Friday, January 15, 2010

Frugal Food Fridays: Beans for even Cheaper

I thought we'd do beans again.  Beans and rice are a classic food to eat when you're poor because they're healthy and cheap.  The thing is a lot of my favorite bean recipes call for canned beans...which are cheaper per pound than meat, but not nearly as cheap as dry beans.  (A can of beans costs 3-4 times as much as a whole pound of dry beans.)  So why do we all buy and cook with canned beans?  Because they're convenient!  Who wants to cook bean for several hours on the stove every time you need them in a recipe.  Not me!

I'm not sure why it took me so long to think of this, but several months ago, we started making our own "canned" beans and you don't need a canner or anything. 

Here's what you do...
  1. Save a regular 14-16oz metal can after you've consumed the contents.  (While you're at it save the label for fun idea for making kids play food, I'll have up in a week or so on my craft blog.)
  2. Cook 1-2 or more lbs of beans.  You can do this in a crock pot like we talked about last week (But you won't want to cook them quite as long.  We want them cooked not mushy this time.) or you can simmer them on the stove.  Any package of beans will have cooking directions printed on the bag.
  3. Once they're cooked.  Use a slotted spoon to fill up your saved can a little below the top.
  4. Dump those "measured" beans in a sandwich sized ziploc.
  5. Repeat until you've got a bunch of sandwich sized ziplocs filled with healthy, cheap beans.
  6. Pop them in the freezer.  (I usually put all the bags in a gallon size ziploc for extra freezer burn protection and to keep the freezer more organized.
Now you need to make sure to do this for next week when we'll have an awesome and tasty recipe for super yummy vegetarian enchiladas and you can use your home "canned" beans.  (The particular recipe calls for 1 can of black beans and one can of white beans...if you want to get yourself prepared.)


Kathy Haynie said...

Great idea, Polly! I really do need to use some of the beans I have in food storage, so they can be rotated.

Dorothy said...

I do this all the time, Polly. Convenience is a great reason, but also the beans I cook myself aren't loaded with salt and they just taste better! I've been reading a little about the new pressure cookers on the market and they can do pre-soaked beans in about 15 minutes. I'm considerig buying one (depending on how much they cost) even though it's one more item in my kitchen...but goodness, the time they save might be worth it!

Katie said...

This is a great idea Polly!

Marae Lindsey said...

Yes, good idea. I'm always just guessing how much a "can" I won't throw my recipes out of proportion!

And, home cooked beans are so much better. I hate dealing with the disgusting gel/foam business at the bottom of the can.

Suzanna said...

Such a great idea!! I like to throw black beans in salad, tacos, or just eat them in a tortilla all of the time- but I end up with half opened cans ( It's just me when I cook). I have started freezing small portions of baked ham, onions, green pepper and other things to throw in omelets, but I didn't think to do that with beans! Thanks!

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