Growing up, I don’t remember eating a lot of beans. Chili, pork ‘n beans, and ham ‘n beans are about all I can recall. In fact, I don’t know if a black bean ever graced our table. We were much more a meat ‘n potatoes family. (And that worked well for us!)
Little did I know we were missing out on a frugal, healthy source of protein and fiber! Since being married I’ve expanded my bean repertoire, but it never even occurred to me to cook dry beans. Never. (Except for that one newlywed meal mishap that I don’t wish to elaborate on. Ahem.) Thanks to all the fabulous information I’ve read on blogs the past couple of years, I now know better.
Cooking your own dry beans eliminates any question of extra sodium or additives, you don’t have to worry about BPA from the can harming your food, and it’s less expensive than buying canned beans.
I haven’t bought a can of beans for so long that I asked my Twitter friends to help me out with a price guess (for black beans):
Looks like the consensus is a little less than a dollar. The cans have less than 2 cups of beans.
I’m sure if I bought them in bulk I could fare even better, but out here in the sticks that’s just not an option. I buy 1 pound bags of dry black beans for $1.14. I can get 5 cups of cooked beans from that one bag. So… about 3 cans. Three cans = probably $2.40. A dry-to-cooked effort = $1.14. About half price.
And the effort I’m talking about?
- Rinse the beans. (Check real quick for rocks or other debris, but I’ve never seen any.) 1 minute
- Soak them overnight in a big pot of water. (Add a little vinegar to make them more digestible, but I don’t think that’s necessary for black beans.) 1 minute to run the water
- Drain the soak water and refill with fresh water. 1 minute
- Cook beans until soft, about 2 hours for 2 pounds of black beans. 2 minutes, checking/stirring time
- Packaging cooked beans for the freezer. 2 minutes
Effort? Maybe 7 minutes. Worth it? You decide, but it works for me!
Be sure to visit Stephanie’s bean post. She’s got some good info on the how’s and why’s of cooking your own beans.
This post is linked to Frugal Friday.