The Process of Canning Chili: How to Get It Right Every Time

On chilly nights it’s hard to beat a hot bowl of chili for dinner. It’s hearty, savory, and it warms you up while it fills you up. Even though chili is already a fairly simple and convenient one-pot dish you can make in an evening, it’s even more convenient for you if you consider pressure canning chili for future use. With pressure canning, you can use your tallest pot to whip up a huge batch of chili without worrying about any of it going to waste. After you start canning chili, you will probably want to know what else you can start canning!

If you are not familiar with the process of canning chili or how to make sure your chili stays delicious for months to come, this article will outline what you have to do. We will discuss the process of canning and compare it with other methods of food preservation, as well as provide instructions for you to start canning chili on your own. You will realize how simple canning chili really is, and you will soon be able to enjoy batches of yummy chili at a moment’s notice when you start canning it in advance.

There are a few different ways you can go about canning chili and other foods. It’s the type of food you are trying to keep that will determine which canning method you use. Water bath canning may seem easiest, but you cannot use this method for canning chili. The reason for this is that water bath canning is used for foods with higher acidity levels, such as pickled vegetables, jellies and jams made of fruit, and applesauce, and foods that can be preserved at lower temperatures, so you only need to reach boiling water temperatures of 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pressure canning is a method of food preservation that allows you to enjoy your food long after you’ve put the work into making it. Though it has a long history, pressure canning is still easy to do, and it is practiced to this day by many who like the ease and convenience it offers. Though pressure canning is not the ideal form of food preservation for all dishes, it is the perfect method for keeping chili in your home long after you cooked it.

Pressure canning is the method used to preserve low acidity foods. Pressure canning is ideal for beans, meats, dairy, and stocks and soups. Since pressure canning produces pressurized steam that reaches temperatures as hot as 240 degrees Fahrenheit, it kills the bacteria that is needed to stabilize dishes with lower acidity. You can use pressure cooking to keep a wide variety of dishes for a long time, making it ideal for canning chili and stews.

Now that you know the basics about canning chili and the differences between pressure canning and other methods of food preservation, you are probably itching to start pressure canning food yourself. We have a delicious recipe for you that will produce between seven and nine pint-sized jars of chili. However, if you have a go-to recipe you love, use that! As long as you follow the canning instructions, your chili will still taste delicious for quite some time.

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  • 5 1/2 cups of water
  • 3 cups dried kidney beans OR 3 cups canned kidney beans
  • 5 tsp salt
  • 3 lbs meat of your choice (or veggie based ground meat substitution)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup of chopped peppers
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3 – 6 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 quarts crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

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  1. Clean your jars and lids thoroughly. You can use the sanitize setting on your dishwasher, or you can add the jars and lids to pots of boiling water to sterilize them. By boiling them for about 10 minutes, your jars will be germ-free and ready for pressure canning.
  2. Rinse your pressure cooker out and place the rack plate in the bottom of your large pot. Fill the pot with four inches of hot water, or prep according to the pressure canner’s instructions. Heat your pressure canner over low heat so it will be ready for your chili.
  3. Wash the three cups of dried beans thoroughly and add them to a 2-quart pot. Allow the beans to soak for at least 12 hours, but no longer than 18 hours. If using canned beans instead, drain and rinse them.
  4. Dice the onions and peppers and cut the tomatoes into slightly larger chunks.
  5. Add the 5 1/2 cups of water and 5 teaspoons of salt to the beans. Bring the beans to a boil before reducing the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  6. In a separate pan, brown the onions and peppers with a little oil.
  7. Add the meat or vegetarian alternative to the pan with the onions and peppers. Cook until done.
  8. Drain the fat from the meat into a container. Return the pan to the stove and stir in the remaining spices.
  9. Add the browned meat, onions and peppers, and drained beans to a large pot. Add the lemon juice and stir, allowing these ingredients to simmer together for 5 to 10 minutes.
  10. Fill the jars, leaving at least one inch of space at the top. Put the lids and rings on, making sure the jars are closed snugly but not too tight.
  11. Using jar tongs, add the jars of chili to the rack in the pressure cooker. If too much water has evaporated, add enough so there is at least three inches of water in the pot. Put the lid on the pressure canner, but do not add weight or close the valve.
  12. After putting the heat on high, let the pressure canner steam for 10 minutes.
  13. Secure the lid on the pressure canner and add weight or close any openings. Allow the pressure to build to your recommended amount of pressure at your altitude levels.
  14. Turn off the pressure canner and wait for the pressure to drop completely before opening the pressure canner.
  15. Remove the jars and allow them to cool completely on a surface like a towel or cutting board. Make sure they’re not touching or being bumped. Loosen the lids on the jars so they do not rust. Make sure the jars are sealed by pressing the button in the middle of the jar. If the jars aren’t sealed, you can put them in your fridge for immediate use, or you can try redoing the pressure canning process with a new lid.

Now that you have a recipe and you know how to can chili, you probably want some tips to make sure your chili comes out delicious every single time. For starters, with pressure canning, you must know the altitude of where you’re living. Based on this altitude, the pounds of pressure you use while cooking will differ. It’s crucial to read the directions that come with your pressure canner so that you can operate your pressure canner safely.

You also want to make sure your lids fit your jars snugly, and that all of your equipment is cleaned before you start the pressure canning process. Allowing the jars to cool down properly is essential for your safety and the safety of the jars themselves. Since you are working with such high temperatures, safety is an imperative while handling these supplies.

You can always experiment with your chili recipe now that you have tried canning chili, and you can even try your hand at any other low acidity foods. With pressure canning, you can buy your produce when it is cheapest and freshest, and still keep it preserved for months instead of letting it go to waste in your refrigerator.

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Sometimes, some processes are so perfect they stand the test of time, and pressure canning is an example of this. Through pressure canning, you can save tons of money by keeping your own food “fresh” for a long time. You can purchase ingredients when they are cheapest and then prepare them for whenever you’re ready to eat. With chili, pressure canning a huge batch will save you tons of time, so you can heat up a bowl of your tasty chili at a moment’s notice. That means you can even cook a pot in the summer and enjoy it on a chilly winter’s day without starting from scratch!

Now that you know the process of pressure canning and how it differs from other methods of food preservation, you are ready to start canning your own foods. As long as you cook based on the requirements of your altitude, you can have a whole pantry full of jarred foods you have prepared yourself. It’s hard to beat a hot bowl of delicious homemade chili, and with your new pressure cooker, you will be able to have your favorite chili on hand at all times!

Featured Image via Pixabay