Beans are good for you and good for your wallet. Beans are one of the most economical sources of protein around. They are high in fiber, protein, vitamin B and iron.
My family loves beans. I think black beans are our favorite, but when it comes to making a big pot of chili, we love kidney beans. When I am planning my meals, I try to fit in a meal where beans shine at least once every couple of weeks. We seem to eat more beans in cooler weather, they just seem more comforting!
I am sure you are wondering what is better – canned or dry? I want to share a few observations on this and let you make decide what is best for your family and your budget.
Beans – canned
- If you are concerned about time, you might want to consider buying canned. Watching sales and using coupons can help you stock up on some really good prices. I always keep a few cans of black beans and kidney beans in the house at all times. They are a great “go to” item when you forgot to plan your menu!
- The amount of salt in a can of beans can be an issue for those with dietary restrictions. When you use canned beans, make sure you rinse them off to get rid of some of the salt.
- Canned beans are my choice when adding them to a salad or rice. They seem to be lighter and a bit sweeter.
- When buying canned beans, make sure the can is not dented and look at the expiration date.
Beans – dry
- If you have time, but money is a bigger concern for you, then dry beans are what you want to grab at the grocery store! Again, using coupons and watching sales will help you save more. 1 cup of dried beans will become about 3 cups of cooked beans.
- After some research, I found that you really don’t want to keep your dried beans around much longer than 1 year. They can begin to get soft or rancid. Purchase dry beans in a clear package or bulk. You want to see what you are buying. Store in an air tight container away from the heat.
- If taste is a big concern to you, I would go with dried beans. The reason I say this is that you have better control of the amount of salt and other spices that go in them. With canned beans, you will have to contend with a high salt content.
I am lazy when it comes to cooking dry beans. I don’t presoak! I pick out any broken or funny looking beans from the package (watch out for any little rocks!) and then I toss them in my slow cooker. I add water until they are covered by about 1 inch of water, add salt, pepper and many times an onion. I turn the slow cooker on high and let it do it’s thing. I check on them after a few hours and add more water as needed. The amount of water depends on what I am cooking them for!
Beans – Soaking
- Soaking beans shortens the cooking time because the beans have been partially rehydrated.
- Keeps them whole. This might be important depending on what type of recipe you will use them in.
- Keeps more nutrients in the beans (because they boil for less time).
- Beans require 4 – 8 hours to soak.
No matter if you use canned or dry beans, beans are good for you and good for your wallet. They are economical, great tasting and can be used in many recipes.
What is your favorite way to use beans? Let a comment below and let me know how you like to use beans.