Most of us buy our beans at the store, in a can.
We do this for 1 main reason:
No need to plan ahead, just grab and go.
So why would you ever want to cook your own? Sarah and I have been cooking our own beans consistently for about 6 months now, and we can officially say that it’s changed our life! We initially started doing it because it seemed healthy. Beans sitting on the shelf in a can for months on end didn’t seem like a very healthy choice. We had always wanted to cook our own beans, but we could never commit to it; telling ourselves it would be more complicated than we thought.
We occasionally got dried beans in our weekly CSA Box, so we did it a few times, but the end result wasn’t really that good. This was, until a co-worker of mine explained exactly how to prepare/cook your beans with perfection… every time.
So here we go, our top 5 reasons to cook your own beans, and why it might just change your life too!
(we’ll show you how to cook your own, too, at the end!)
Cook your own beans, change your life
Reason #1 – They Taste Better
It’s true, the ones straight out of the can are bland and boring. We were shocked how amazing home-cooked beans are. So much flavor, right off the stovetop! I’m not sure if it’s because the store-bought beans are kept in a can or what, but they just don’t have much excitement to them.
Reason #2 – Our Meals, On Average, Are Cheaper
When we cook a big pot of beans, we get to use them over the next couple days. We use them in all kinds of recipes like grain-bowls, salads, tacos, veggie burgers, hummus, etc. Our bodies do well with beans, and if yours do too, then you may find benefit here as well.
Beans are an excellent source of protein and fiber. They fill you up, and are super versatile. Thus, they can be added to many recipes in which we’d normally have a processed alternative, like tofu, tempeh, hummus, etc. Processed foods are typically more expensive, so our weekly meals, on average are a bit cheaper now.
Reason #3 – We’ve Become Better Planners
Confession: Sarah and I have not, historically, been the best planners! We would normally go to the grocery store EVERY DAY! Crazy, right? We hated the idea of having to commit to eating something 2-days out because of worry that we might be craving something else.
We only have 1 car, so you can imagine what it’s like for us to coordinate both our full-time jobs and running errands. However, cooking our own beans forced us to plan ahead, 2 days in advance. Being better planners has freed up time to do other things, and other benefits that come with shopping less, like not buying snacks we don’t need.
Reason #4 – The Cost of Beans is Less
As you may already know, Sarah and I aren’t big into pinching pennies when it comes to buying food. It’s an investment, it’s important. However, going with the BPA-Free can cost 2-3 times as much compared to the dried, organic bean varieties – which adds up.
Reason #5 – We’re Eating Less Processed Foods
I touched on this in #2, but this one is for the benefit of our health, not just our wallet. Processed foods bought at the store aren’t fresh, and we want to maximize our nutrients for the best health possible. Eat less processed foods is always a good thing, no matter where you’re at on the healthy eating spectrum.
Now, we don’t eat beans as much as it may seem. We usually only cook a batch twice a week, and there’s typically a 2-3 day break in between so we aren’t constantly eating some sort of legume!
Cooking our own beans has, indeed, changed our lives. Here’s the simple process we follow every time to cooking beans to perfection.
Our Recipe for Cooking Beans
- The night before you want to cook them, soak 2 cups of dried beans in filtered water. Use the same pot you’re going to cook them in. Fill the pot with 2-3 times as much water as beans (they will expand)
- The next day, drain the water out of the pot.
- Fill the pot again with water, tap is fine, and pour out a second time to rinse.
- Refill the pot again, but this time with filtered or spring water. Make sure the water line is 1-2 finger-widths above the beans, as they will continue to expand as they cook. Be careful, adding too much water takes away flavor from the beans.
- Add a few pinches of sea salt to the pot and stir. We like Celtic and Himalayan.
- Bring the beans to a boil.
- Once you reach boiling, cover pot and lower heat to simmer. For our stove level 2 is just right. You may cook them at a lower temp than that, but will take longer.
- Check after 1 hour to make sure the water level is just above beans.
- Use a fork to scoop out some beans to check if they’re done yet. You may need to cook for another 30 minutes or so until you reach perfection.
*Storing Your Beans: keep them in the original liquid. Fill your container all the way to the top with liquid, even if there isn’t a whole lot of beans. Doing this keeps your beans fresher, longer!
If your beans turn out like ours do, you will be AMAZED by the flavor. In fact, I would be surprised if you weren’t a total convert like us.