Freezer Cooking – All About Beans
The last two weeks, I’ve been sharing about freezer staples that have helped me cut cost and make cooking dinner easier. If you missed the last two weeks of freezer cooking check them out here and here. Today, I want to share with you about cooking beans and how to freeze them.
What are some recipes that you use beans in? Tacos, enchiladas, burritos and salads are a few around our house. The average price per can of beans is around 1 dollar per can. If you buy organic you could spend up to $1.50 or more. This one can gives you about one to two meals, depending on your family size. The time and effort into cooking beans and storing them in the freezer might sound like a daunting task, but it will realistically take you fifteen minutes to prep and store everything. The cooking takes time, but if you have a slow cooker you are not tending to anything for at least 4 hours.
Lets get started!
What you need:
2 pounds of beans (black, pinto, or your choice)
8 – 16 oz freezable containers or freezer bags
1 to 3 tsp Salt (optional)
Slow cooker or large pot
STEP 1 – Place desired amount of beans into bowl or pot, add water to the pot or bowl covering the beans, and let them soak over night.
STEP 2 – In the morning, get out your slower cooker. Rinse the beans that have been soaking all night. Then add them to the slower cooker. Fill the slow cooker with water. Make sure their is good 2 to 3 inches of water covering the beans. Turn slow cooker on Low heat or 8 hour setting. You wont be cooking them for 8 hours, but you need to put them on this setting that way the heat isn’t to high. After 4 hours check the beans and see if they are soft. If they are not, continue cooking for another hour and then recheck. I added 1 tsp of salt to 2 pounds of beans at this point. You have to option to put salt in or not.
STEP 3 – After the beans are cooked, divide them into the amount that you would like in each container. Then add the reserved water from the crock pot and add to each container. I’ve frozen beans without water before and they get crumbly and loose flavor, so make sure you add water. I bought these containers: a set of 4 each for 1 dollar. Lastly, date, label and place in the freezer. Make sure you take into account how much water will expand. These particular container were 16 oz, so I filled up the container to a little over 12 oz, then added the water. Once it was frozen it was the perfect amount. It might depend on the shape of your container whether you add more or less. I think next time I will get use my bigger containers so they can be 2 cup portions.
You can do it three ways. First, take it out the night before you plan on using them. Second, place them in a bowl of warm water and let them defrost on the counter for about 30 minutes. Lastly, use defrost feature on your microwave it you need them really fast!
Now I didn’t figure out how much it cost to run my slow cooker for 5 hours or the price of the water. I’m only including the price of the actual beans.
Store bought can – 1 cup portion will have an average price of $0.50 to $0.75
Make your own – 1 cup portion was $0.08. If you want to figure in the cost of the container (that can be reused) it would make the one time purchase of $0.33 per 1 cup portion. But from here on out if I buy 1 pound of beans at 1 dollar a pound. I will only pay 8 cents per 1 cup serving. “How about those beans!”
I do have to point out that making your own beans, also allows you to control the amount of sodium and additives that go into them.
On the stove method
If you do not have a slow cooker this is not out for you to try. Do the same over night process, follow step 2, but add to a large pot of water on the stove instead of the slow cooker. Cook on low heat for 2 to 3 hours or until done. Make sure you don’t leave the house with the stove on.
Well thats enough beans for today! Have you ever cooked beans before? If not, would you give this a try in your freezer cooking? How might you add this into your routine? Share your thoughts in the comments!