Ten Reasons Soaking Dried Beans Can Change Your Life

OK, so I am feeling a little dramatic today about the lowly bean. I feel like I’ve discovered this new (well old) way to really make a difference. Perhaps I spent too much time soaking in the bathtub this evening, but I really think switching from canned beans to dried beans is really good for my health and good for my wallet.

If you have been reading this site you already know I have become pretty darn frugal about groceries and shopping in general.When I was entering my grocery bill into Quicken the other day I couldn’t help but notice how the price of organic chick peas (also called garbanzo beans) has gone up! A can used to cost $0.99. It seems the good people at Superstore have jacked-up the price to $2.40 a can.

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It’s kinda funny but my “better half” was more indignant about the price increase than I. So after several heated discussions on how inflation has attacked our beloved garbanzo bean, we decided to dry-up and buy dried beans.

Here are ten reasons soaking dried beans can change your life:

1. Price:

Buying dried beans is extremely cheap. All you frugal types will agree you can get significantly more beans by forgoing the canned variety. I like saving money and at the same time getting more beans for my buck! The cool thing about dried beans is they expand when soaked, so you end up with even more beans per dollar spent. This is the new math!

2. Sodium Free:

Salt is bad for you. It’s a sad truth, people. Salt is terrible for your arteries and body in general. Canned beans can be loaded with sodium. Sure, you can buy canned cooked beans with low or no sodium, but why bother when dry bulk beans are salt free?

3. Healthier:

I don’t know how long canned beans can survive in canned-captivity, but I bet they have some kinda preservatives to keep them juicy and fresh. Now, the dried beans I buy are preservative free and have a shelf life of eons. I have no scientific bean data, but I have a hunch that dried beans are healthier than canned beans cause they are less processed, less preserved, and less exposed to chemicals.

4. Tastier:

My “better half” came up with this point. He really thinks soaking and cooking dried beans is far tastier than eating precooked canned beans. I have to agree with him as they just taste better and more natural.

5. Less waste and environmentally friendly:

I think buying dried beans really helps the environment. Dried beans require less energy expended in production, less energy expended in recycling, and less material usage for the packaging (steel can and the paper label). I am thrilled I can reduce my footprint (foodprint) and at the same time save lots of bucks. It may seem small, but if we all reduce the amount of canned goods we consume I think we can make a big difference. Think positive! Ohh, and I really hate buying all those steel cans just to recycle them again.

6. More variety and selection:

Have you ever seen a can of mung beans? I sure haven’t. But when I saw a nice bin of mung beans for $2 bucks a pound (dry weight), I knew I had to try them. Gentle reader, mung beans are delicious and can be added easily to soups and stews! Anyways, there is sooo much variety to be found in dried beans. It’s awesome to try new varieties every now and then and bypass the canned bean aisle with the same old stuff. Bean there, done that.

7. More cooking control:

I used to hate opening up a can of beans only to find them a little too mushy for my liking. So, I was thrilled to find that soaking and cooking beans gives the cook ultimate control in how firm, juicy, or mushy the final bean will be. This is good news for bean fanatics like me.

8. Bisphenol A (BPA):

You know how cans have a plastic liner in them? Well, this liner apparently contains a chemical called bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is a component for making several polymers and polymer additives. Bisphenol A has recently become controversial because it mimics estrogen and thus could induce hormonal responses. Personally, the less I expose myself to chemicals the better.

9. Less storage space:

I hate filling my pantry with lots of cans. I live in a small house, so every inch of food storage space matters! Dry beans take up little to no space, so I can be frugal with both my money and my space.

10. Soaking beans is easy:

My friends seem to have this preconceived notion that soaking beans is hard work and takes lots of time. Not true I say. It’s not like you have to stand there and watch the beans soak. To soak my beans, I just pour them into a bowl, and add water. That’s it! I then leave them submerged in water to soak over night and have them ready for my slow cooker in the morning. It’s easy!

Need more dried beans information? Try:

Are you fanatical about beans?

Your two cents:

  1. Nathaniel Scott February 19th, 2008

    BEANS! :) I would say we have gone pretty fanatical about them. We’ve had beans in the last 10 of 10 meals. All my leftovers for the week? Beans. And we definitely soak our own. The price alone is what got us started, but as you noted–there are many other benefits. The best thing is that a few months ago my kids (6, 5, 3) would totally pout at the prospect of having beans AGAIN! Now (since we have been gung-ho about getting out of debt) they have been gobbling them up at dinner time. It’s wonderful!

  2. fox February 19th, 2008

    Nathaniel: I am so happy to hear I am not alone in my frugal bean soaking ways. Actually, I too have probably eaten beans in my last 10 (or more) meals. :) Beans just make sense as they are healthy, affordable, and tasty. I just love how they can be added to just about any meal too!

    MAJOR KUDOS to you for getting your kids to eat healthful beans at such a young age! So many parents nowadays grapple with their kids wanting all the unhealthy “packaged meals” targeted to them by advertisers. How the heck did you get your kids to eat well?

  3. Funny about Money February 26th, 2008

    I love beans! They remind me of my childhood, when my great-grandmother (who was born in the mid-1800s) used to make the most wonderful but very plain beans. And it’s true: dried beans cooked in your kitchen ARE tastier than canned!

    If you forget to put beans to soak the night before, you can hurry the process along so you can get them cooked on the same day: cover the beans well with water (about 5 cups water to 1 cup beans). Bring the water to a boil; allow to seethe exactly one minute. Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let sit for one hour. Then cook the beans in the regular way.

    If you pour off the soaking water and use fresh water, you get around certain gastrointestinal issues that afflict some of us bean-eaters. ;-)

  4. boomie February 26th, 2008

    I agree. beans are the way to go. I have a lot of canned beans in my pantry but have been considering buying dry beans and soaking them. You’ve convinced me to change. Thanks!

  5. fox February 26th, 2008

    Funny about Money: My grandmother was also a bean soaker. Isn’t it interesting how the simple and frugal things in life are generally lost on later generations? Thank you for including the HOW TO instructions for avoiding windy gastrointestinal issues. ;)

    boomie: Now that I soak my beans, I no longer use all my pantry space for cans. It’s kinda refreshing finding more space by using less cans.

    I also wrote a post on How to Soak and Cook Dried Beans if anyone is looking for additional pointers. Let me know how it goes!

  6. Raven February 27th, 2008

    I like all kinds of beans, but have a soft spot for lentils since they don’t require soaking.

    When I was a ‘poor starving student’ I’d go to the bulk store twice a month on pay day to buy enough dried lentils to make 14 meals. I wouldn’t necessarily eat lentils twice a day every day, but that allowed me to ‘stock pile’ some for the days when I needed to eat them three times a day or have nothing else to eat.

    At any rate, my lentil bills never came to more than a couple of dollars . That’s right, I could feed myself for a month on less than 5$. Add in seasonings (like onions, soy sauce, tomatoes, spices, etc.) to shake things up and I was still at under 10$ a month.

    There aren’t many other foods that are this cheap, this filling, this nutritious, and this tasty. Yup, I still eat lentils regularly! :-)

    My best tip for easing ‘gastrointestinal distress from eating legumes: eat legumes. If you eat them regularly, your body begins to produce an enzyme that solves the windy issue naturally.

  7. fox February 27th, 2008

    Raven: I really enjoyed your comment. In fact, I just ate some lentils cause I enjoyed your comment so much. I LOVE LENTILS. My picture above features lentils prominently. I agree with your tip on easing the vapors…it’s very true, the more beans you eat, the better for your heart…the less you…well, you know… ;)

  8. Saryn March 1st, 2008

    I got my son(age 7) to try beans by teaching him both versions of the bean song (Beans, Beans are good for the heart and Beans, Beans the magical fruit). I told him he could sing them at the table any night we had beans with dinner. He now asks for them all the time and eats beans with gusto!!

  9. Chickadee March 3rd, 2008

    This is a great article, and I’m so glad I discovered your blog (by clicking on a link in the MSN smart-spending blog).

    Beans are excellent food, and I have been buying them dry, at the bulk store. I still remember the first time I soaked some: a mason jar full of kidney beans, which I topped up with water, forgetting that they *expand* ! Well, I had to chisel them out of that jar, and they had soaked up all the water… I still laugh when I think of it.

    We are fortunate to have a Bulk Barn store in our area (here in Canada) with a wide selection of dry beans, lentils, etc. It is good protein for a small cost.

  10. fox March 3rd, 2008

    Saryn: I’m well past the age of 7 yet I still sing “The Bean Song”. Heck, I love the bean song. :)

    Chickadee: I am so happy you clicked the MSN link and found me! I am truly astounded with the MSN Smart Spending article by Karen Datko. I cannot imagine how she found me and my beans over here. :) It’s funny you mention your kidney beans incident as I had a similar issue with chickpeas about 2 months ago. I let my “better half” soak the beans and his water-to-bean ratio was well off. Eight hours later I had nicely soaked beans on the bottom and perfectly solid beans perched on top. The bean tower grew out of the bowl like a massive iceberg. I should have taken a picture. Ahh, the Bulk Barn. I too am Canadian, so I am very familiar with the shop.

    Smart Spending Link: A Heartfelt Tribute to Bags of Dried Beans

  11. Mayo March 10th, 2008

    I too am a committed soaker.

    And I would add another variation on the less waste argument in that you can cook dried beans in any quantity you like. So you can scale up your recipes by a quarter or a third without having left-over cans in your fridge.

    But can somebody give me a rule of thumb about converting a recipe which calls for a can of beans to dried beans. I am sure it is not one dry ounce for one canned ounce.

  12. Elaine Vigneault March 10th, 2008

    Beans, beans the magical fruit… I love beans. And you’re right, they’re cheaper, tastier, and better all the way around.

  13. VnV March 12th, 2008

    Thanks for the comment on my vegetarian travels in Egypt.. being Indian vegetarians, lentils are staple diet. We eat it twice a day. Rice, lentils and a side of vegetables is our daily fare. Lentils can cook pretty fast in a pressure cooker.

  14. LisaN March 13th, 2008

    Oh, I love it. Beans are one of my favorite foods, and I almost always use the dried variety, but I had no idea that were so many good reasons for doing so.

    Thanks…………..:)

  15. Converting Vegetarians March 15th, 2008

    Howdy, I fell lucky that I located this post while browsing for converting vegetarians. I am with you on the topic of Ten Reasons Soaking Dried Beans Can Change Your Life. Ironically, I was just putting a lot of thought into this last Saturday.

  16. crazypumpkin March 18th, 2008

    Would you mind sharing some of your mung bean recipes one day? I bought them for something, and now can no longer remember what. I’d like to use them for something!

  17. fox March 19th, 2008

    crazypumpkin: Yay on bringing mung beans home with you. No doubt you’d like to give them a try! I would be happy to share some mung bean recipes with you. In fact, I’m in the middle of writing a mini series on frugalicious foods and will add some mung bean ideas just cause you asked! So you don’t have to wait till I post the series…here’s what I normally do with mungers during the week: I make a batch and refrigerate them in a bowl. I then add them to my soups, salads, stews, eggs, and anything I feel like eating. This week I’ve been really enjoying them with my leafy green salads. I use them in recipes just as anyone would use lentils. I’m in the process of trying to sprout them to see how they taste when bursting with goodness. I hope this gives you a start. Now go get soaking!

  18. Lynda March 23rd, 2008

    And don’t forget you can sprout some types of bean: gives you a fantastic nutrient rich food and a useful educational tool at the same time. Also, you don’t need to buy huge amouunts of equipment to start. Check Wikipedia for details: it gives you a rundown on where to begin.

  19. soultravelers3 March 23rd, 2008

    So fun to find someone else who is passionate about the benefit of beans for ones health and budget. I just stumbled upon this site through a friend, but I have bookmarked it for a deeper look.

    We are traveling the world on a tight budget and we take our beans with us and loooove them. Soaking is easy, even in an RV. LOL.

  20. vudutu March 23rd, 2008

    Nice thread, I enjoyed it, if you dont know about them here is a cool link to great dried beans, Rancho Gordo.

    http://www.ranchogordo.com/

  21. The Downtown Boutique June 14th, 2008

    I used to HATE beans! Maybe it came from being the second oldest of a large family and having to eat them a LOT, especially when my dad was out of work.

    Now I love most of them. We do still use canned beans, just because of the convenience, but things are changing for us. When we do use canned beans, at least for the kidney and black beans, I rinse them completely, which helps cut down on SOME of the sodium.

    I do know that if you soak beans overnight (when possible), before cooking them, it will tend to help get rid of some of the adverse side effects that seem to affect us all in a bad way.

    I have a bag of black beans sitting on my counter, just waiting to be made into black bean soup, to be eaten with homemade cornbread and butter!

  22. Renu July 10th, 2008

    Guys! I am soo happy to have visited this site! I thought i was an excepion and my family loves Beans and can have them for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack!They like one particular very easy dish and i would like to share this with you guys…
    Soak 1cup Kala chana (available at indian stores and is very cheap) or Garbanzo beans and cook it and drain the water .In a fry pan take a tbsp of oil and heat it add 1/4 tsp of mustard and a pinch of asafotida(optional,again available at indian stores),atbsp of grated coconut, 1 green chilly and add the cooked beans and add juice of a lime. Garnish with and chopped cilanro!

    My kids love this and prefer to take it to school for a snack and guess what their friends like to share it with them.
    I have a of recepie of mixed bean pancakes and number of recepies of variety of beans and i will be happy to share with you guys.

  23. Frugal Wench July 13th, 2008

    Had to laugh at “beans in canned captivity”! I’ve long been a fan of dried beans. I love the smell of a good pot of black eyed peas with unsalted ham hocks, or split pea soup with ham…yummy smelling and tasting. Yes, salt is bad for you, and if you flavor the beans with meat and herbs, you really don’t need the salt.

    I lost ten pounds after I cut salt out of my diet.

  24. Kerry July 13th, 2008

    @Frugal Wench Ohh I love your name. Congratulations on the weight loss! I forgot I wrote the words “canned captivity” (I don’t know where my brain goes some days.) LOL But yeah, I believe in freeing all beans from canned captivity. :D

  25. Marci July 21st, 2008

    Pressure cooker! That’s my quick fix when I forget to put them on to soak the night before. I also use the pressure cooker for the dried veggies going in the same stew – corn and barley especially seems to do better in the pressure cooker than the over night method. Then I crock put the stews!

    All winter long – this is done about twice a week! Ah – so many beans – sso many dried veggies from my garden – o much variety in my stews! Yum!!!

  26. mama kathy August 24th, 2008

    I adore beans and rice. Living in New Orleans it is a staple on Monday to have teh beans. I sure could some more recipies for other types of beans and meatless dishes. BUDGET CONCERNS and teenage boys…..

  27. Momma of 3 November 9th, 2008

    I soaked pinto beans overnight and now I dont have time to cook them. (My mom was just rushed to the hospital and is in ICU) My hubby doesnt know how to cook beans. Can I have him freeze them? Put them in the fridge until tomorrow? I dont want them to go to waste while I am here at the hospital. Thank you Diana

  28. Kerry November 9th, 2008

    @Diana (Momma of 3) Beans can soak longer than one day. I’ve soaked beans for two full days without issue before cooking. If you are worried then refrigeration is a good option. Good luck!

  29. Mike January 12th, 2009

    From gritty experience, wheat in its dried form is cheap and abundant. If you can find a seller at or near farm prices you won’t have to pay boutique prices. It can be purchased in fifty pound bags. Wheat stores indefinitely, wheat seeds thousands of years old have been sprouted. Wheat is a wonderful cereal when boiled well. If it’s hard to chew boil it longer. It turns into a slightly nutty plump grain, soft and delicious. A little like barley. Salt to taste.

  30. SB January 18th, 2009

    Just to contribute what might be helpful to some readers, I never soak my dry beans. It’s a waste of time, actually makes the gas problem worse by increasing sugars, and you throw out a great many vitamins with the water, anyway. I also think they taste better unsoaked. Just cook them directly from dry, it takes an hour or so and they come out fantastic.

    The best black beans I’ve eaten are so simple to make:
    1 pound of dry beans
    1 diced onion
    2 tablespoons of bacon grease or olive oil
    2 sprigs epazote (or two bay leaves if you don’t have epazote)
    2-3 quarts water

    If you feel like working, fry the onion in the grease until golden before adding water, beans, and leaves. Otherwise just throw it all in a pot together (what I usually do) and bring it to a boil. Simmer it for an hour, then taste periodically until you like the texture. Stir in a teaspoon of salt, let sit for 10 minutes, and dig in!

  31. Indian January 28th, 2009

    My parents have never used canned and always use dried beans to cook their delicious ethic foods. of course that only applies when they are not in India.

  32. Matt February 8th, 2009

    You can further reduce your footprint by cooking your beans in a pressure cooker; you don’t even need to soak them! You will also preserve more nutrients than the traditional method.

  33. Frugal Fundamentals February 10th, 2009

    LOVE your blog! I gave the dried route a try and had some problems. Im not ready to give up yet though. You’ve convinced me… Its all about the Beanjamins :)

  34. Louise July 7th, 2009

    I am new to your site and read this post after clicking the link on the kite post. I too wanted to get away from the canned beans and started using dried. Something I found is that dried beans often lack the convenience of canned, which I have overcome by cooking the whole of a pound bag at once and freezing the cooked beans in ziplocs – I even use an old can as a measuring cup and freeze the cooked beans in similar quantities as canned seeing as how so many recipes call for a can worth of beans. To use simply add frozen earlier in the recipe or defrost first. I think I get about 8 to 10 cans worth from the pound packet of beans which costs the same as one can does!

  35. marci July 7th, 2009

    With all the stuff I cook ahead and freeze portions for later use, why didn’t it ever occur to me to cook and freeze beans? Great idea! So Thanks for that suggestion!!

    Had ham for the Independence Day picnic here, and are making a pot of beans tonight with the ham bone… pressure cooked after work. With a big batch of cornbread :)

  36. Kerry July 7th, 2009

    @Louise @marci I’ve never thought to freeze my beans. I think I need another freezer! :D

  37. marci July 7th, 2009

    Actually – you could just can them yourself also! haha now we’ve gone full circle – only on the frugal side!

    Of course there is the cost of the canning lid…vs the cost of a ziplock…or the cost of a reused and washed out ziplock… or the cost of washing out the tupperware… they all have a cost associated with them :)

  38. Shan July 10th, 2009

    Fox – Can you do a post on bean recipes? I love beans but never know what to do with them

  39. Becca August 22nd, 2009

    Hey! For anyone worried about beans being the “musical fruit”, just add a strip of Kombu seaweed (available in health food shops) to the bean water whilst cooking and it will combat gassy woes!! I love this trick as the kombu also imparts many beneficial minerals to the meal. Remove before eating as it’s a bit leathery.

  40. Debbie August 29th, 2009

    Hey, just a quick tip for you . . . I make hummus and I soak my garbanzo beans overnight in my rice cooker. In the morning I drain off the old water, add fresh water and simply press “cook” (the “white rice” setting). After about an hour it beeps to let me know they’re done. No stirring, watching or anything. It couldn’t be simpler! (But, I have to say, I am going to try the “dry” method of just cooking them up from the dried state, or maybe just after an hour or two, saving time and nutrients! Very helpful for those times when I forget to put the beans in to soak! Thanks!)

  41. Paula Irvin November 27th, 2009

    As a microbiologist in was worked in the food industry, I just wanted to pass this one.

    About preservatives in canned beans. They do not need chemical preservatives because they are cooked and the canning process is akin to sterilization. Also any food preservatives will be on the ingredient list. It is required by law. I sugest you google any chemical you don’t know on the ingredient list and that will usually tell you.

    However, I am becoming a fan of dried beans, and have appreciated the info on your site on how to soak them.

    Cheers,

    Paula Irvin

  42. Matt November 29th, 2009

    Your post has some mistakes/annoyances I’d like to bring up.

    3. You lack scientific data, therefore you cannot make any conclusions. Hunches don’t amount to anything.

    5. It might take less energy to make dried beans than canned ones, but how much energy do you think you waste when you boil those beans? I guarantee the industrial boiling/heating process is more efficient than your stove top.

    8. You keep talking about ‘bad chemicals’ but I don’t think you have any understanding about chemistry. How much more significant do you think the the BPA risk is to your health than, say, breathing in noxious fumes present in the regular atmosphere?

  43. ginger December 7th, 2009

    to make cooking beans energy- and cost-free,use a solar oven. ok, it’s not a good time to try this right now in the northern hemisphere, but perfect in Australia[summer here]. to make a cheap solar oven, look for plans on the net. i found 2 big cardboard boxes, one a bit bigger than the other. i screwed up old newspaper and stuffed between the 2 boxes as insulation [on the bottom too]. i lined the inner box with alum foil. then rested a cast iron dutch oven on wooden slats or sticks laid over the foil. prop a shiny silver windscreen sunvisor around the box on 3 sides to reflect the sun onto the iron pot. cover the top of the box with a piece of glass [i slide a window out of the track and just rest it on top. tilt the box a little bit towards due south [northern hemisphere] or due north[southern hemisphere] using bricks to get the angle right. put soaked beans, vegies and water in the pot in the morning, cover pot with iron lid, cover box with window glass, and leave it all day. make sure the spot is shade-free all day. unless you live in a hot desert,it works best with smaller quicker-cooking legumes. a solar oven makes great pizzas too. bon appétit!

  44. Caleb January 24th, 2010

    Just stopping by on some impromptu internet orienteering and I thought I’d say that I really enjoyed this article, you have a very witty and cheerful way of writing that brought a smile to my dile. Informative too. Thanks.

  45. Lillie February 11th, 2010

    I have continued to carry out my grandmother’s tradition of soaking my beans before cooking them. I never knew why other than it speeded up the cooking process. It’s good to know all of the other benefits that beans have to offer. I love them and there is nothing better on a cold day.

  46. sewingirl March 27th, 2010

    A couple of thoughts from a bean grower… We always have dry beans on hand, straight from the field! I don’t soak any more, just rinse and cook in the slowcooker! Then I add soup or chili ingredients, or freeze in smaller packages for later. The home ec teacher at my school had never heard of soaking beans, her family just started them out dry, took a lot longer as I recall. I am not a fan of the five or six bean soup mixes, it always seems to me that the smaller beans are mush, before the larger ones are done cooking.

  47. Joan July 4th, 2010

    I soaked my northern beans yesterday & heated up the water, then added baking soda to de-gas them. They soaked all day & over night. This morning when I removed the lid, they had a foul odor. I drained them….I hope my guests don’t get sick tonight. They are now ina crock pot. Any suggestions?

  48. Kristy John August 6th, 2010

    Thank you for telling me what I never want to become. How depressing, a life spent squabbling over bean prices and entering it into a spreadsheet. Thank god I know I could be doing worse.

  49. Gavin October 2nd, 2010

    The ‘salt is bad’ myth is a popular pet peeve of mine. Salt is only problematic for those with preexisting heart conditions. For the rest of us, salt is an essential part of life. If you exercise regularly and have good hydration habits, you’ll be sweating out salt to the point where you’ll be needing to add it to your diet. Not to get into a rant on electrolytes, but that’s what salt is.

    Should your daily intake be a metric ton of salt? Of course not. Like almost all things in life, moderation is key. There are plenty of reasons to avoid heavily processed foods, other than salt.

    On a side note, sometimes people ask why salt is added as a preservative. Salt can add to flavor, but used as a preservative, it creates an environment in which most pathogenic or food-spoiling bacteria cannot grow. Because these bacteria often need a neutral or specific pH or specific osmotic conditions (amount of salute vs solvent, IE salt in water), salt or things such as citric acid are used to create an inhospitable environment to prevent or inhibit growth. Preservatives aren’t all bad.

    “Salt is bad for you. It’s a sad truth, people. Salt is terrible for your arteries and body in general. Canned beans can be loaded with sodium. Sure, you can buy canned cooked beans with low or no sodium, but why bother when dry bulk beans are salt free?”

  50. Jerkette October 30th, 2010

    To Kristy John:

    How lame a life spent commenting on how lame are websites about entering bean prices on a spreadsheet.

  51. Yvonne Treece February 19th, 2011

    Just though I’d drop in with a delicious bean recipe….take a batch of white beans (especially the larger italian varieties), cook and drain. Saute a couple (or more) cloves of garlic, minced. Add the beans to the garlic oil. Add fresh chopped tomato, fresh chopped basil, fresh chopped parsley to taste. Grate or shred aged parm-reggiano cheese and sprinkle over all. Finish with fresh squeezed lemon juice. A sprinkle of sea salt and cracked pepper and you have a fabulous main dish. The flavors are so wonderful. Eat it with a tossed salad and fruit for dessert and you have the perfect meal.

  52. Kerry February 19th, 2011

    @Yvonne Sounds amazing. Thank you. Indeed, the perfect meal. ;)

  53. Doober February 26th, 2011

    I just got done protesting for teachers. And I’m eating beans! Dried beans give me the strength it takes to protest for larger government checks that keep me on the dole so I don’t have to work for anything better!!

    In the future I hope the government mandates we eat only beans and dark lettuce. That would free us.

  54. Rich S. April 4th, 2011

    I’ve found that dried beans can be frozen after cooking. So I soak and cook a bunch then thaw them as needed. They come out great.

  55. Zuzu April 20th, 2011

    4. Tastier
    Too right! Because I throw in a little salt, a few garlic cloves (don’t even peel, I’m that lazy), and a few bay leaves every time. Mmmmm! We are Muslim, so we don’t use ham in our bean soup — just curry spices, herbs, paprika, onion, more garlic, cayenne, etc. etc. Mmmmm! Beans go in my salad and help me not eat so much cheese. My little buddies.

    If I suspect that I might be too busy/lazy in the next day or two to get to the cooking (no slow cooker here at couch-surfing HQ), I soak in a recycled yogurt carton in the fridge. No nasty smell even after two days.

  56. TheBudgeteer April 28th, 2011

    I’ve heard they are good for the heart :)

  57. Linda May 28th, 2011

    Several people mentioned the song “Beans Beans the Magical Fruit” – the way I learned it is “Beans Beans the Musical Fruit.” Works way better with “toot.” Maybe you’re thinking of the magic beans from Jack and the Beanstalk? But hey, no matter how you sing it, beans are great! I’ve wondered lately about cooking big batches and freezing them in small ones, glad to hear it works!

  58. Stevie November 2nd, 2011

    Hey sweety, like others already mentioned, you need salt. In fact, you’ll die without it. Nothing would get in and out of most of your cells. However, the term “salt” is totally misleading. There are very many different salts. Two are significant: the one you refer to as more or less evil ;) and the stuff they call “Nosalt” at the store. You need both. So, every time you take in any table salt, it’s probably good to balance it with some of the other stuff. I use a mix of potassium and sodium chlorides, about 2/1 in favour of the KCL. My blood pressure(most often increased through sodium intake) remains lower than most people, and I think my diet plays a large part.

  59. christina April 13th, 2012

    Love your dedication to dried legumes! With minimal foresight, you’re able to save $$ and make soulful meals without added salt/preservatives, etc. Beautiful!

    Christina
    foodiewithalife.blogspot.com

  60. Al April 20th, 2012

    You’re incorrect about the salt. Salt is essential. Among other things, salt helps maintain the fluid in our blood cells and is used to transmit information in our nerves and muscles. It is also used in the uptake of certain nutrients from our small intestines. The body cannot make salt and so we are reliant on food to ensure that we get the required intake. Please do your homework before boldly making false and misleading statements.

  61. Jane June 9th, 2012

    I have found that if I eat a lowfat, high fiber, vegetarian diet supplemented by small amounts of lean fish, meat and dairy and no gluten, I can eat beans multiple times in the day without having smelly gas and without having so much gas that it is a problem. Many people who have problems with beans may have a gluten intolerance that damaged their intestines, making it hard to digest dairy, fats, and protein and difficult to handle fiber. Also, the smell may be coming from the things you add to beans, such as onions, garlic, bacon grease, and peppers. Just food for thought.

  62. Dismuke June 19th, 2012

    I wouldn’t advise cooking beans in a slow cooker. Some beans – most notably kidney beans – are actually toxic when they are raw. Those toxins are destroyed by the heat they are exposed to during normal cooking procedures. But since slow cookers do not get very hot, it is not enough to destroy those toxins.

    My strong suggestion if you consume dried beans with any regularity at all is to invest in a pressure cooker. It will cook virtually any bean (other than soy beans) in 20 minutes or less. Dried black-eyed peas do not even require soaking with a pressure cooker and are done after cooking for only 10 minutes.

  63. Karen September 26th, 2012

    it is actually healthier if you ‘ferment’ the beans while soaking them, this removes the phytic acid that not only makes them harder to digest but it actually removed essential minerals from your body (Zinc, magnesium, iron etc). There is a lot of good research on this, easier to find if you good it. The easy method is either using lemon or I used organic apple cider vinegar, 1 tbsp per cup of beans and then soak the same 12-24 hrs, rinse and cook

  64. Salva P June 12th, 2013

    Put your beans in glass bottles, add spring water, place in refrigerator for 2 days and reduce cooking time tenfold. Try it with Chick Peas and you’ll find out that in just minutes your peas will be ready to eat. Use low heat. You also eliminate problems with fermentation and having to drain and rinse and adding fresh water again

  65. James July 15th, 2013

    I just want to thank Gavin for saying what I wanted to say. Salt is not bad for you! Your body’s salt-to-water ratio is among the most rigidly controlled functions of the human body. There was just a front-page story in the New York Times about how a lot of the studies that our “salt is bad” idea comes from were done in the 1970s and looked at people who ate high amounts of red meat and high-fat foods — and so salt became tarred from the same brush. But there’s little reason for that.

    As Gavin pointed out, there are reasons to avoid heavily processed food. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feel free to salt your food to whatever degree you like!

    People say, well, what does it matter? Isn’t it better to be on the safe side?

    No, in this case it is not. People need to like what they are eating to eat it and want to eat it again, and if delicious salt makes them choose vegetables or a baked potato over french fries, then salt is an overlooked hero, not a maybe-guilty suspect.

  66. HJ August 23rd, 2013

    Replying to a comment somebody made that cooking on stove top is energy wasteful.

    Pressure cooking takes little energy when done properly. Most efficient way of cooking short of solar oven. Most of energy used is getting cooker and its contents to pressure. Then what most people fail to realize is that you need to turn heat way down, I mean way down, just barely on! Takes very little added heat to maintain pressure in the cooker for as long as needed.

    For those cookers with jiggler type pressure regulator, you dont want the thing doing a St. Vitus Dance and hissing and steaming all over. You want it just giving a very sleepy nod three or four times a minute and barely making any noise. More than that and you are too hot. Now if you have a gauge too, you can see if its correct pressure when its doing this.

    I think also maybe many people have electric stoves and I can imagine that being a problem when using a pressure cooker. these are much harder to regulate temperature than good old gas flame. And unlike gas, electric takes significant time lag to go from high temp to low. Although the pressure cooker once at pressure, needs to go to low immediately, just enough heat to maintain the pressure. Maybe one could use two burners, set one to high and one to low, then physically move the pressure cooker to the low heat burner when pressure is reached and turn off the high temp burner….

  67. HJ August 23rd, 2013

    Oh forgot to mention, you really dont need to soak beans if you use a pressure cooker. Once pressure is up and maintained, it only takes around 15 to 20 minutes even with unsoaked dry beans. You do of course need water in the cooker. Probably like 3 cups water to 1 cup beans.

  68. Yevon January 2nd, 2014

    I have Celiac and when I made pinto beans had a horrible reaction. I was told great northern are gluten free. I pray they are since I love a big pot of beans and cornbread on these winter days. Does anyone know if there is a certain brand that is best? And yes I soak or my mom use to cook with a couple pinches of soda for 20 min and then rinsed 3x. Then added seasonings (ham, or bacon) and water. Cooked all day. Oh how I want a big pot today! Praying the ones I have will be gluten free!

  69. Rudy February 19th, 2014

    Use pressure cooker to for much faster cook time than slow cooker and it saves your electric cost if you use eg. cuisinart electric pressure cooker. A must have when I cook beans, so tender and delicous

  70. John Pachivas February 27th, 2014

    @ Kristy John,

    by your name i really cant figure out how to address you oh well,

    in your case , …”one bad bean don’t spoil the whole bunch girl”

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