Mass Cooking Dried Beans = $avings Today, Convenience Tomorrow

There are a couple of reasons I prefer dried beans over canned: they taste better, you can easily control the sodium levels, there are zero preservatives in dried beans (I’m sorry, but why does a can of beans need an ingredients list???), properly soaked and rinsed dried beans don’t make you as musical as canned beans, and dried beans are much more cost effective.

But, I will be the first to admit that dried beans either require a pressure cooker (which is far too fancy for my budget to handle) or planning ahead for each dish (which can be too fancy for my brain to handle).  So, as part of my prep for this semester, I’ve decided to make my brain think about one less thing by spending this rainy Saturday cooking a few batches of beans and then freezing them.  I thought it noteworthy because some others out there might appreciate the idea (and I can use this post as reminder to myself to do the same next semester!).

Red beans look outside one last time before they meet the freezer (And No Ingredients List Necessary!!)

I spent about $6 on over 6 lbs of a variety of beans from a local bulk grains store: red, black, kidney, navy, and pinto.  From that $6, I got a whopping EIGHTEEN 16 oz. servings (approximately 18 cans of beans), and so, at $1.19 per can, I more than tripled my money without adding any chemicals.  And, because I chose 16 oz. containers, every time a recipe calls for a 15 oz. can of beans, I can just grab one of these bad boys out of the freezer already perfectly portioned!

Here’s what I used:

  • Medium to Large mixing bowls
  • Large stock pots
  • Large strainer
  • 16 oz. freezer-safe mason jars
  • Water
  • Kosher salt (optional)
  • Stove top
Here’s how I did it:
  • Soak beans over night in the bowls.  You can also soak beans in hot water for half the time (4-5 hours) if you want to start them in the morning and then cook them the same day.
  • Strain the beans, rinse them really well in your stock pot, strain them again, and pick them through to make sure there aren’t any pebbles or other intruders you don’t want to cook.
  • Boil the beans 30-60 mins (depending on type of bean and temp/duration of soaking) in lightly salted water (salt is optional).  Taste test to make sure they’re tender.
  • Pour the cooked beans back into the strainer.  Run cold water over the hot beans until they’ve cooled enough to touch and scoop them into your freezer-safe containers.
  • Next time you need beans, you don’t have to think about it the night before, but you’ve still done something that benefits both your wallet and your health! 😀
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4 thoughts on “Mass Cooking Dried Beans = $avings Today, Convenience Tomorrow

  1. I NEED to do this. I’m so freakin’ lazy, but I have good intentions. I already have bags of kidney beans, pinto beans, and black beans in my cupboard waiting to be prepared, but I just haven’t done it yet!! You are so right though, it’s waaaaay cheaper to make them yourself and there is no need for an ingredient list in beans.

    • I totally know what you mean! I’ve been planning to do this all month and didn’t get around to it until I became a shut-in due to a freak Hurricane.

      Even then, I think the trick to it is to just get started. It takes minimal effort to just put the beans in water in a few bowls before you go to bed. Then, when you get home from life the next day, oh look! The beans are ready, and I can’t put them back in the bags all soggy. Guess I’ll have to cook them!

      I basically have to put myself in a position that forces me to be productive! – At least years of studying Psychology and Behavior has paid off in some way!!

  2. Are the freezer safe mason jars any different that the mason jars I have hanging around the house now? I freeze beans that I cooked in pastic bags, but I like the idea of reducing the plastic throwaway aspect of it. I was wondering if I could use the jars that I have or if there is a trick to freezing in glass.

    • I know my freezer safe jars were tempered differently than normal mason jars, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that yours wouldn’t work as well! I would test out a few of them and see if any crack – if not then you’re good to go! 🙂

      thanks for reading and commenting, Abby!

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