September 16, 2014

Those Humble Beans

Those humble beans ~ they really are a great thing.

I've been working on my food budget, and meal planning with a vengeance.

That's where beans come in in a big way.  I like to include meatless meals
and beans fit the bill perfectly.  They fill up the hungry tummies nicely. 
They are inexpensive, and, if properly prepared, healthy for you.

A win-win in my books.

I've discovered that the bulk foods manager
at my local grocery store will order in whatever I ask for
in the 25 lb bag size and sell it to me for less than
half what I would have paid for it in the bulk section.
Another win-win ~!  :)

Now, how to prepare all those lovely beans?

25 lbs of dried beans translates into approximately 150 cups

of cooked beans.  Isn't that a crazy thought?  That works out to
approximately 25 cents per cup of cooked organic black beans.

From the dried form, you need to sort through and pick out any rocks 
and shrivelled beans and discard. Then, rinse the beans by putting them into
a large stock pot.  Fill it with water and swish and pour the water off. 
 Do this a few times until the water is no longer dirty.

Next, put fresh water in your pot to cover the beans by several inches. 
 Pour about 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar into the pot and set it on high heat. 
 Bring the water to a bare simmer and shut the heat off. 
 Cover the pot and let sit for about 12 hours.

Drain, rinse and repeat the above step.

After 12 more hours of soaking time (for a total of 24 hours),
drain and rinse the beans. Cover with fresh water.  Do not use vinegar. 
 Bring to a boil and skim off foam.  Reduce heat and simmer, 
partially covered, for about 1.5 to 2 hours. 
 Test your beans for doneness (taste test) 
every so often to be sure they are cooked. 
 Salt added to the cooking water will not allow your beans to soften. 

Do not add salt until thoroughly cooked.

Drain, rinse, and freeze your beans in recipe-sized portions.
I find many of my recipes call for six cups of cooked beans.
So, most of my bags of beans in the freezer are for that amount.
If you need less, freeze less.  It's always helpful to label the bags
so you know what's in them ~ the item and amount of it.

What about you?  Have you ventured into the world of dried beans and lentils?  
It just requires a little advance preparation to put them to use.
They really aren't as scary as they might seem.

Happy Homemaking!
With Love, Camille


Dianna said...

I, too, like to work those meatless meals in to our menus. You, my friend, have given me a new thought though. We have lots of dried beans because of our gardening...what had never occurred to me though was to cook up a bunch and then freeze in amounts needed for our favorite recipes! Thank you so much for this wonderful idea, Camille! I will be using it this autumn and winter!

Heather H said...

I love to cook beans in bulk and freeze over here too. I used to do them in the crockpot, but our crockpot broke. I'm back to cooking them on the stovetop for now. I'm going to try your soaking method...

Maryann said...

We love beans...all kinds but never thought about cooking them ahead and freezing recipe sized portions. I'll bet you can keeps dried beans forever if stored properly, how do you store yours? This is a great tip, with the weather turning cooler there will be some soups(with beans) on the menu soon

Esther said...

How ironic that my container of black beans was spilled all over the floor today. I was thinking I was going to cook up a big batch so I had them out and I accidentally kicked the container over as I walked by. Black beans everywhere. LOL

KM Angel said...

My family cans pinto, Great Northern and black beans. Cooking process is similar to yours. We enjoy them year round as a whole bean or mash them for refried beans on Mexican night. Kids LOVE them!

Kim said...

I love black beans too, we eat them all the time. My favorite place to buy them is from the LDS Cannery. Here in the US a 25 pound bag costs $15 making it 10.5 cents per cup. There is one in Langley. Phone# is 604-882-7586. Anyone can go there,you don't have to be a member of the LDS church. They have all sorts of storage type foods. Beans, rice, oats, wheat, sugar, flour... It's a great place.

Jill said...

Beans are healthy and great for the budget! I like making 15 bean soup...have you tried it? It's a recipe my mom passed on to me. Great for cold winter or fall days. Have a great night!


Camille said...

Dear Dianna ~ So much fun that you got a *new-to-you* idea right here on my lil' ol' blog. :)

Dear Heather ~ could cook up SO many more beans in your big pot on the stove! Woohoo for time conservation and efficiency. :)

Dear Maryann ~ I keep 'em in that big brown bag you saw in my upstairs and dry. :)

Dear Esther ~ It was kicked over by YOU?? Were all the kiddos outdoors when it happened? Just washe 'em off and cook 'em up! :)

Dear K. Angel ~ Mmmm...what a blessing to have all those beans at the ready! Yippee for planning ahead and being prepared. :)

Dear Kim ~ Hmmm....I had never heard of that store before you mentioned it here. I will have to check it out. Thanks for the tip. :)

Dear Jill ~ Mmmm...that soup sounds yummy. Would you post the recipe on your blog....that would be great! Pretty please? :)

Many Blessings,