Friday, March 26, 2010

Got Beans?

In my quest to reduce my grocery bill but still feed my family nurishing food, I'm discovering different ways to shop and prepare food.  My latest adventure is beans.  I've always bought canned beans for chilli, soup, and other recipes.  The few times I tried to use dried beans, my family ended up eating crunchy chilli.  Yuck.

I decided to research how to process beans and make them easier to use in recipes and more pleasant to eat. 

My favorite source for info is Rodale.  Their Stocking Up book is a great resource for cooking, canning, freezing, and drying food for your family.

Here's what I worked on yesterday.  I purchased three kinds of beans.  Black, kidney, and great northern.  I placed them in individual bowls in the morning. 

Here are the black beans and white beans after they've had a soak for 8 hours.  Be sure to fill the bowl with enough water to cover the beans plus an extra 2-3 inches of water because the beans will exand.  Look how the black beans turn the water black.  (don't worry, you'll drain it off)

Next, I drained the beans in a colander and rinsed them well.  Then I spread them onto cotton kitchen towels to dry a bit.  Notice the black beans in the background.

After they dried a bit (1 hour) I place them in labeled freezer bags.  I cooked the kidney beans for 2 hours and put them in the yummy chili we had for dinner.  And no, they weren't crunchy this time.  By freezing the soaked beans, they'll cook faster when I need them for my next recipe.  (probably 1 hour instead of 2)

What do you think of the centered text?  Is it hard to read? 


  1. What is the cost breakdown on using dried beans or canned? I am very interested in trying this! Beans are a great source of protein. Thanks :)

  2. hmmm...I can do that! Thanks for the info. :)

  3. I'm so glad you brought that up, Harley Mom. I meant to post the cost savings but it slipped my mind. I can buy one pound of dry beans for 88 cents and it makes more than one of the large cans of generic beans that I can buy for $1.89. Yesterday I processed about 4 lbs of dry beans so I saved over $4.00 for only a few minutes of hands-on time.

  4. Hi, Tidy Brown Wren! My friend, Donna Zamorski, sent me your way and I love your blog! So many great ideas! I follow a (mostly) vegan diet, so beans are a huge part of my meal plan. I love that you do this initial step and then freeze. I can definitely confirm the cost savings AND the dried and cooked beans taste so much more delicious than canned!

  5. Interesting! I've thought about using dried beans but I've never had the time to soak them but if I can freeze them for later - wow!
    BTW - I didn't even notice the centered text until you mentioned it.

  6. Hi there!
    Living in Central America, I've been cooking beans (red) for many yrs now, almost always soaking but had never tried the freezing, so will try that now.
    My husband (Nicaraguan) suggested we get a pressure cooker, & since it does really cut down on cooking time, has been a worthwhile investment.
    best wishes & thnx for your blog!


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