The Incredible Pinto Bean

In these times of food uncertainty, nutrition and calories are paramount in my books. What I am going to write about pinto beans could generally apply to most shell beans, such as lima or navy. I have had some questions about canning pinto beans so I will include what I know and have experienced here.
First off, if you can find dry beans, I would recommend you buy them. As many as you can afford and find available. I tried to look up bulk pinto beans in preparation to write this article and find that many bulk providers are out, or only have one pound bags or like Amazon, who has a 24 pound bucket for $63.92!! or a 25 pound box for $57.69 or a 20 pound bag for $54.25. I am afraid most people cannot afford these prices. If you have waited this long to try to stock up some long term nutrition, I am afraid you probably waited too long.
We received an email with some information about bulk food items that may be useful to you. We appreciate the effort this person made in sharing a resource with all of us. Here is the email in part:
You mentioned, however, that bulk foods are getting difficult to find. I am LDS and have used the LDS Home Storage Centers for years. You may know all about them. But in case you don’t, they are open to everyone and carry bulk items. You can choose to buy 25 pound sacks of wheat or you can buy #10 cans of wheat in cases. You can buy it In a home storage center or you can buy it online and have it shipped to your home. They just want people to have food storage, so there is not a huge markup. Most of the packaging is done in Salt Lake by missionaries who are donating their labor. The older couples who run the centers are also donating their labor.
All of their locations are listed here:


Here is their product and price list:

Many of their items are out of stock with all of the crazy buying that has been happening over the last few months, but my local center has restocked many of the products that I use and my brother, who uses a center close to his home in Virginia, tells me they have many items back in stock as well. I just bought more white wheat, red wheat, elbow macaroni noodles, and spaghetti. So if you are interested, it is worth calling the center nearest to you and asking what they have in stock.

I don’t know if this is of any interest to you, but in times like this we should help each other however we can. 
Nutrition. Everyday, but now more than ever, I turn to foods I know will provide good nutrition. This will be crucial as food supplies continue to be impacted by the Plandemic and resulting economic disruptions. I use this website for comparing nutritional values on many foods.

As you can see, one cup of cooked pinto beans with water and salt packs a powerful punch, thus our preference for it. It is often said that beans and rice make the perfect protein. We don’t eat rice, but we do eat wheat in the form of sourdough bread or tortillas. We prefer wheat to rice for the comparative nutritional value the wheat provides.

We have a number of buckets of pinto beans that we have had for at least 10 years, which by the way, came from the LDS Home Storage Center in Oklahoma City. We bought in bulk and stored in our own buckets with Gamma Seal lids. If you’re not aware, LDS stands for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or commonly called Mormons. I have long thought theses beans would be too hard to cook and eat, and that is true. I also thought they would be too hard to can. This is one of those instances that I was more than happy to be wrong.

Last winter I wanted to get more pintos canned and on the shelf for everyday eating, and to have if the country and world went south. I bought several four pound bags from Wal-Mart, before the virus when they were still available, and we canned a batch of 32 pints. Then recently, we decided to find out if those old beans were still usable. We put three pounds of beans in eight quarts of water and brought them to a boil in the late afternoon. Let them boil for five minutes, then let them sit until morning. I turned the fire on low when I got up around 6:00am and let them simmer until morning chores were done and we were ready to fire up the canner. Here are both types of beans. Both great, on the shelf and ready to eat. The 2010 beans turned out great, good texture and flavor. The older beans are on the left and the Wal-Mart beans are on the right in this picture. Some of the benefits of having beans canned and ready to go is that if you want a quick meal, or the world doesn’t allow time to cook a pot of beans, you have nutrition, water and salt ready to nurture your body.

This summer one of my goals is to grow, harvest and can as many pinto beans as possible. In a survival scenario we need calories for energy and adequate protein. Pinto beans provide 245 calories per cup, a healthy form of carbohydrates that does not cause an insulin spike with a quick drop off in energy, and a good level of protein. In my books, an excellent form of nutrition any time.

Our first harvest of beans yielded 10 1/2 pounds from about two 30 foot rows of plants. Now this is not equivalent to the same weight of dry beans because they were fresh. Some were partially dried, but most still retained a lot of moisture. We canned 32 pints with enough beans left over for another 3 pints. I was very pleased with the yield and hope the plants will continue to bloom and provide another harvest or two before fall.

To can fresh or dried beans, we bring them to a boil the evening before, then let them sit overnight. In the morning, simmer until ready to can. We use the liquid from the pot to fill the jars. In pint jars, fill with beans about 2/3 full, add 1/2 tsp. non-iodized salt, fill to within 1/2″ of the top with bean liquid, then pressure can at 10 pounds for 40 minutes. This timing comes from our Stocking Up canning book.

Jacob’s Cattle Beans

Something I learned about canning fresh beans as opposed to dried beans. Fresh beans tend to be much softer when you cook or can them. I prefer a bean with a more firm texture, like the old beans and the Wal-Mart beans. We grew Jacob’s Cattle beans a few years back. It’s another shell bean very similar to a pinto. We also canned them fresh and they were much softer, just like the pintos we just harvested and canned. I always thought the softness was just the nature of the Jacob’s bean and never thought about the difference in canning fresh instead of dried. Accidental learning can be a very interesting teacher. Now, instead of canning our next harvest fresh, I will dry them first and see if I can get the type of canned bean I prefer instead of the softer variety. One benefit of the soft beans is the ease at making a type of refried bean for tortillas. By the way, if you have trouble finding pinto bean seed to plant, the ones from Wal-Mart work just fine.

A few years back we tried a different method of canning beans we had read somewhere. In quart jars we added dried pinto beans to half of the jar, filled with boiling water and 1 tsp. salt, then canned according to recommended time (I don’t remember now how long.) They were tough and crunchy. I don’t know how old the beans were or any other details, but we found out for us, this process didn’t work.

Ground pork, pintos & salsa with sauteed cabbage

There are many different ways to add beans to a meal for a nutritional boost. I’ve already mentioned refried beans and a bowl of beans. You can add them to soup or to just about any dish. Like this. But folks, nutrition and energy is, and will be the name of the game as our future continues to unfold. I pray the day never comes that I can’t sit in my comfortable, air conditioned home and type on a computer on the internet. Just how much infrastructure has to remain in place for me to continue doing this? How long will it last?

We will never forget someone asking us why we go to all this work to raise and preserve our harvest. Why do all that work when you can just buy it at the store, they asked. Because now you have a hard time finding or affording the humble pinto bean at the store. Grow it or buy it, food is of utmost importance right now for everyone. Like I’ve said before, regardless of the events surrounding us, peace or anarchy, without food, you are dead.

Until next time – Fern

18 thoughts on “The Incredible Pinto Bean

  1. Daddy always put a little baking soda in the dried pintosSalt hardens the beansSalt after cookingRemember to lay in baking soda and cream of tartar for making baking powder

  2. Good info on canning the pinto beans. We have canned plenty of green beans over the years, but not the pinto, although they are in storage. May give it a try- thanks! Just watered the garden and orchard here, pretty dry. Had a good strawberry crop but that is tapering off. Stay safe and God Bless!

  3. We found that when most companies selling bulk seed were out of stock or not selling to home gardeners Like Johnny's Seed did earlier this spring that Anderson Seed and Garden in Logan, UT had plenty of bulk seeds in stock at great prices. Their shipping costs are high because they prefer to ship priority postal but they are great folks and if you contact them you can negotiate cheaper shipping costs.Their packaging of the seeds is simple and basically bulk paper packaged. We ordered and fired up the food-saver to break down bulk amounts into more manageable package sizes. We have 63 acres in the mountains of NC and after moving here 4 years ago we brush hogged over grown pasture area and put in a small orchard of about 40 different fruit trees, added blue berry and raspberry patches and a strawberry bed. We continue to till up areas to expand our growing capacity not only for ourselves but to provide feed for our chickens and ducks.I think you will like what Anderson has to offer. I just wish I could drive there and pick up seed.https://www.andersonseedandgarden.com/bulk-seeds.html

  4. Thanks for a good article about canning dry beans. We have canned garbanzo beans but no other varities . The benefits of cooking/canning now when gas and electricity is readily available are numerous . The beans may be eaten right from the jar or warmed on a wood stove in the future.We are going to start with pinto beans in small quantities, until we get our process down and then do full canner batches. We plan to do some pintos with bacon bits in the jar also. For a couple of years we have grown a Rockwell heirloom bean that is very tasty and makes delicious baked beans.Considering the series of crisises we are experiencing around the country I would not be surprised with power outages in the future. The national power grid is very fragile and is easy to disrupt. For a lot of folks no power = no cooking. Unfortunately we need to think along those lines in todays world. Can while you easily can.Because of all the turmoil these days, we have begun preparing 500 more square feet of veggie garden for next years crop. We just finished a roadside wire fence and heard yesterday that our neighbor had thugs going through a tractor shed 3 nights ago. Interesting times indeed. Stay alert, stay gray , stay safe and away from crowds.Bluesman

  5. A lot of good information here. Thanks.We use bulkfoods.com to make bulk purchases of not only different varieties of beans, peas and lentils but also grains, seeds, spices, seasonings and more. Prices are competitive and most items are always in stock. Best part is they offer a flat rate $5.00 shipping cost on all orders $75.00 or more.We purchased food quality 5 gallon buckets and lids from Lowes with free shipping to our home and mylar bags and O2 absorbers from Amazon and have put away stacks of 5 gallon pails. We use a food-saver to vacuum seal normal use amounts of spices and seasonings. There taco, Cajun and Creole seasonings are better than those sold commercially in small packages and their roasted garlic cannot be beat.We upgraded to a 21.5 quart All American pressure canner and have tilled up extra plots in between the rows in our orchard area to gain even more planting area. Between the canner, the freezer and our two dehydrators we will be busy most of the summer and fall but we intend to eat well all winter. Put any extra cash you can into bulk food storage and vegetable seeds.

  6. By the way, if you're reading here from the mobile version, the header picture and a video from the last article, It's Time, don't show up. If you have the option and inclination, you may want to look at the articles from the web version.Just an FYI. Fern

  7. We looked at Walmart.com last night, GA, and found the same thing. Thank you for pointing this out to the readers.I plan to pick more beans today or tomorrow and start drying them for the next canning session.Fern

  8. Hi, CW. Good to hear from you. How are the crops doing in Iowa this year? Our garden is doing strange things. As I picked yellow squash this morning, I commented to Frank again that it is a miracle that the plants are still alive and producing. In the last 11 years, they would have been decimated by squash bugs. This year? One bug.The okra is only about a foot tall. We are usually starting to pick the crop by now. The sweet potatoes are growing great and we have high hopes for a good crop.The apple trees are still gradually dropping fruit from the curculio attack this spring. I just hope we get a few apples in the fall.Hope all is well in your neck of the woods. Fern

  9. I saw 8 lb and even a couple of 20 lb pound bags of pinto beans at Walmart recently, so things are becoming available again. A bucket is a huge amount for me, so I buy smaller amounts and put them in half-gallon mason jars with a small oxygen absorber. They still need pressure cooking after a few years to soften. I haven't tried pressure canning old beans yet but I assume that'd work fine since it amounts to much more heating time at high temps than cooking does.I think your other process (filling the jars half full with dry beans) probably just had too many beans for the amount of water–they don't have to be cooked before going into the pressure canner, but they do have to be well-soaked. I have only done one batch so far. I also soaked them overnight, but with no boiling. They turned out ok.

  10. Fern, regarding canning uncooked beans, I found this on an old Homesteading Today thread – I'd imagine at least 15 years ago. It has worked great for me for years:Put 3/4 cup of beans in a pint jar (since my canner holds 22 pints, I used that many jars). Fill with water , cover and soak overnight. The next day drain the water out of the jars and fill each with fresh boiling water leaving 1\” headroom. Add 1/2 tsp of canning salt to each jar, can also add garlic powder, onion powder or red pepper flakes if you like. Process at 10 lbs pressure for 75 minutes. It doesn't leave a lot of water in the jar; most is absorbed by the beans. Hope it works for you,CJ

  11. Also of note – the mail order from the LDS warehouse is not available in Canada. I'm happy to say that my local warehouse will sell to me even though I am not of that faith.Fern – you might try canning the uncooked beans without salt. I had read somewhere along the lines not to cook beans in salt of they will never get tender. Just my two cents.I do know that adding just a little tiny bit of baking soda to the cooking pot while cooking old beans does tenderize them. I've never tried canning them that way however.Cheers SJ in Vancouver BC

  12. Be sure to call your local LDS Home Storage Center before going. If you're not LDS (and I am not), then some of them will not sell to you. Apparently, it is up to the individual location rather than being a LDS-wide policy. Our local prep group pays the gas for one member to drive a truck to the closest one that will sell to the public because none of the nearby ones will sell to non-LDS. I certainly don't fault LDS for that policy, but folks need to be aware that it's not the same everywhere.

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