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You Can Make This : Dried Beans

09/02/2011

Beans, beans the musical fruit the more you eat the more you toot; the more you toot the better you feel, so eat your beans at every meal.

Okay enough with the childish rhymes I hear at every dinner we eat beans…as a soy-free vegetarian, beans are at almost every meal.

The problem isn’t the musicality of the beans, it’s the space the cans take up on my pantry shelves.

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At this rate I’m never going to have any shelf space…and I don’t see an end to it soon.  This space issued needed to be remedied fast.  Enter dried beans.

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I’ve branched out from the easy starter beans, i.e. lentils, to varieties like adzuki, black-eyed peas and fava.  The last goes so well with Chianti. Winking smile

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Don’t worry…you can do it.  They process is the same for almost all beans…sort, soak, drain and boil.

Let’s break it down.

  1. Sort. Lay out the beans on a cookie sheet.  No cookies right now, maybe later for some black bean brownies. You are looking for anything that isn’t a good bean.  Trust me you’ll know the difference. IMG_7656
  2. Soak. With the exception of lentils, adzuki beans and split peas, this will take a bit.  They need to rest in the hot cold tub for at least 8 hours but I just let them chill all night like unruly teenagers.  IMG_6704 For one pound of beans you need about 6 cups of water.  Make sure it covers the beans by a 2 inches.
  3. Drain. You MUST drain he water from the soaked beans. IMG_6068 If you don’t you will have a trumpet attached to your rear-end.  Rinse them in a strainer and add the beans back to the pot.  Add at least 3 cups of fresh water back into the pot or enough to cover the beans.IMG_6070
  4. Boil. Bring the beans to a boil then clamp the lid on it.  Well vent it a touch so the steam can escape or you’ll be cleaning beans off the ceiling.  IMG_5356Reduce to a simmer and cook gently until beans are done. How do you know they are done? You want them to have some bite but not bite back.  IMG_6706And you definitely don’t want a pot of mush.  Love my specifics…it’s anywhere from 1-2 hours.

Tada! You have beans for about 1/3 the cost of canned…besides they are pretty and take up way less space.  I make up two batches on the weekend and use throughout the week for meals.  They also freeze well.  Until you cook them, dried beans last a minimum of one year on the shelf.

If the gaseous nature of beans is scary, here are a few tips to reduce the trumpet effect.

  • Be sure to drain the water after soaking.  The extra step to replace the water will allow you to be in the room with others after dinner.
  • Add 1 tbsp. white vinegar during the last 20 minutes of simmering.  Don’t worry it doesn’t change the flavor but will help you keep your friends.
  • If you want to salt the beans, only add during the last 20 minutes.  Salt seals in the gassy music notes so the less time the better.
  • After cooking add a few drops of BeanoYou know you are going to take it after dinner so why not add it straight to the beans.
  • Use a small strip of Kombu while boiling.  Kombu is a sea vegetable usually found in the Asian section of the grocery or at an Asian market.  Be adventurous and give it a try.

One last note.  If the only thing holding you back from making beans from dried is the time involved, there is a quick soak method.  It works in a pinch and will save you the penny you’re pinching by starting from dry.  My suggestion is if you have the time, do the regular method.  Your stomach and wallet will thank you. Smile

Why not try it with some of my recipes like Dump-it-all in Chili, Black and Green Tacos, Crockpot Lasagna, Vegetarian Black Bean Soup or Black Bean Quesadillas.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. 09/02/2011 8:55 AM

    “I just let them chill all night like unruly teenagers.” LOL! Thanks for the tips — I made dried beans once, and it was a true disaster. Doesn’t seem like it should be hard, but some of us need a little extra help…

  2. 09/02/2011 9:29 AM

    fresh cooked beans are SO good! They taste so different from canned.

    • 09/02/2011 10:04 AM

      I never thought there would be a difference but I don’t think I can go back unless there is a bean emergency. 🙂

  3. Jenna permalink
    10/02/2011 7:23 AM

    Perhaps we should all take a cue from my kid, and just toot away and smile while you do it. It DOES feel better, doesn’t it?! 🙂

  4. 10/02/2011 7:08 PM

    thanks for the bean tutorial! i’ve never cooked dried beans before. i definitely think i should try though!

  5. actorsdiet permalink
    12/02/2011 3:08 PM

    making my own beans is so simple, economical – why don’t i do it more often!??!

    • 13/02/2011 3:01 PM

      My excuse…time. Now I spend Sundays doing it when I’m home 🙂 Your excuse…too many good LA restaurants to eat in 😀

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