Calico Chili Beans

I love chili and not just because it tastes good.  It is a childhood memory.  I have found that since I lost my Mom those memories are even more precious.  Once the cooler temperatures hit in the Autumn, my Mom would make chili every Friday evening.  That is also the one time she would buy us soft drinks.  We had Coke along with our chili and crackers.  My Mom always used a certain brand of chili beans.  When they (my parents) and then later when we moved to Florida, we could not get that brand.  We used to stock up on them when we visited Ohio.  🙂  My Mom’s chili was more like soup.  It had the meat and beans, but it also had spaghetti in it. The liquid was not super thick.  It tasted great though!!  
I made my chili just like that for years.  We invited some people over for chili one night and they told us that they eat their chili with sour cream and cheese.  We made sure we had some on hand.  We all tried it that way and my men (Michael and Joshua) loved it.  That is still the way the two of them eat chili.  I liked it, but felt like I lost a lot of the flavor of the chili itself, so I don’t normally put anything in mine. 
The dog days of summer does not sound like a perfect time to talk about chili, but it is.  When we think of chili we normally think of it as a meal that is for cooler months, but now is the time to put up chili beans so you are ready when Autumn arrives.  Also, you will need lots of onions and peppers.  They are usually plentiful from gardens at this time of year.  We like to make as much of our food as we can from scratch.  There are seasons in life though and sometimes we make more than others.  There are times we buy things that we used to make all the time.  It is easy to put some cans of chili beans into your cart while you are shopping, but can you trust what is in them?  Anymore, can you trust the can itself?  So, this is one thing I still choose to make.  I found a recipe for canning chili beans.  I played with the recipe and added to it.  We like a full rich flavor.  We finally tweaked it so that it was just right.  The really great part about these beans is that they can be used for other things as well.  I will get into that more later.   
We bought a bucketful of a 17 bean mix.  It was not all beans, there were some grains in it as well.  It was so colorful and it works great for our chili beans.  You can make them with what ever beans you like.  I have made them with just kidney beans and they are still good.  I love this picture because it looks like I arranged them in a perfect circle. This is looking down into the bucket of beans.

I soak 10 lbs. of  beans over night. I have a HUGE bowl and the beans are well below the edge. In the morning, the beans are usually taller than the bowl. 🙂  I drain and rinse them then put them in a big stock pot. It holds 34 quarts. It is a very handy pan to have.  We brine our turkeys in it and I use this when I am cooking down the chickens to can the meat.  I want a big pot for the chili beans because it gives me plenty of room to add the other ingredients and stir well without splashing over the edges.  I add all the ingredients (recipe below) and stir together well.  Then you fill your clean and warm/hot canning jars leaving about an inch of head space.

Here they are in the jars before they went into the canner. You will notice you can still see lots of color in them. I used red and green and orange peppers.

Here they are after they are  pressure canned.

Marci’s Calico Chili Beans

1. Soak 10 lbs. of beans (you can use kidney, pinto or any mixture of beans and legumes you would like) overnight in plenty of water. Drain any excess water off and rinse the beans.

2. Put beans in a large pot. Add 2 gallons of water and heat them up.

3. Add the following:
4 cups Bell Peppers, chopped (I like to use different colors)
7 to 8 cups of Onions, chopped
10 to 12 oz. of Worcestershire Sauce
2 large bulbs of garlic minced. (I do mean bulbs and not cloves) You can use 1/2 cup Granulated or Powdered Garlic.
1 cup Chili Powder
1/3 cup Cumin
½ cup Salt or to taste
1 cup Sucanat (or brown sugar)
1/2 cup of Molasses or Sorghum
¼ cup Dry Mustard
Cayenne to taste (I added 2 big spoonfuls)
Sprinkle with Oregano

4.Bring to a boil.

5. Fill jars leaving a 1” headspace.

6. Process in pressure canner at 10 lbs. pressure for 65 mins.

I ended up with 7 quarts and 24 pints.

You will use these beans just like you would the canned variety in the store.  They can be used other ways as well.  You come home late from shopping or somewhere and you need to get a meal on the table quickly.  You can grab a jar of beans, heat them up and serve them on tortillas.  Have a side of chips and salsa and there is a meal.  🙂  I have also browned ground beef and added a jar or two of these beans.  Serve it over rice.  It tastes wonderful.  I have even used them as a side dish with a Mexican meal.  You will be so thrilled to have these on your shelf!!  If you have any questions, please ask in the comments below!!


Calico Chili Beans — 9 Comments

  1. Wow! This looks like a terrific recipe. I wish we had a pressure canner to make good use of it! Maybe one day we'll get one… 🙂

    I guess for now we could just scale it down!

  2. I really like this recipe. I also liked how the beans were a nice reddish color when they were done, compared to the more brown color before.
    How many did you end up getting? I think we got like 36.

  3. They look really good. Okay, so how do you fix them? Do you eat them the way they are, use them in soup or chilli? I've always wanted to try canning beans so thanks for the recipe.

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