Beans Beans the magical fruit!

 For sometime now I have been cooking bulk beans and freezing them to use!  I have found it easy and super cheap!  People are intimated by dried beans these days!  Since we are a busy society I notice that families would rather buy canned and spend less of their precious time with beans!  I can promise you that if you were to take a Sunday morning and cook some beans while you are cleaning or even out in the backyard gardening you will be so surprised how easy and rewarding it is to be doing yourself!  First things first here is some nutritional info.

Health Benefits:
Beans are high in protein and low in fat. They are a great source of soluble fiber which helps remove harmful cholesterol from your body before it’s absorbed. Incorporating beans into your diet can help lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk for heart disease, heart attacks, and breast & prostate cancer. In fact, studies have found Hispanic women have half the risk of breast cancer as white women. Researchers attribute this, in part, to the high quantity of legumes in their diet.  One cup of cooked beans (or two-thirds of a can) provides about 12 grams of fiber -- nearly half the recommended daily dose of 21 to 25 grams per day for adult women (30 to 38 grams for adult men). Meat, on the other hand, contains no fiber at all.
Most cuts of beef – 7 grams of protein per ounce
Chicken meat, cooked, 4 oz – 35 grams
Most fish fillets or steaks are about 22 grams of protein for 3 ½ oz (100 grams) of cooked fish, or 6 grams per ounce

  • Tofu, ½ cup 20 grams protein
  • Tofu, 1 oz, 2.3 grams
  • Soy milk, 1 cup - 6 -10 grams
  • Most beans (black, pinto, lentils, etc) about 7-10 grams protein per half cup of cooked beans
  • Soy beans, ½ cup cooked – 14 grams protein
  • Split peas, ½ cup cooked – 8 grams
  • Peanut butter, 2 Tablespoons - 8 grams protein
  • Almonds, ¼ cup – 8 grams
  • Peanuts, ¼ cup – 9 grams
  • Cashews, ¼ cup – 5 grams
  • Pecans, ¼ cup – 2.5 grams
  • Sunflower seeds, ¼ cup – 6 grams
  • Pumpkin seeds, ¼ cup – 8 grams
  • Flax seeds – ¼ cup – 8 grams

You have to eat a tad more beans then meat, but you can get the protein and fiber without the cholesterol and saturated fat!!! WIN!!! WIN!!!!

Canned Beans

The ingredient list in most commercially canned beans is actually pretty basic: water, beans, and salt. Most brands also contain calcium chloride which is a firming agent, and many brands include sugar which is just wrong. With the exception of Eden Organics, all companies use BPA in the lining of their cans.

Average cost of pre-cooked beans: $0.60 per cup, cooked
Average cost of dry beans: $0.25 per cup, cooked
Energy and water use to cook beans: $0.01 per cup, estimated
Savings per cup using dry beans: approximately $0.34 per cup, cooked

One pound of dried beans = about six cups of cooked beans. Six cups for around a buck!
Bulk dried beans

There are a couple different reasons for soaking beans before cooking them: 1) It helps them cook faster. The larger the bean, the longer the soak. The longer they soak, the faster they cook. and 2) It leaches out carbohydrates that our bodies cannot digest. When beans move through our lower intestine, bacteria breaks down what our digestive enzymes can’t, resulting in gas.  Soaking isn’t absolutely necessary and some people avoid it, saying it also removes vitamins and minerals.  I do and don’t on occasion.  If I only have a few hours to cook some beans and get those in the freezer I don’t waste time soaking.  If I know I am making something and have the time I do! 

All beans freeze beautifully and are great 2 to 3 months for best quality, 6 in deep freezer.
So here is the deal, it’s cheaper and really easy once you start! 
I get about 4 kinds of beans in the bulk section, cook em and spend about 5 bucks on beans for a month or 2!


How to cook dried beans:
Before preparing dried beans, place them in a colander, sort through them thoroughly and remove any tiny pebbles or other debris, and then rinse under cold water.

Soak most beans in three times their volume of cold water for six hours before cooking. Dried beans are often soaked too long. Most recipes say overnight. The best way is to put them in cold water; bring them gently to a boil and then with saucepan off the heat, allow them to remain in the water for 1 to 2 hours only.
To help in the digestion of beans, always discard the water in which they were soaked.

Dried Bean Guide
Use this guide to gauge how much dried beans to cook.
1/3 cup dry beans =
1 cup cooked beans
1/2 cup dry beans =
1 1/2 cups cooked beans
2/3 cup dry beans =
2 cup cooked beans
1 cup dry beans =
3 cups cooked beans
2 cups (1 pound) dry beans =
6 cups cooked beans

The best cookware for beans is a heavy metal pot or saucepan. Stainless steel, cast aluminum, or cast iron are all excellent.

After soaking, drain the beans and add fresh water to the cooking pot.
Bring the beans to a boil, and then lower the heat and simmer for 60 to 90 minutes, or until the beans are tender. NOTE: When cooking beans, always simmer. Boiling can cause the cooking liquid to overflow, as well as the beans to break apart and the skins to separate.
When dried beans boil, a foam forms on the top of the cooking liquid.  This foam is water-soluble protein released from the beans and it will be absorbed back into the bean cooking liquid.  It is not necessary to remove the foam. 

Beans are done when they can be easily mashed between two fingers or with a fork. Always test a few beans in case they have not cooked evenly.

Beans taste better if cooked a day ahead, but they should be refrigerated to avoid becoming sour. When cooked, they can be frozen. Store cooked beans, covered, for up to four days in your refrigerator. Cooked beans can be frozen up to 6 months.  What nice about frozen is you can freeze them in servings to add to soups, you can use them in smoothies ;)  I know it sounds bazaar but its really good!  Or just take out a frozen large bag of the beans and defrost in fridge and use them all week in salads or to make dips for your veggies! 

All beans are generally cooked for an hour and a 1/2 !  However black eyed peas, lentils, split peas and greens usually only take about 30-45 minutes!
Buying bulk beans is the way to go in my book, less waste and lots of nutrition!  If you have other tricks or ideas to add please leave a comment!  Tread Lightly!
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