The best tips for canning baked beans are to be aware of what water is being used, to find and use a good pressure canner, and to enhance whatever flavor profile the beans are meant to have. The amount and type of water used to cook the beans makes a difference to their overall quality. Baked beans are a low-acid food, and it is important to have a good pressure canner available when canning them to ensure food safety. There are also a few other tips to keep in mind that will help to create a good flavor in the finished product.
A good first step in canning baked beans is to find a good recipe for them and follow all of the guidelines about how much water to use at each stage of the process. The quality of the water is important to how the beans cook and affects their taste and texture. Water that has a high level of alkalinity, due to a water softening treatment, will result in mushier beans that fall apart and fail to hold their shape. Typically, hard water creates firmer beans that are better for canning.
For home canning purposes, foods are considered either high-acid or low-acid. Beans are low-acid, which means that extra care must be taken to eliminate bacteria such as Clostridium botulinum from the food. The only sure way to eliminate all of this bacteria when canning baked beans is to use a pressure canner. This appliance provides enough pressure and heat to effectively kill all of the bacteria.
Additional tips for canning baked beans concern how to get the best flavor. For a tangier, more savory flavor, use a sauce with a tomato base. A molasses-based sauce is best for achieving a sweet, caramelized flavor. To get a really savory flavor and to add a little more depth to the taste, add bacon or ham to the mix during cooking, although it can be left out to create a vegetarian recipe. One final trick to use when canning baked beans, that will ensure the richest flavor possible, is to reuse the water that the beans were boiled in when making the sauce. That way none of the natural flavor of the beans is lost.