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.
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:
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?
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.
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?