I tend to use a lot of beans in my recipes, whether it’s chili, soups, or a side dish! I’ve used cans, but there is something about seeing that viscous liquid coating the beans that always makes my stomach turn. No matter how much I rinse my beans, I can’t get that vision out of my mind! Some years ago, when I was single, I’d soak and cook and freeze my beans in 2 cup portions for use whenever a recipe called for beans. I got out of that habit due to convenience, but now I’m back at it!
On my last grocery trip, I purchased four 1-pound bags of dried beans – pinto, black, great northern white, and kidney. I rinsed then soaked the pinto, white, and kidney beans for about 20 hours, changing the water and rinsing the beans once throughout to ensure that those nasty gas causing agents were being eliminated. Once they were done soaking, I cooked all 3 varieties on the stove-top, adding a little kosher salt, onion powder, and a bay leaf to each pot. Once they were done cooking, I measured 2 cups into each pint sized freezer bag, which gave me approximately 3 cans per pound of beans. Each 1-pound bag of beans cost me about $1 while a can of beans can is just under that most times (& sometimes more, depending on the variety!)
I labeled each one and stuck them in the freezer for use. No thawing is required if adding them to a soup or chili. They will thaw while cooking.
Next up is chickpeas and black beans! For my chickpeas, I’ve always cooked those using Alton Brown’s method and they always come out perfectly! I use those chickpeas to make my own hummus as well as for use in Budget Bytes’ quick curried chickpeas! Soaking and cooking your own beans can be a little time consuming, but it can save you so much money over a year’s time (if you use beans like I do!) and it is so much better for you. Canned items contain so much in the way of sodium and preservatives which can mean bad things for your overall health.
Note: If cooking kidney beans, make sure that you cook them completely through! They contain phytohaemagglutinin which is a toxin that causes severe gastric distress resulting in nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea!
Here are some helpful links if you’re interested in cooking and storing your own beans:
Kitchen Treaty | How to Cook Dried Beans & Freeze Them for Later
Whole Foods | All About Beans
Lifehacker | Cheat Sheet: Soaking & Cooking Dried Beans
Have you ever tried cooking and freezing your own beans? What have you used them for? What’s your favorite bean to cook with?
2 thoughts on “Food Prep – Beans: Soaking, Cooking, & Freezing”
Thanks Jenn for sharing this awesome information. It is very motivating and encouraging to get moving with the beans :-) Great ideas.
Yes. We usually do navy beans, small red beans, or black beans. Thanks for the reminder to start freezing them again. Was just saying I need to can some but freezing more realistic these days.