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!).
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
- Kosher salt (optional)
- Stove top
- 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! 😀