>> Saturday, May 16, 2009
I finally got around to soaking and cooking my own dried beans. I don't know why this is so daunting a task maybe it feels so "old" time like, maybe we feel we have come a long way with grocery store cans.
There are several reasons to make your own beans. The first is the cost. A bag of beans cost about $1.50 a bag and you will get about 4-6 cups of beans bag. A can of beans cost .60 or more. You do the math.
Save the environment by not consuming so many cans, save your health by not consuming the chemicals found in beans from the can! Save yourself some sodium by not having to ingest the salted, preserved beans.
Canned beans are still an economical buy and if you are careful about rinsing them it will help cut the sodium intake. The chemicals on the cans are true, it is the lining they use on the inside of the can. Organic companies use chemical free cans but we can't always afford organic so the next best thing is to make your own when you can, store them dry and make batches to freeze so you can use them as you need them.
But I don't eat that many beans? I never really did either but it is time to start! Beans are the cheapest way to bulk up a meal, add protein to your diet and not break the bank. Making tacos tonight? Try adding some beans. How about a salad? Add some beans. Chili? Need I say more? Add them to casseroles, mix them with some veggies. Add lentils to ground beef to stretch the beef and add health.
Here is what I did, I took a bag of dried beans (I used black and red beans, keeping them separate) I but them into a big bowl and covered them with a lot of water. Let them soak overnight.
Then I drained them, rinsed them off and looked for any stones. Put them into a big pot and cover with a good amount of water. Simmer for about an hour and a half or a bit more till soft.
Drain, cool and package the desired amount into freezer bags, date the bags and freeze. A can of beans is about 1 cup so I am freezing one cup of beans per bag.
I have read several blogs that just freeze the beans without adding anything and they say they come out fine. This week I saw on the Today Show that you should add enough water to cover beans and then freeze. Not sure which way is best but I am going to freeze without water. If I find out that the beans don't freeze that well I will try the water freeze next time.
Do you use dried beans? If you do let the readers know, share your ideas.