Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Utilizing The Pantry-Dried Beans
One of my goals for 2016 is to be more budget minded. The grocery bill was the first thing I started looking at. I knew that if I quit slacking and planned a menu and utilized some of the basic staples we have stored in the pantry, I could cut back on what I was spending each week at the store.
Dried beans are one of the basic staples we keep on hand in our pantry. Most varieties are low cost and can help stretch the grocery budget.
We purchase most of our beans in bulk, 25# at a time. When purchased in 25 # bags, we transfer the beans to 5 gallon buckets with oxygen absorber packets. We have also purchased them in 10# cans or stored smaller quantities in mylar bags with the oxygen absorber packets.
Some of the more expensive beans, or beans that we use less frequently, are stored in glass jars in the pantry.
One of the drawbacks with using dried beans is the cooking time. It is much easier to open a can of black beans, that are ready to use than it is to use those dried black beans we have stored in a can.
Pressure Canning dried beans is one option. I have canned dried beans, and it is handy to be able to pull them off the shelf ready to use.
Another option is using a pressure cooker.
If neither of those are an option you can cook the beans the traditional way and freeze.
I found this great resource- Cooking with Food Storage-Dry Beans
It includes 13 pages of information on beans, including cooking & canning dried beans and several recipes.
This weekend, I made a menu, the first one in a long time. I spent about 30 percent less at the grocery store. Spending less means cooking more from scratch, and spending more time in the kitchen. I decided to spend some of my time Saturday, making my own ready made convenience foods.
I started with dried beans-Pinto, Black, and Chickpeas. Using the electric pressure cooker, I was able to cook the beans while, doing other things (knitting).
**I used dried beans, if you soak the beans ahead of time, it would reduce the cooking times.
For pressure cooking beans they recommend 3 cups water to 1 cup dried beans.
(I did 3 cups beans to 8 cups water, a little less water than recommended)
I added some spices (black pepper, cumin, chili powder, dried onion, garlic powder)
Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes. (Natural Pressure Release)
(Recommended is 3 cups water to 1 cup dried beans.)
I used 3 cups dried beans
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
2 Tablespoons bacon grease (had on hand)
2 Tablespoons freeze dried green peppers
2 Tablespoons dried onion
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Cooked on high pressure for 45 minutes.
(Natural Pressure Release)
*(This recipe was adapted from Ranch Style Beans)
I ended up with a lot of beans!
After cooling the beans to room temperature I put the beans in quart size freezer bags, labeled them, and placed a bag of each in the refrigerator, and the rest in the freezer for later use.
Beans can be stored for up to 3 months in the freezer, 6 months in a deep freeze.
Ready to be added to recipes for lunches and dinners!