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extra credit: dried beans instead of canned.

I don’t know about you but around here we’re eating a lot of beans these days.  Black beans added to eggs in the morning, thrown on a salad for lunch, tossed in a yummy soup for dinner.  The kids love them plain, and often I can get them to eat beans before chicken, beef or fish so I like that they’ve got protein in them too.

I know, I know…”beans, beans…the musical fruit.”  But did you know soaking and cooking them yourself makes them easier to digest?

But I digress…

I had been buying cans of beans at the store for about $.99 per 16-ounce can, but considering how often we were eating them I figured I would experiment with cooking up dried ones to see how they compared in flavor and price.

I’m not sure we’ll go back to canned…

Here’s the thing about making your own beans – you have to have some time to invest to soak them ahead of time.  But, you can add whatever spin you want to the beans, cut back on the sodium and save some money in the process.

Let’s take a look…

Soaking and Cooking Dried Beans

1.  Soak beans in 3 times their volume of cold water for 6-9 hours.  Longer for larger beans, shorter for smaller.  So if you have one cup of dried beans, soak in 3 cups of water, etc.

2.  Drain the beans.

3.  In a heavy pot or saucepan, cover beans with fresh water (about 3 cups water for every 1 cup of beans), or about one inch of water above the beans.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat with lid partially covering the pot, then lower the heat and simmer 1-1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender.  Stir occasionally.

4.  Cooked beans can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 6 months.

Cost Savings?

BUY:

1 16-ounce can of pinto or black beans – about $.99 per can

TOTAL:  $.28 per 1/2 cup serving

OR

MAKE YOUR OWN:

1 pound bag of beans (I use black most often) – $1.29 which made 9, 1/2-cup servings

TOTAL:  $.14 per 1/2 cup serving

So you’ll save about 50% making beans from scratch, plus you’ll save sodium and can add your own flavors.

Think you’ll give it a try?  If so let me know your thoughts and if you think it’s worth it!

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11 Comments Post a comment
  1. I totally agree that I should be doing this, and I used to, but I don’t feel like I have enough time atm. However, my girlfriend has told me I have to so this will be added to my tips section eventually. If you have a black bean surplus you should check out my recent black bean burger post!

    October 13, 2011
    • Thanks! Will check it out.
      Yes, it’s so easy to grab a can or two at the store, but having done the math it makes so much sense to make your own.
      K

      October 13, 2011
  2. Hi Kelly, great article! Due to lower funds at this time, I have been forced to get out of my ‘lazy’ mode and actually cook beans from scratch. I can’t believe I waited this long! It is SO easy and like you said, they taste so much better. In addition, canned beans always seem less firm and when I try to cook some flavor into them, they turn to mush. What I do to cut down on any extra preparation time is soak them at night before going to bed, rinse in the morning and place with seasonings in a crock pot and go about my business for the day. After about a few hours I have a huge pot of flavorful beans, which I have as you suggested, had with eggs in the morning…YUM. I also add a little more water when cooking so that there’s a nice base for black bean soup, or I take drain some and add to my salads. It not only so much more cost efficient, but tastier and healthier. Thanks for posting this article so that people can see how easy it is to be a ‘frugal foodie’!

    October 13, 2011
    • Great ideas about soaking overnight or throwing in a crock pot!
      Thanks!
      K

      October 13, 2011
  3. If you put a spoonful of yogurt into the soaking water it also helps them be more easily digested. 🙂

    October 13, 2011
    • Thanks – what a great idea!
      K

      October 13, 2011
  4. I love this! I will absolutely give this a try!

    October 13, 2011
    • Yay!
      Thanks Sarah!
      K

      October 14, 2011
      • I will also be posting on my blog. I love your tutorials, notes and pictures. Your instructions totally beat out the competition.

        October 16, 2011
      • Yay! Thanks! Headed over to your blog now…
        K

        October 16, 2011
  5. Kelly #

    This is so funny because I was just standing in the store the other day debating dried garbonzo beans vs. canned. The time involved in the cooking made me choose canned, but I think you motivated me with the cost savings and the better taste. 🙂

    October 15, 2011

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