Beans, beans, the musical fruit….
We eat a good amount of beans in this house, not only because they’re healthy, but because, well, they taste good and are very versatile. And because we eat so many, we don’t buy them in cans, but instead we buy them dried, in bulk (much cheaper, too). Now I can hear many of you moaning about this already, saying ‘Oh, I can’t be bothered’ or ‘I don’t have the time for dried beans’…Poppycock!
I soak the beans overnight in cold water and then the next morning, I cook them. Most beans take about 10-15 minutes of hard boiling, uncovered and then anywhere from 30-60 minutes of simmering, covered. DO NOT ADD SALT TO THE WATER as it will toughen the beans! Once they are done, I drain them well and leave them to cool for about 30 minutes, stirring them around a bit every few minutes to help them cool down. You want to make sure you drain them well and stir them around as that helps get rid of most of the water. The dryer they are the better it will be when it comes time for defrosting because they won’t be just a big clump of beans, but instead, they’ll be pretty much separated.
I then put them into a lightweight plastic bag, weigh and label them and pop them into a zippered plastic freezer bag and pop them into the freezer. Then when you need beans, you have them. Just remember to take them out to thaw for a while, or pop them in the microwave for a minute or two. You can even sit the bag in water to help the thawing process along. I reuse the outer bag for the next time I cook beans. The blackeyes below I just cooked this morning.
We usually have 4-5 different varieties of beans in the freezer at one time. As of right now, I have Cannellini, chickpeas, kidney and black eyes in the freezer. In the cupboard we still have other beans such as haricot, pinto, butter, black and nigerian along with red and green split peas. Next week I’ll probably cook up some more just so that we have a good stock, then I won’t have to worry about cooking any for a while until we start to get low.
Now, granted I don’t have to go out to work every day, so I have the time to do all of this, however, for those of you who work, you could manage to do at least two different beans over the weekend. Soak on Friday night to cook on Saturday and soak on Saturday to cook on Sunday. Do this over 2-3 weeks and you’ll have a nice stock of beans in your freezer at a fraction of the cost of canned.
Terri’s Tasty Tip…
SPICED CHICKPEA DIP
Blitz together 125g/4oz. ricotta cheese, 400g/14oz. chickpeas, juice of one lime, handful of coriander/cilantro leaves, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1 chopped & deseeded chili pepper, 1/2 tsp ground cumin and 1 tbsp olive oil.
Serve with naan bread or raw veggies.