that it's also letting me use up old spices from the spice rack, so I can use a lot.  Every batch of spice mix is different, but proportioned so that there will be a quarter tsp of salt in each pint of beans and a quarter tsp of a bunch of other stuff too, such as:

Onion power
garlic powder
ground chives from garden
ground wild onions from my zone five
nutritional yeast
dried garlic chips
mushroom powder
cumin
chili powder
homemade smoked hot pepper (failed -- too spicy -- smoked paprika attempt)
salt free "spike" spice mix somebody left here five years ago
ground powdered kale from garden

I am filling each jar almost to the neck with water (1.25 cups) and then canning four at a time in my electric pressure cooker.  Note well: "Everybody" says not to do this because the manufacturers of electric pressure cookers are too timid to checkrate their cookers as pressure canners, for liability reasons.  However, in the case of my unit, the pressure rating is known, and at its high pressure setting it's just above 10 pounds, which makes it perfectly adequate.  I can only fit four pints at a time but the automation features of the electric canner make this almost a non-issue; it's a set-and-forget project, with the jars sitting there cold and sealed the next time I walk into the kitchen.  I am cooking the pints for 80 minutes at 10lb.

I've been very pleased with the results.  At first I was putting too much food and not enough water in the jars, resulting in a very loafy jar-meal; I'm still tweaking my recipe with measuring cups and vessels that are easy to use until I get automatic reproducible results.  My goal is something the consistency, cold from the jar, of canned beans; I don't demand that it pour without help but I want to feel that my spoon is helping, not being used as a prybar.

I very much like convenience of the food I actually want to eat in a single-serving amount that won't go to waste if I don't eat it today, tomorrow, or the next day, and isn't frozen into a brick somewhere.  I've got several more cases of pint jars kicking around but I'm just about out of lids; this has been enough of a success that I think I'll be buying a couple dozen more.
 
Scott Perkins
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Dan-  I am excited for you.  I have been preparing these quick nutritious meals for bachelors for about 15 years now.   My recommendation is that you immediately get a smallish spiral bound notebook and log every thing you do regarding ingredients used and precise amounts and cooking times/cooling method etc.   You will definitely find that different beans require different cooking times along with
different grains etc.  Again BROWN RICE is the best to cook because it takes the longest.  Cracked corn ( as in animal feed) works pretty
good... Cornmeal is too fine and results in polenta or grits which may be what you want.
Lastly as you are finding that pressure cooking/canning neuters the spices... I would have you consider adding the spices to flavor after cooking.  That is not that hard to sprinkle black pepper, salt, garlic or onion powder etc just prior to eating.   Lastly... dont forget MEAT.  Raw Ham or pork or BACON or chicken breast
chunks added to your dry beans and grains impart great flavor and variety to your dish.
The 2nd "last" thing as you are seeing is that you are finishing up with a LOT of air in the jars after processing....   This is due to the beans and grains soaking up the water.  Fill the jars to absolutely overflowing with water and you will still have an inch of air or more after processing in the jar.

Thanks for making me laugh when you mentioned using the spoon as a pry bar as it reminded me of
my early mistakes in adding too much dried beans and grains.

I have let others taste my handiwork and I have a good buddy who swears my beans were the best ever and that particular batch was flavored with pickle juice poured out of a dill pickle jar.
That added a little garlic taste but mostly it was the vinegar I think that gave the beans a great taste.
 
Dan Boone
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Scott Perkins wrote:My recommendation is that you immediately get a smallish spiral bound notebook and log every thing you do regarding ingredients used and precise amounts and cooking times/cooling method etc.   You will definitely find that different beans require different cooking times along with different grains etc.


Ha!  This is an excellent idea that I am most emphatically not going to follow.  The whole attraction of this scheme for me is ease and convenience; documentation detracts from that, and if I had it, I would never remember to consult it.  Fortunately I am not a fussy fellow; if some of my beans are a bit stiffer or some of my jars have more broth, that's all fine with me.  I'm going to work toward a one-size-fits-all heuristic that never produces an inedible (by my lax standards) jar and then built that into my muscle memory.  During this learning phase (four batches so far) I'm just taking care to eat/test one jar from each batch fairly soon (same day or next day) while I still remember what I did so I can adjust my procedures based on results.  They've all been satisfactory, but there's still room for texture improvement.

Scott Perkins wrote:Again BROWN RICE is the best to cook because it takes the longest.


I totally believe you, but I happen to be out of it.  What I currently have a lot of is farro (a large grained relative of wheat) that was being clearanced at Sprouts in these heavy-assed (10mil?) one-pound plastic bags the last time I was there for like eighty cents apiece and organic whole oats (which cook up a lot like brown rice and are even healthier) and some old rye berries and a little bit of wild rice that somebody gave me (which I don't like because it totally dissolves, but it was free and I hate food waste, and it will be gone with the next batch).  Brown rice actually is my favorite, but I like to mix it up with whole oats and something like farro or kamut or rye; the variety of textures and flavors makes the mix a little less boring to my palate, and the oats the healthiest, IMO. 

Scott Perkins wrote:Cracked corn ( as in animal feed) works pretty good... Cornmeal is too fine and results in polenta or grits which may be what you want.


Nah, I like the cracked corn idea; it appeals to my sense of frugality.  I dislike polenta and grits; I usually eat bagged frozen sweet corn with my cooked whole grains, but it would mush a bit if included in this project I think. 

Scott Perkins wrote:Lastly as you are finding that pressure cooking/canning neuters the spices... I would have you consider adding the spices to flavor after cooking.  That is not that hard to sprinkle black pepper, salt, garlic or onion powder etc just prior to eating.


That is the conventional advice, but I find it does not work for me.  A lot of spices themselves require cooking, or at least have a different flavor when cooked; consider the difference between a raw onion and one that has been sweated in a frying pan, versus one that has been browned and carmelized.  Onion powder sprinkled on food is not a bad flavor, but it's not at all the same as food that has been cooked with onions.  Obviously pressure canning food with that same onion powder is a different flavor yet, but when you move on to spices from the Indian pantheon (garam masalas) or from Italian cookery (basil oregano etc) the wheels fall entirely off that bus.  You've got to cook those spices into the food.  And yes, whole grains and beans do "eat" spices when cooked long and slow (as in a crockpot) but they eat *less* when pressure cooked (because the cook is faster and contained) and even less still, I am discovering, when cooked in jars.  I suspect this may have to do with sealing in some of the volatiles.  Anyway, at the end of the day this doesn't matter to me very much because (1) I have a very deep spice cabinet of old/stale spices that I really need to use up, so using more is not a problem, and (2) what's making this scheme so appealing is its utter convenience where the spoon meets the jar.  When I do want to eat, I can just grab a jar and spoon and carry them off to my point of gluttony like a dog with a bone.  Worrying about adding flavorings at that point would definitely defeat some portion of the purpose. 

Scott Perkins wrote:Lastly... dont forget MEAT.  Raw Ham or pork or BACON or chicken breast chunks added to your dry beans and grains impart great flavor and variety to your dish.


Mmmm... meat.  It's not currently part of my diet, for reasons not germane to this thread.  But yeah, would enormously add to the yummy factor.

Scott Perkins wrote:The 2nd "last" thing as you are seeing is that you are finishing up with a LOT of air in the jars after processing....   This is due to the beans and grains soaking up the water.  Fill the jars to absolutely overflowing with water and you will still have an inch of air or more after processing in the jar.


I didn't miss that advice in your earlier post, but I did disregard it, and here's why.  This is my first venture into pressure canning, but I grew up in a household where a lot of it went on, and my mother was adamant, even fanatical, about leaving headspace in her jars.  She claimed and believed that hot expanding liquid in the jars would bubble up and squeeze out between the glass rim of the jar and rubber seal of the lid, leaving behind enough residue to potentially interfere with the lids making good seals when the jars begin to cool at the end of the canning process.  I take it you've never experienced a problem getting solid seals, despite filling the jars to the top with water?

Scott Perkins wrote:I have let others taste my handiwork and I have a good buddy who swears my beans were the best ever and that particular batch was flavored with pickle juice poured out of a dill pickle jar.
That added a little garlic taste but mostly it was the vinegar I think that gave the beans a great taste.


Vinegar in beans is a very traditional condiment; I used to keep a jar of pickled peppers in my fridge just to pour the spicy vinegar in my beans from, topping up the vinegar in the pepper jar as needed.  However, all the conventional wisdom about cooking beans (which you and I are already ignoring nine ways from Sunday) says to never introduce acid during the cooking process.  Supposedly this will toughen the beans or even make them refuse to soften up at all, leaving them hard little crunch balls no matter how long you cook them.  I happen to like the hot-and-sour flavor combination I first encountered in Chinese hot-and-sour soup; if a vinegar-and-hot-peppers mix works in this process without messing up the cook, I may well make it a go-to.    I'll have to try it on four jars and see what I get...
 
Scott Perkins
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Well good for you Dan.  I can tell that you like myself will eat the results no matter how much deviation from optimum the process is.  Someday you will hit the lottery and make a batch so good that you will want to recreate it exactly.... but you wont be able to remember the exact details and you will cuss.   You may think this humorous but I am serious....  I have twenty pet ducks on a pond free ranging and I regularly feed them a 3 or 4 grain "chicken scratch" ... remember I said animal feed ? ? ?    Well the 4 grain super scratch is cracked corn, chopped wheat berries, milo, and hulled sunflower seed.  Yep... works pretty well with the black beans and dark red kidney beans which are the only two beans I cook now due to the antioxidants that come from the color of the beans. 
 
Dan Boone
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You could be right, but I'll take that risk; I don't think it's my personality.  I'm one of these people who never cooks from a recipe and never eats the same thing twice anyway; instead I start with whatever's in surplus in my kitchen, what's getting old, what's easy, what's quick, then I hover over the pot and throw stuff in by the handful until I have a pot full of food that looks and smells tasty.  Sometimes it's barely edible, more often it's deeply satisfying, but almost never is it the same as something I've cooked before.  The only exception is stuff that's so simple it's hard to vary it, like split pea soup: two bags of split peas, chopped onions lots, water until the crock pot or pressure vessel is full, bam! Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold, pease porridge in the pot, nine days old. 
 
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Spices are much less expensive purchased in bulk for canning projects. I buy 1 lb. bags of organic Italian seasoning, black pepper, cumin, etc. to use in cooking and canning. There are multiple sources for organic products. Vitacost has the largest selection.

Bulk seasoning

My only connection to any brands I mention or that appear on that page is as a buyer. The other seasonings I use regularly that make all the difference are: Braggs liquid Aminos (soy-sauce substitute), balsamic and other flavored vinegars, Gold label coconut oil, and REAL olive oil (beware of fakes).

As with everything else I consume, I only use organic and non-gmo. Beware suspect pseudo-organic brands. Stick with those that can still be trusted.
 
Gail Gardner
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Dan Boone wrote:Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold, pease porridge in the pot, nine days old. 



I thought I was the only one who remembered that old rhyme. Which made me think our ancestors were a lot healthier than us with our fear of food going bad in a refrigerator. I have to believe that meant they just kept reheating that peas porridge and even eating it cold for over a week to no ill effects. I bet it sat in the pot over the fire that had gone out that whole time.

But I suspect most people today wouldn't be able to do that for the same reason native Mexicans can drink their water, but tourists can't. 
 
Dan Boone
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It's a really stable food at room temperature.  It's low-moisture, it hardens into something very close to a loaf, and kept cool (as in a heavy pot on the floor in a temperate climate) it keeps for close to two weeks before it begins to go bad.  I grew up in a cabin without refrigeration and in my experience, cooked peas really let you know when they go bad -- the smell is a "drive you out of the house" astonishingly bad smell, way worse than rotten meat.  However the stuff is far more likely to start growing mold first.

My understanding is that the children's jump-rope rhyme is many hundreds of years old, dating to a time when dried field peas were a peasant staple (before potatoes) in Europe.  I don't know if that's true or not, but it's something I read somewhere.
 
Dan Boone
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This will take the thread *technically* off-topic, but has anybody tried this just with whole grains (no pulses)?

I used to be, and sometimes still am, a fan of making whole grain mixes in my rice cooker; usually brown rice, oats, and one other grain plus savory spices (these could vary wildly, but garam masalas of various kinds, or at least cumin and turmeric, were common, as this is a great way to bury a lot of healthy turmeric in my food).  Bits of dried fruit make this ridiculously sumptuous: raisins, currents, cranberries, gojii berries, chopped dried apples or apricots or pears or just about anything.  At one point I had a few gifted cans of ancient freeze dried cubed carrots from somebody's 1980s prepper stuff; they plumped up nicely.  Pretty much any colorful veggie that you can chop and that won't go to mush goes in nicely.

So it seems to me, this ought to work for the jar meals too.  A bit of grain, a bit of chopped dried fruit, some garam masala, maybe some diced carrots or peppers?  I see no flaws.  Will try and report back.
 
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