In this family, we eat beans. Particularly, navy, garbanzo, pinto, lentil, black and kidney.
I use beans in salads, burritos, with morning eggs, tossed into quick sauteed vegetables, and of course in stews throughout the winter.
For stews, I soak my beans the night before and add them to the meal to soften as it cooks. However, for many other morning or lunch meals, I need them already softened… ready to go.
Before my oldest son was born, I bought cans. Many cans of beans every week.
They were quick and easy. Open a can, use them… voila. Instant beans, per se.
Then I learned about BPA. Bisphenol A is an industrial chemical that is used to make certain plastics and resins. Plastics and resins made with BPA can leach into the containing food and acts as an environmental estrogen. Once ingested it effects our brain disrupting proper hormone functioning. It alters genes and interferes with normal physical and behavioral development. You can see why this is particularly damaging to fetuses, infants and children.
It’s been controversial for some time, however, the FDA now shares a level of concern and many companies are going bpa free.
Unfortunately, finding BPA free cans of beans can be difficult and quite expensive. For beans, I’m only aware of Eden Organics and at almost $2 a can, well… not frugal by any means.
But really, why even worry about BPA when you can cook dried beans in batches and freeze them at home to quickly use throughout the week. It’s simple and cheap.
How to Cook Dried Beans to Freeze
Making your own canned beans in batches is very frugal. You can buy a small bag of beans, equal to 2 cups, for $2. For smaller sized beans like pinto or black, this equals to about 4 – 5 pints (cans) of beans when cooked. For larger sized beans like kidney, this equals to 5 pints (cans) of beans when cooked.
That’s a huge savings and quite an incentive to make your own BPA free cans of beans.
Step 1. Soak your beans overnight.
Step 2. Drain and rinse your beans.
(It’s so simple, it makes a great project for the kids!)
Step 3. Add your beans to stockpot and cover by 2″ of water. To my black or pinto beans, I generally add sliced onions to the pot as well.
Bring to a boil on the stovetop and remove any scum that floats on top. Lower the heat to low and allow to simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until tender.
*Soft beans, including lentils only need about 45 minutes to cook through and I personally do not soak them overnight.
Step 4: Once the beans have softened, with a slotted spoon, add the beans to mason jars allowing 2″ headspace. Once you’ve separated all of the beans, add the cooking liquid to cover.
Allow the beans to cool completely, preferably in the refrigerator, before freezing or the glass will crack. (Been there, done that!)
Step 5: Freeze. Once completely cooled, place your mason jars in the freezer without the lids on. This will allow the volume to expand.
*If you’ll be freezing in freezer bags, allow the beans to cool completely before adding to the bags and freezing.
For 50¢ a can of organic bpa free beans, you just can’t beat that!
This is where your preference comes in. Some season, some don’t.
I usually don’t since I add my seasonings, including salt, to the beans when I use them in my dishes. These are just my quick, go to beans.
Some people, however, will add some olive oil and saute some onions and seasonings in their stockpot before adding the beans and water to cook. Experiment, have fun!
Can I Use a Crockpot?
Absolutely! Just make sure to set your crockpot on low for at least 8 hours or until tender.
Some Hearty Bean Recipes:
Frijoles Rancheros, Mexican Ranch Style Beans
Lentejas Con Chorizo, Lentils with Spanish Chorizo Sausage
Puchero Andaluz, Andalusian Stew with Garbanzo Beans
Do you cook dried beans in batches to freeze? Please feel free to share any bean recipes in the comments below