Cooking with dry beans

Do you want to save money this year while also helping your local economy?  If you answered yes to that question ( who wouldn't? ), consider cooking with dry beans the next time you go to the grocery store.

Cooking with dry beans instead of the canned version will not only help your wallet and the local farmer but they are actually better for you.  Recent reports have shown that canned food can be laced with BPA.  A chemical that you definitely want to keep away from your family.

If you are not familiar with cooking with dry beans, they are very simple to use.  The only drawback of cooking with them is that they take a little longer to cook plus you have to soak them overnight.  Two things that I would gladly sacrifice for the health of my family, wallet and local economy.

How does cooking with dry beans help the local economy?  This is up to you but when I go to my local grocery store I make sure that I buy beans that were grown in Michigan.  Sometimes they cost a couple cents more but the extra money is worth it to me.

Nothing wrong with supporting Michigan!

How does cooking with dry beans help your pocketbook?  A pound of dry beans can be purchased for the same price as a can of beans but when the dry beans are soaked you get two to three times more (depending on the variety) beans than if you would have opened a can.

How to cook with dry beans

Step one is to sort the beans.  When sorting the beans, you are looking for any cracked beans or gravel that may have been missed by the farming process.  This step isn't as complicated as it use to be thanks to the advances in farming technology but should always be done to ensure the best quality ingredients.  

Once the beans are sorted, you need to rinse the beans and then soak them for at least 24 hours.  When doing this, make sure to use a bowl big enough to account for the fact that the beans will swell to at least twice their dried size while in the water.  All the beans should be covered in water or you will have some hard beans on the top.  

Beans soaking

Once the beans have soaked, they are ready to use.  Remember, when cooking with dried beans, the longer they cook the softer they will get.  I usually cook my beans for at least 3 hours but to each their own.  A tip to speed up the process is to invest in a pressure cooker.  The beans are usually cooked to perfection in about an hour when using one.

I paid less than a dollar for all those beans!

As you can see, cooking with dry beans is not only very simple but is also the right thing to do for your local economy and family.  Try cooking with them the next time you make bean soup or venison chili.  You will be glad you did!

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