Buying dried beans in bulk is usually a whole lot cheaper than a single 15 ounce can. At the local big box store I can get 4 pound bags of a few varieties of dried beans and lentils. The only problem I have is that when I decide to make something, I have to cook the beans first. And that takes a lot of time.
So I came up with a way to cook and keep them in bulk, ready to use any time. And just as convenient as a can of beans off the shelf.
I rinse the beans well, then put them into my trusty Instant Pot pressure cooker. Cover with water by about an inch. If you don’t have a pressure cooker (which is just convenient for faster cooking) you can certainly cook them on the stove top.
On goes the cover, and I set the cooker for 15-25 minutes, depending on the type of bean. I don’t want them all the way cooked so that they fall apart. I want them mostly cooked, and still in one piece, so that they will need just a bit of cooking in whatever I am making to finish them off. These pink beans will go for about 15 minutes.
Once done, and the pressure is released, I pour them into a colander to drain. These red beans will take a few minutes to drain, and cool down a bit.
Once the beans are well drained, I spread them out on parchment covered trays, and pop them in the freezer for 30-60 minutes. They don’t have to freezer solid, and you want them to move around individually, not be frozen into blocks.
Once frozen, I can pour them into gallon size freezer bags, or portion them into smaller bags. sometimes I put into 10 ox portions to equal a can of beans, just I can just grab and cook.
If you have a vacuum sealer, that works great to keep excess air at bay. I find I use the beans so often it doesn’t really matter, because they are not frozen long enough to have any serious freezer burn.
Cooking 2 pounds of dried beans gives me 2 trays or about 1 gallon bag full. Once they are in the freezer, I can just scoop out however much I need, and pop the rest back into the cold.
So next time you see bags of dried beans – red beans, pink beans, lima beans, chick peas or adzuki beans – grab a couple bags to save some money, and spend a bit of time preparing them for the freezer. They’ll be right there waiting when you need them.
Do you have a different way to store them (cooked, that is)? Or do you just cook & use dried beans on as as needed basis?