dried beans

This is a tough one. Why? Because it’s hard to argue with the convenience of canned beans. When it’s late and you’re tired, opening a can of beans – whether they be black (spiced too!), garbanzo, pinto, kidney or a melange – heating them up and adding some fixing’s makes for some seriously fast and easy dinner making… and pretty tasty, too.

We have a notion. And that is simply that soaking beans is not so simple, even tedious some might say. But really, all you must do is place your beans in a bowl and add water. They can soak overnight. Or you can add them in the morning and they’ll be ready by dinner time. It can’t take more than 30 seconds to soak ‘em. Of course, then you must cook them which takes 60-90 minutes, and therein lies a bit more of a time committment. And many relegate to the can.  

But, that can of beans carries a price. What it carries in convenience it lacks elsewhere. Here are five reasons we advocate for the humble dry bean. We hope you’ll be convinced to take on the easy task of soaking; all it really takes is a bit of foresight. 

1. Canned beans carry BPA (bisphenol A): This controversial chemical is used in the plastic lining of canned products and has been linked to some seriously harmful health problems. Apparently, it mimics estrogen and thus could induce hormonal responses, and it It has also been linked to heart disease, diabetes and liver problems, among others. 

2. You get WAY more bean for your buck: When you purchase your beans in their dried form, you’ll find they are far cheaper. You get significantly more beans by forgoing the canned variety. And when you soak them, they expand by two or three times, giving you an even larger volume of beans to feed your family. There’s NO contest here. 

3. You can taste the difference: You can’t argue this one. Beans that you have dried and cooked yourself will carry a decidedly delicious taste and texture that you simply cannot get out of a can. In fact, sometimes canned beans can be quite mushy. And also, the love that goes into homecooked beans is far superious to the… well, soidum and preservatives that go into the canned ones. 

4. Create less waste: If you purchase dried beans from the bulk section of your grocery store, be sure to bring your own resuable container or bag. Dried beans require less energy expended in production, less energy expended in recycling, and less material usage for the packaging.

5. You get more variety and control: You’re limited in the types of beans that come in a can; bean there, done that (had to do it)! Have you ever seen a can of mung beans? Likely not, but they can make a lovely addition to your bean repertoire, among many other varieties that can only be found dried. Also, you get to choose your mode of cooking with dried beans: Crockpot, pressure cooker, boil, bake… you decide. 

image: llsimon53