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How to Cook Dried Beans and Store for Easy Meal Prep

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BeansI should have phrased the title ‘How to Cook Dried Beans and Store for Easy Meal Prep Minus BPA and save boat loads of money’, but I’m keeping it simple. 😉

I’ve been on a bean bonanza this week finally giving in to cooking dried beans. Not only did I soak and cook them but I soaked and cooked 3 lbs of different beans over 24 hours. This project is perfect for a Saturday morning or if you like to stay up late on a week night while catching up on The Walking Dead or reading a page turner. Cooking beans requires time commitment but not constant watching commitment which allows you to accomplish other tasks.

Benefits of cooking dry beans:

  • Saves BIG MONEY, especially if they are a staple in your diet; a 1 lb bag of beans will make 4-5 ‘cans’ of beans for about the price of 1 actual can of beans
  • There’s no BPA ‘residue’ because there’s no can!
  • No high sodium to worry about
  • Less packaging than canned = better for the environment
  • Control over bean ‘firmness’

I’ve had a couple different types of beans in my cabinet for close to a year with no inclination to actually cook them. I had a warm fuzzy feeling just having the beans there with the notion that I could cook them. Ha! What finally changed?

Awesome infographic courtesy of Vegan Mainstream
Awesome infographic courtesy of Vegan Mainstream

Happening upon this awesome infographic! Anything laid out this easy is sure to incite action. It really was that simple.

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Soak your beans overnight or for at least 8 hours. Then drain and rinse them into a colander. Add them to a stock pot with enough water to cover them by 3 inches. Uncovered, bring them to a boil on medium-high heat, reduce heat to medium-low and cover with lid askew and cook until done…usually about an hour. Check above for different bean times. As you make more batches it will become easier to know how tender you prefer them.

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One of the first things I noticed is that home cooked beans are way more flavorful than beans out of a can. They have a light, fresh, flavorful essence. I made 1 lb each of black, red kidney, and garbanzo beans.

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Here comes the best part. This will save you time and eliminate any excuses. I used a kitchen scale to measure them into freezer bags in ‘canned’ sized servings (perfect for recipes) and easy storage. One of the biggest drawbacks of home cooked beans is the longer cooking time. No one has the time or patience to cook beans as we need for a recipe. Cooking big batches ahead of time and freezing them in portions avoids that. Take a bag from the freezer the night before or defrost by soaking in hot water.

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When measuring into the bags, aim for 240 grams, approximately 1 1/2 cups. I learned while filling the first bag that 425 g listed on a can of beans includes any liquid so I opened a can, drained the beans, then measured and found the weight to be right at 240 g. See they’re already taking up less space. 😉 Each pound of dried beans made about 4-5 ‘cans’ of cooked beans. Awesome!

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You can buy dried beans in bags or save even more money by buying from the bulk bins at your local grocery store. They can even be ordered online. I bought a 5 lb bag of Palouse garbanzo beans (pictured above) through Amazon from a local Washington company. They are seriously delicious and probably the freshest tasting beans I’ve ever had. P.s. The Palouse beans are also perfect for sprouting and making raw food hummus.

Palouse QR Code Palouse Growing Location

Palouse Brand even has a little QR code to track where they were harvested.

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Storage. I started to shove them in our very disorganized and ‘busy’ freezer but then decided to use it as an opportunity to organize. I threw out half ‘evaporated’ ice cubes that we never use (save for a party, which we never have – lol) and shifted things around. Clearing out the ice cubes meant I had these great trays, perfect for storing ‘cans’ of beans.

20130108_How to Cook Beans_009Here’s the first meal using fresh cooked garbanzo beans. I just topped them with a little mustard, tamari, avocado, grape tomatoes, and homemade sriracha. Simple but heavenly!

So… home cook your beans, you will eat better, avoid nonsense chemicals, and save money (take it from fellow Portland blogger Sara, who saves approximately $500/year).

XOXO

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21 comments

  1. Sara Tetreault says:

    Yeahhhh! Good job on cooking beans at home and saving – on so many fronts! They are so much tastier than opening a can. I add them to everything. Thanks for the linky-love, too!

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