Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Frugal Living Part 1.5 (Beans)

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I wanted to add this little tidbit about beans, since we eat a lot of them. I only ever buy dried beans. I used to cringe when I had to make a bean recipe and didn't have any beans soaking or cooked, but I've come up with a great way to keep ahead of the game.

Most one pound bags of dried beans can make 6-6.5 cups of cooked beans. Most cans of beans are 1.75 cups of beans. So if you can buy a can of beans for .50 and since I freeze my beans in containers of 2C each, that means I'll save about $1. I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but when every penny counts, a buck is a lot. I've been there, where a $1 meant being in the red or in the black. So if this work isn't worth it to you, then skip this tip. Keep in mind, I haven't bought beans for a long time, so I don't really know how much beans are in a can. They might be more. But usually dried beans are cheaper. And, if you buy them in bulk, they are even more cheaper. Plus, dried beans do not contain all that sodium. A nice plus.

Anyway, this is what I do to make my beans. I put the beans in my crockpot with water to soak and then after they have soaked for the needed time, check the bag, I cook them. Often it might be all day, or just a few hours. Make sure to check them, or they might overcook. Then I drain and pack them in reusable freezer containers. When I need them for a recipe, just zap em in the microwave for a few seconds and there you go. Pure beans. No additives or salt.

Like I said, this might not be worth it to you. But it is to us, since we've gotten away from salt and we really notice it when something is highly salted.


Shannon said...

I've tried making dried beans several times and I can't ever get them done! I gave up and just stick with canned. I rinse them off to get some of the salt off.

Anonymous said...

I tried this once and I think I overcooked the beans before freezing them (I used ziploc bags). They work ok for soups and chili, but not good for something that needs more texture to it. They did seem to take forever to defrost too.

Nola said...

I use dried beans all the time, that way I also avoid the preservaties and of course its much cheaper too.(At least where I live, the ones they make that don't have preservatives cost about 4x the cost of regular canned beans!!!)

I haven't ever had a problem with dried beans. I soak them overnight in a big bowl with a lid in the fridge. I then drain them, fill a pot with water and boil it, add the beans, bring back to a boil so it doesn't overflow (easy to have happen...) and then cook for around 30 minutes to 45 or whatever is needed for that bean. I then freeze them and thaw them overnight in the fridge for use the next day.

I love dried beans!

oregon dreams said...

i soak mine overnight and then slowely simmer them, they cook fast, I add some salt once they are almost done...i plan to freeze some this time, in glass and just leave out to defrost.