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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Dry Beans

Cooking with dry beans can save you quite a bit of money over buying canned beans.

For most beans: 1 pound dried beans = 2 cups dried = 4 - 5 cups cooked beans

Beans are low in fat and loaded with nutrients, and we'd probably eat more of them if they weren't also loaded with gas-producing enzymes. There are ways to enjoy beans without having to forego social appointments, however. One is to change the water from time to time while you're soaking or cooking the beans. Pouring off the water helps gets rid of the indigestible complex sugars that create gas in your intestine. It also helps to cook the beans thoroughly, until they can be easily mashed with a fork. Most bean aficionados prefer dried beans, but canned beans are also available. Canned beans tend to be saltier and less flavorful than reconstituted dried beans.

I cook dry beans by first soaking them over night in my crock pot (turned off). Then in the morning I rinse them and return them to the crock pot and fill it with water. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. For beans I am using for refried beans or Mexican dishes I add a bunch of chopped cilantro, a clove of garlic, and a couple teaspoons of cumin.

Then the beans are ready for use. You can freeze whole cooked beans or what I like to do is just go ahead and mash them and freeze them. I use either my food saver or empty sour cream cartons.

Freeze beans in 1 to 2 cup portions so they'll be easy to thaw and use, making sure the beans are covered with liquid so they won't dry out or get freezer burn. Freezer containers should be airtight and moisture proof. Leave enough space at the top of the container for expansion of the beans. Cooked beans will keep in the freezer 2 to 3 months. After that time their flavor and texture will begin to deteriorate.

When you are ready to use the beans, thaw in the fridge.

To prepare refried beans, take them cold from the fridge. If they are very juicy, then drain off some of the juice. If they are not very juicy, then don’t worry about it. Place the beans in a pot on the stove.. As the beans heat they will thicken and bubble. Add a little bit of fat to give them flavor and to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pot. If they already some fat in them, then you don’t need any more. Simmer the beans over medium heat until they are thick enough to spoon out. They won’t be as thick as canned refried beans.

Note: Canned refried beans are thicker than they should be. If you ever reheat canned refried beans, then add about 1/4-cup of water and 1 or 2 tablespoons of fat to beans and they will taste a lot better.


Meaghan said...

I have a question about this statemant:
Freeze beans in 1 to 2 cup portions so they'll be easy to thaw and use, making sure the beans are covered with liquid so they won't dry out or get freezer burn.

Are you referring to the cooked beans? Or the mashed beans as well?

I guess I just don't understand this part very well. Sorry.

Also, how long are dry beans good for before they are cooked. Many of the bags I have are past the expiration date but it seems like beans would last longer then that.

Thanks for all your hard work. I love the site and visit daily!

Brittany Roscheck said...

You really can use the dried beans pasted their "due" date but you will need to soak/cook them longer.

Gwyn Hammer said...

another way to make it so you don't have gas when your done is to add a teaspoon of baking soda to the beans while soaking them. Make sure to rinse well when your ready to cook. I can't remember is it stops the gas or just gets rid of the smell of the gas. Odd topic I know.


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