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August 26, 2011

Spilling the Beans

Sorry, this isn't the confessional post that that title would suggest.

Having been vegetarians for so long, our family has always eaten a lot of beans. We do eat meat these days, but beans are still a delicious, protein packed staple in our house.

While canned beans are a quick and easy way to incorporate legumes into your diet, you end up paying dearly for that convenience (upwards of $3 a can if you buy organic). I've also found that I often end up using a partial can, leaving the rest to dry out and get lost in the depths of my fridge. Canned beans are an all around money waster.

Black  beans after a nice, long soak.

A better idea is to buy a big bag of dried beans and cook them yourself (and if you have a pressure cooker, this is a much faster process). Lately I've been soaking and cooking large batches of black beans and chick peas at the same time (to save myself some time). These are the two kinds of beans that I use most often, but it works with any kind of dried bean.


Once they're cooked and cooled, I spread them out on a baking sheet like I do with my berries, freeze them until solid, and then I scoop them into freezer bags for safe keeping.


When I need a handful of black beans to sprinkle on top of nachos, or chick peas for my tabouli salad, I just take what I need, thaw them out (a microwave does this handily), and Bob's your uncle. It's a cheap and convenient solution, and the texture of the beans doesn't seem to suffer from being frozen. It's win/win.

Boy does it feel good to get that off my chest!

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