Household Tip: Soak and Cook Your Own Beans

Several days ago I asked on Facebook if you all would enjoy weekly tip post.  The response was overwhelmingly yes.  I’m excited about starting this and plan to post all sorts of tips- anything from ways to entertain your children to organizing your home to saving time and of course money saving ideas too.  If you have any suggestions or topics you’d like to see let me know via email or by commenting.

Tip:
Soak and cook your own dry beans instead of buying cans of beans.

Why I recommend it:
It is easy to do, doesn’t take much time and is cheaper too!

How much will it save me?:
This amount varies a lot because prices obviously vary.  But on average you are going to save at least 40% by soaking and cooking your own beans.  For instance, Walmart sells dry Black Beans for $1.08/lb.*  One pound of beans will make around 6 cups of cooked beans or the equivalent of 3 cans  which makes your cost just $0.36/can!  Aldi sells cans of black beans for $0.59 and at many other stores they are at least $0.75/can.

* Actually, I think they raised their price a bit.  This is just the price I have written on my price list, so please don’t hold me to it!  :)

How to:
There are lots of different ways to soak and cook your beans.  And if the following way doesn’t appeal to you or doesn’t work for whatever reason, I highly recommend checking out Central Bean Company’s website for lot of other ways to cook and soak your beans.

Here’s how I do my beans.

1.  First, rinse the beans to get off any dirt.  Look for any pebbles or odd shaped beans and remove them.

2.  Put the beans in a pot; for every 2 cups of beans add 10 cups of water. Cook the beans until they boil for 2-3 min. then remove them from the heat, cover them and let stand for at least 4 hours.  This is called the Hot Soak method.

3.  After 4 hours drain the water off the beans and add fresh cold water to the beans.  Cook them however you choose.  (I cook them in my pressure cooker following the directions in my Pressure Cooker Instruction booklet.  I used to just cook the beans in a pot until they were done but several years ago switched to using my pressure cooker since it cut the cooking time down significantly.  If you decided to use your own pressure cooker to cook beans, be sure to follow your cooking manuals instructions as each pressure cooker requires different amount of liquids and cooking times.)

4.  Once cooked, drain the water off the beans and use them as you wish.  If you aren’t going to use them right away, place in freezer safer containers and freeze.

Misc. Info:
* I’ve found that for some reason my beans always get too soft and smooshy if I follow recommended cooking times.  If this happens to you, just cut back the cooking time by 1 min. until you get the bean texture that you like.

* One 15 oz. can of beans is equal to approximately 2 cups of beans.

* The longer you soak the bean, the more digestible it will be.  In other words, the longer you soak it, the less gassy the bean should make you!

* If you freeze beans, Central Bean Company recommends slightly undercooking them since freezing them will make them a bit more soft.

* 1 cup of dry beans equals approximately 3 cups cooked beans.

Do you cook your own beans?  What tips do you have?

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