Is your refrigerator full of ready to eat weight loss food?
Cooking beans yourself is satisfying way to fill your fridge (and stomach!) with a delicious weight loss food.
Beans are a super Full Plate superfood.
You can fill up with a ton of beans. And still lose weight.
By properly cooking dry beans you can reduce the gas they cause and enhance their flavor.
It’s easy and cheap to cook a week’s worth at a time.
If you enjoy passing gas. Beans can make you a first chair trumpeter.
But only for a couple weeks. Your body quickly adapts if you eat beans regularly.
To reduce gas faster, soak the beans and discard the soaking water before cooking them. Just like we’ll learn below.
Canned beans are cheap.
Dry beans are about 60% cheaper.
Canned beans are usually packed with salt.
You control the salt when you cook beans yourself.
You’ll learn dry beans taste much better because you can flavor them as you cook them.
One 2 pound bag of dry beans results in about 10 cups of cooked beans. That’s about the same as 6 cans.
It’s not hard to cook dry beans if you plan ahead.
Here’s the no-nonsense overview. Read below for details with pictures.
Cooking beans this way takes about half a day but it’s multi-tasking time. You only have to be engaged for about 20 minutes of the process including washing up. If you set timers, you can easily tend the beans while doing other Sunday afternoon projects.
Dry beans are usually found on the grain or rice aisle of the grocery store.
Get your bag of dry beans and a cookie sheet. The cookie sheet is for culling the beans. You don’t have to use a cookie sheet, but I’ve found it helps keep them contained.
Quickly sort the beans from one side to the other picking out the really shriveled or crushed ones. Don't stress over this too much. Do it quickly.
Dry beans usually have a small hand full of really dry beans or even rocks.
There are lots of methods and shortcuts for cooking without a soak. But an 8+ hour soak is the best way to ensure they’ll cook evenly and all the way through. And how cool is it to be checking something off your to-do list while you’re sleeping!
Grab a large pot.
Put the beans in.
Add water. Plenty of water. The beans are going to soak it up and expand. If you want to be precise, use four times the amount of water as you have beans.
Go to bed. Or if you’ve already had your beauty rest, come back in about 8+ hours. Drain the soaking water off of the beans.
Soaking is really important for people learning to eat more beans, because it helps with gas. The soaking water absorbs some of the gas causing “complex sugars.” It also helps clean the beans because they’re pretty dirty.
So it’s important to discard the water. Extra points for watering a plant with it.
If you’re in a hurry, and not worried about gas or dirt, there are lots of no-soak or quick soak methods for cooking beans. See below.
Fill’er up, again. And cover with extra water. The beans will likely expand even a little more.
Grab the extra veggies you have and stick them in the water with the beans. This time we cut a fresh branch of rosemary, and half an onion.
Veggies and spices that add great flavor:
Crank up the heat. Hang around until it’s boiling pretty well. Resist the urge to stir. If it threatens to boil over, lift it up off the heat instead of stirring.
Turn the heat way down once your beans have boiled for a moment or two.
The heat should be as low as possible and still have the water barely moving.
This part can’t be rushed. If you’re tempted to crank up the heat, you’ll be punished with disintegrating beans and they won’t get done any faster.
The top can control the firmness of the beans. Lid on for:
Lid off for firmer beans good in:
Come back to check on them in about an hour. They may or may not be done.
Perfectly cooked, al dente beans should be tender and soft while retaining their shape and structure. They should quish easily between two fingers. Careful, they’re hot.
Taste them. If they taste a little like dry football shaped cardboard let them go another ten or fifteen minutes.
Old or large beans can take longer. Just keep them simmering until they’re soft.
Not at the beginning. Salt in the cooking water actually slows the cooking process and makes you crazy. Because it seems like they’ll never get soft.
The best time to add a little salt, is about 15 minutes before they’re done.
Of course you can skip this step and salt to taste at the table.
Beans are delicate souls. Stirring often roughs them up and turns them into a soupy mess. Sometimes stirring is necessary to ensure even cooking. Just be careful not to stir too often.
Cool and refrigerate them in their cooking water for eating this week. Or:
Pack beans for the freezer in the size container you plan on using. If you’re taking them for lunch, use them instead of ice to keep your lunch box cool. By lunch time, they’ll be ready after a 3 minute zap in the microwave.
Here’s a few ways to enjoy beans. If you have a favorite way or recipe, please share it with others in the comments.
But my favorite way to eat these white beans is by the spoonful with a slight drizzle of olive oil and dusting of salt and pepper.
The type of bean doesn’t really matter. This cooking method should work for any dry bean. Here are some of the popular beans. Try a new bean each week:
Remember soaking helps to reduce gas.
Ready to learn to love beans? Here's 50 bean recipes to try.
Please spill the beans in the comments.