Do you want to know what has saved a lot of money in our grocery budget?
Switching from buying canned beans to dry beans.
I know it’s a no-brainer when you’re just using beans canned in water, but most of our canned bean consumption was coming in the form of refried beans, chili beans, and pork and beans.
While I agree with The Pioneer Woman that nothing makes better baked beans than canned pork and beans, for the price difference, I’m pretty happy with the dry bean version.
We began making our own refried beans for two reasons.
First was price. A fifteen-ounce can of beans seems to run anywhere from seventy-nine cents to a dollar twenty. Ouch! You can definitely get a lot more bang for your buck with dry beans.
Secondly, I got motivated when we got a cross-contaminated batch and Gabriel got sick. Every once in a while, items that are processed in the same facility as wheat products get contaminated. So, not worth the convenience.
Unfortunately, being the queen of forgetfulness the way I am, I tend to forget to cook beans until right when I need them. If you’ve ever cooked dry beans, you know that doesn’t work.
What does work, though, and what saves us so much in grocery money, is cooking up a large pot of beans – usually in the crockpot – and freezing them.
Sometimes I go ahead and make refried beans and freeze serving-sized portions, but lately, I’ve been freezing the whole beans and making refried as I need them.
There are a couple of ways you can freeze beans.
- First is to stuff the cooked, cooled beans into bags or containers in whatever sized portions you want – for me, I put enough for a batch of baked beans or chili into a quart zip-top bag – and freeze them.
- The second is to spread the beans out on cookie sheets and freeze them. Once they’re frozen, you can then transfer them to an air-tight container in your freezer. This method allows you to measure out your frozen beans or whatever without having to thaw out the whole bag because they’re not stuck together.
Doing it this way, dried beans can be just as convenient as canned beans – with a little forethought.
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