how do I make shelf stable cooked legumes in vacuum sealed bags at home?
If you want to shelf store the cooked legumes in plastic, you need to buy boilable pouches
They are a great space saver, and somewhat environmentally friendly as the oil/energy required to make one glass preserving jar can make 50 to 100 of these bags. And how many preserving jars survive 50 times without breaking!
You will find plenty of sources on the Internet, typical prices $50 to $200 per 1000
The process varies from each bag supplier and vacuum system, but is similar to normal home preserving
If you get the foil lined (light proof) pouches they will preserve food for many years
Example suppliers caspak pacrite
This process is popular in NZ and AU, but as I have just discovered, not so in the USA? So it maybe easier to order from here
The energy, weight, and space saving of plastic pouches is significant
I am interested in this. I clicked through all of the links. Several of them advertise only up to 212F while one advertised up to 249F. None of them advertised that they could handle 250F which is the standard temp for 15PSI and botulism spores dying. Additionally all of them talked about sous vide and other low temp cooking and did not mention pressure canning preservation. I haven't been able to find any info about pressure preserving in bags. Do you know of any resources on this subject? Feb 15, 2012 at 22:37
@Sobachatina check with your supplier. Our way is that the contents are fully cooked before being pouched, they are not cooked in the pouch, they are just heat treated in the pouch. In many countries you will find these products on the supermarket shelves (beans, soups, curries etc). I haven't heard of people dying from botulism?– TFDFeb 15, 2012 at 22:56
Ok- I found the secret. It's called retort canning. A metal-plastic laminate that can handle over 250F. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retort_pouch Normal vacuum bags, even the boil in the bag variety that you linked to above, will not handle that level of heat. vacuumpacker.blogspot.com/2010/08/… vacupack.com/bag-flat-commercial/retort-canning/… Feb 15, 2012 at 23:16
I couldn't find that information on the website that you linked to. I'm going to have to look into this more. We can a lot of beans- even though we already have the jars- this would be less fragile. Feb 15, 2012 at 23:26
@Sobachatina caspak pouches are good to 130°C (266°F)? Other suppliers I don't know, check with them. They are just examples– TFDFeb 15, 2012 at 23:26
According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation you need to process beans in a pressure canner for a fairly long time. Its very unlikely that your home vacuum sealer's bags can take the elevated temperatures in a pressure canner.
Also, if there is even the slightest leak in the vacuum bag (after its come out of the pressure canner), there is a risk of botulism.
In other words, you can't make these at home. You need to use traditional home canning equipment (e.g., mason jars) instead. If you want bags of beans, I suggest freezing them; beans keep fairly well frozen.