I will not bore you with all the great reasons you need beans in your food storage, except that they are a complete protein when combined with a carbohydrate like rice which your body needs. I will bore you, however, with storing and cooking ideas. I like to have options in my food storage such as, dried, canned, etc., because if I need to conserve water or fuel I can open a can, heat it and be done with it.
This is what I have in my storage:
This is the traditional dry bean sealed in #10 cans. This is probably what I have most of. The upside is their longevity in storage, the downside is how much water, time and fuel it will take to cook the beans that have been stored a long time. It is important that beans be cooked completely to avoid poisoning from the natural insecticide within the bean that needs to be broken down. Symptoms can be diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, gas and abdominal pain-not the kind of info you were expecting? Don’t let that scare you away from storing dry beans, just be aware of the resources needed to cook them properly.
A great way to shorten cooking time is by using a pressure cooker. What took 10 hours in a dutch oven in the oven took 35 minutes in a pressure cooker. I’m not great with math, but this is a huge energy saver. You don’t have to soak the beans before cooking using this method found at happymoneysaver.com (she has pics and everything). I’ll include directions at the bottom. To soften up those skins soak the beans in salty water for a couple of hours, rinse then cook.
Cooked Canned Beans
I love to stock up on different varieties of beans at a case lot sale. I am more often than not a 5:00 pm “what shall I make for dinner” gal. I can make chili, soups, etc. in 30 minutes. In the event of an emergency these are a quick and nutritious option, although bland without seasonings. The shelf life of commercially canned beans is around 3 years.
Home Canned Beans
A great way to rotate your older beans in a useful way is to can them at home. It requires time and a pressure canner. A good tutorial on canning dry beans at home is found here if you want to try it. You should probably use them within 2 years.
Quick Cook Beans
I think this is the best thing ever! These beans are fully cooked then freeze-dried and will reconstitute in a a soup or stew in 15 minutes. Don’t over cook them, though. I put some in a crock pot soup early on and couldn’t find them later, I think they disintegrated. Honeyville Grain offers them in red or black, but I found pinto beans at other online stores. I have used these in “just add water” meals like taco soup and hamburger stew, find the recipes for those here.
You can make your own “quick cook” beans by cooking the beans and then drying them in a food dehydrator. This is a little time consuming and it stinks up the house a bit, too. I store them in quart jars with an oxygen absorber packet for longer term storage or without an oxygen absorber in my pantry for short term usage.
Beans-No Soak Method
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Sort and rinse 1 lb of beans then put them into a dutch oven. Pour in enough water so it is 1 1/2 inches above the beans and add 1/2 Tbs salt. Bring to a boil on the stove, put the lid on and place pot in the oven. Cook for 75 minutes. You may need to add more water during the cooking time.