Beans, Beans, the Magical…..

They’re not a fruit. Can we all agree that whoever started that song was completely left-field?

But they certainly are magical. Just a half cup cooked beans provides 8 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein according to the United States Department of Agriculture. And just like the color black, they go with nearly everything. In a later post, I will show you how to make delicious black bean brownies (my favorite!!), just to prove how versatile and delightful they are.

More often than not, the easiest way to get them into dinner is by opening a store-bought can and dumping it all into the pan. Of course, I’m not throwing shade on you non-frugal folks out there….okay, maybe a little. But its very well-meant, I promise!

Excepting a very brief raw-diet phase, I’ve never been hugely into dehydrating. But when I started running out of storage options for my millions of pints of beans, I had to get creative. Thus we have the dehydrated bean!

In short, here is the equation for dry to wet to dehydrated.

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6 cups dry = 7 pints wet-canned = 4 cups dehydrated

Still not convinced? Okay, here’s how I figure it works in the long run. You take 6 cups of dry beans which yields either 7 pints of canned beans or 4 cups dehydrated beans. I don’t know about you, but 4 cups dry-weight is a heck of a lot easier to store than 7 pints of water weight!

But, whether you like wet or dehydrated, I’ll show you how I do it both ways.

Canning Beans

You’ll need:

  • Slow Cooker
  • Pressure cooker
  • Pint or quart jars with lids and rings
  • 6 cups dry beans, sorted and rinsed
  • water to cover beans by 2-3″
  • salt (1/2 tsp per pint or 1 tsp per quart)
  1. Toss those rinsed beans in the pot and cover with water. Cook on high 3 hours, then low overnight (about 8 hours) stirring once or twice to check how they’re plumping up.
  2. The next day, get your canning pot full of boiling water and sterilize those jars! Get a few quarts hot in your pressure cooker too, it’ll save ya time.
  3. I like to spoon my beans into the jars leaving 1 1/2″ headspace (with 1/2 tsp salt) and then come back around with ladles of the “bean juice” to take it up to 1″ headspace (I’ve used plain water before instead of bean juice and it greatly changes the flavor for the worst–don’t do it!). No matter how cooked you think your beans are at this point, they’re still going to absorb more water while being pressure cooked.
  4. Wipe the rims, then lid ’em up and load your cooker. With the lid on, let steam escape for a full 15 minutes before adding the weight (according to your altitude of course). For me, I cooked my pints for 75 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure.WP_20160711_13_27_59_Pro
  5. Be sure to let everything cool before taking the weight off, before opening the pot and always let your jars come to room temperature before removing the bands and testing the seals. With any luck, they will have all sealed and you can safely store these in a cool, dark area for a year (if they last that long).

Now, if you want to be really cool like me, you can dehydrate your beans instead…

Dehydrating Beans

You’ll need:

  • Slow cooker
  • Dehydrator
  • Parchment sheets or jelly sheets provided by your dehydrator manufacturer
  • 6 cups dry beans, sorted and rinsed
  • Pint or quart jars with lids and rings
  • Blender or food processor (a bean masher works well, too)
  1. Toss those rinsed beans in the pot and cover with water. Cook on high 3 hours, then low overnight (about 8 hours) stirring once or twice to check how they’re plumping up.
  2. The next day, using a few ladle scoops at a time, puree the beans adding bean juice very slowly to make a thick pancake-batter consistency.
  3. With your dehydrator trays lined with parchment or fancy special liners, spoon out about 3/4-1 cup of bean paste and spread evenly.
  4. I have a Nesco dehydrator which told me to set the temp for 145*, and I let it go about 24 hours, rotating the trays and flipping some of the thicker chunks every few hours.
  5. Once everything feels really brittle and you’re confident the bean paste is dry, take it all out into a big bowl and let it cool. I crunched it up a bit before tossing the lot into the blender again. This final step will help to ensure even water absorption so your beans aren’t lumpy when you re-hydrate them.
  6. Place your bean crumbles into a clean quart (or pint) jar and refrigerate.

From here you could use a food-saver jar attachment with those neat oxygen absorbers, but it wouldn’t make sense for me because we go through beans so fast I’d never be able to dehydrate them quick enough to keep them on the shelf! But if you do want to preserve them like that, you’d be best off using jelly jars or pint jars (jelly jars make the perfect portion for a meal for two).

To re-hydrate your beans, use a two-to-one portion of water to beans. I find that using boiling water works best, letting the mixture sit for 5 minutes then microwaving for two minutes.WP_20160713_13_27_21_Pro

So far, this is the best method for my family. This quart jar in the picture didn’t even last two weeks!! Yes, it is an extra step and that extra step does use more electricity, but these beans sure do taste better than store-bought and you can bet they’re cheaper too.

Have you dehydrated beans? How did they turn out?

Love,

Betty XOXOXOXOXOXOXO

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