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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bean Series: Dry Bean Logistics (Guest Post)

This is the third article of a 4-week bean series. Check out the entire bean series: Week 1, Week 2, Week 4.

Dry beans are a lifestyle. You can't have them for dinner if you plan your menu an hour before the event. You have to plan ahead a day or two. Here are some tips that help me incorporate them into my menu.

· Plan a menu. Mark the meals you know you'll have to soak beans for, to help you remember ahead of time.

· Make your own convenience food. Cook up some dry beans and freeze them in 1 1/2 cup portions. Then you can pull out a "can" of beans at short notice.

· Cook all your week's beans at once. Label and refrigerate until they are needed.

· Cook different sorts of beans together. If you have a recipe that calls for three different types of beans, soak and cook them together. The smaller beans may get a little mushy and the colors may blend, but if you don't care about that, it does save a lot of time.

· Cook double the beans you need. Freeze half of them for the next time you make that recipe. Last week I cooked a double batch of beans for my favorite chili and froze half of them. The next time I want to make chili, all I have to do is thaw the beans.

Any other tips? What keeps you from using dry beans? What helps you?
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Stay tuned next week for information on complete and incomplete proteins.
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Mrs. Mordecai is a twenty-something homemaker and mother. She chronicles her homekeeping adventures at Be It Ever So Humble.

10 comments:

Candace said...

Thanks for the bean tips! I lived at high altitudes for several years (5,000 ft in UT) and (7,000 Ft in AZ). Cooking dry beans - well they never cooked. Even after days on the burner. :( So I have resorted to pressure canning all my dry beans. My jars are ready to use and they are so soft and yummy. I am back to sea level now and successfully did the soaking of the beans a couple weeks ago. So - for the most part - I can mine then use them. Thanks for the post.

Anonymous said...

I cook a whole bag at once and freeze in 2-cup portions to use later in place of a "can" of beans. I know 2c. is a little more than what is in the can, but I like the generous portions.

Jeannetta said...

Great ideas, and since I like to have my storage in various "genres" so to speak, I also love the canning comment by a poster.
Wondering though about your chili recipe? Mine is not very tasty, and I'm hoping you'll share :)
Thanks for the great info.

Shreela said...

I tried Biggie's hamburger trick, and enjoyed it so much that I made a full batch of rice in the rice cooker, and portioned out the rice into 18 individual servings inside of 2 ziplock baggies:
http://lunchinabox.net/2008/04/11/speed-tip-make-individual-portions-in-freezer-bags/

Now I'm ready to try it with beans, once I get over my fear of burning beans in the pressure cooker like last time (I hadn't used the pressure cooker in a while, and probably should have restudied).

Maybe I could make a different bean "sauce" for each ziplock once I figure out how much goes into each bag, so I can figure out the amounts for the sauce ingredients.

I love only cooking rice once in a while, but having it handy anytime I want it, so I'm sure once I do it with beans, I'll use them more.

Pistolmom said...

Found your site via Mormon Mommys. I love the Emergency Car Kit idea; I just finished getting my 72 hr kits updated. The Car will be next!

www.mytitleofliberty.blogspot.com

Look at the wonderful video on the March 18th post.

dogear6 said...

One tip I have is to not soak the beans overnight when the weather is warm outside. They have a tendency to ferment by the time you get around to cooking them. Instead use the quick cook - bring to boil, boil 1 minute, let soak for an hour. Drain, change water, then cook until done (30 - 60 minutes depending on the type of bean and their age).

Mrs. Mordecai said...

Jeannetta, my favorite vegetarian chili recipe comes from America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. My favorite meaty chili recipe is here:
http://pleasantviewschoolhouse.blogspot.com/2005/09/schoolhouse-chili.html

Enjoy!

Jodi said...

I like the tip about freezing cooked beans, but doesn't it defeat the purpose? Doesn't it take as long to thaw out the frozen beans as it would to soak or low boil them? Please do not think I'm trying to be insulting, because I really don't see how it would be quicker. I have been using dried beans for years, and for the most part, have always gone the soaking route. You just put them on before you go to bed, and they are ready when you want to cook them. <><

Hannah said...

Hi Jodi-

Thanks for your comment. I have personally never frozen my beans before, but my mom does regularly. She thaws them in the microwave so that they are ready in a matter of minutes.

I personally just cook my dry beans and keep them in the fridge, and use them throughout the week in various recipes. Cheap, easy, and good! :)

Hannah

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