How and Why to Cook, Store, and Use Dry Beans

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This is the ultimate way to save money and create less waste. Dry beans are the way to go.

Double whammy: you will get the best of both worlds when you do this! I will say that it did take me a while to grasp this concept because canned beans are usually only a dollar or so. Even if you opt for the organic brand its still less than two dollars. That is cheap to me. But there is a whole world of even cheaper beans out there!

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Lets put some money numbers on this

At my local grocery store they sell 4 pound bags for $2.49. When cooked this comes out to about 16 cans worth of beans. So lets do this math here:

16 cans = ~$16

1 bag dry = $2.49

16-2.49 = 13.51

Lets say you use one can a week (for me that is an unimaginably low number). 

1 can a week over 52 weeks in a year.

52 cans (1 per week for a year) = ~$52

OR

4 dry bags (with some extra left over) = $9.96

$52-$9.96 = $42.04 savings over the course of a year. 

What would you use that money on? Maybe it buys you a new pair of shoes. Or maybe you put that in a savings account. What would you use two hundred dollars for after five years? Or four hundred after ten?

It might become tedious after the first two times you cook dry beans so think about what you want that money for while you are doing it.

If you want to get a ton of beans, Amazon has a lot of cheap options check them out.

What about the waste numbers: canned vs dry beans

Basically the same thing here, you can could save yourself from 52 cans of waste (for that one type of bean). It would be more than that if you ate two cans a week (104 cans per year) maybe one of a certain type of bean and one of another. 

If you buy the little plastic bag of beans then that would come out to four little plastic bags versus 52 cans of waste. But if you buy in the bulk section without a plastic bag there is zero waste!

Healthier 

Many cans have a BPA liner in them. Which is, as you intelligent humans already know, not good for you!

But isn’t it a lot of work to cook dry beans, I am a busy person?

No. It requires time, but not much effort at all. The beans soak overnight so toss them in a container with water, done. Then they cook for an hour to three hours without needing any attention. So you could do this while watching tv or doing laundry or whatever you do at home. Pick a weekend day that you will be home and make that 4 pounds and then use it for the next two months. 

 

How to cook dry beans

As I said before, soak the beans overnight with plenty of water in the refrigerator. Easy.

In the morning, drain the beans. Grab a very large pot and fill it will a ratio of about 4 cups of water to every 1 cup of soaked beans.

Bring it to a boil, which may take a while if you are doing 2-4 pounds of beans. Let boil for 15 minutes. Reduce to a medium-low heat and leave the lid slightly off so steam can still escape. 

Find something to do and set a timer for an hour.

 

Return and check the beans. Some take longer such as chickpeas like I used (these took an hour and a half for me with 2 pounds of beans).

Drain the water and they are ready to use. 

How to store and use cooked dry beans

Since I do not buy or use plastic bags, I opted for glass jars. Be careful if you use glass however because they will break if you do not give them sufficient time to adjust temperatures. 

I decided to freeze most of my cooked beans. I used about a cans worth for dinner that day and froze the rest. I measured out a cans worth for each jar. I put the hot beans in the jars and left them on the counter until they cooled completely. Then moved them to the fridge. Then to the freezer. I intend to reverse that process when I want to use them again. 

Important: Do not put hot beans into frozen glass. Do not put the hot beans in glass straight into the freezer. They will break. I would hate for you to spend all this time preparing this just for the glass to shatter in the freezer.

Check out my other posts in my journey to become more environmentally conscious. 

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