dried beans question

raewyn64, Mar 22, 11:05pm
I have a bag of dried beans – I think they are a mix of different beans.
I know they have to be soaked somehow for a long period of time before using but I was wondering if I could do the soaking and then bottle the beans like I would with any stewed fruit etc so that when I want to use the beans I can just open a jar and they are ready to just heat and use. As they are at present I keep forgetting to use them because by the time I think of them I don’t have time to soak them for the dish I want to use them in, so if I had them ready and waiting like a commercial tin of beans then I would use them up.
Any suggestions or tips would be greatly appreciated.

buzzy110, Mar 22, 11:56pm
Could you be more precise raewyn64. No one in their right mind would recommend you soak and then bottle the beans without cooking them first. However, if you want, you can soak them, cook them and then bottle hot in sterilised jars and seal with airtight lids, exactly as the canned ones are.

You could even prepare your preferred sauces, add the cooked beans and then bottle (hot of course) so that when you want you have your meal almost ready.

245sam, Mar 23, 12:03am
raewyn64, have you thought of soaking and cooking the beans so that they're ready to use/eat and then freezing them? - I have done this very successfully and safely with chick peas (garbanzo beans) but not with any other types of beans however I see no reason why it shouldn't be ok. :-))

eucrow, Mar 23, 12:26am
Hi raewyn64,
As a strict vegetarian I have been using dried beans in my cooking for over 25 years so I feel I'm reasonably 'qualified' to help you!
How long have you had the dried beans? Any longer than a few months and you will need to throw them out, use them for blind baking or making bean pictures with children, babies' rattles, etc.
I never, ever, buy mixed dried beans because the soaking and cooking times vary hugely between varieties; some need no soaking and are ready to consume within half an hour of cooking and some need overnight soaking and cooking for as long as five hours! (These cooking times are not pressure-cooker times).
You just can not end up with evenly-cooked beans if you start with mixed beans.
When I make a bean salad I prepare the different varieties of beans separately. I soak the ones that need soaking then cook them all in separate pots so they will all be cooked to the correct degree. It's not hard work at all but you do need to plan ahead when using some types of beans.
I wouldn't recommend you use yours or even try to 'preserve' them in any way. Cooked beans can be frozen and reheated though. I just cool and rinse them and pop them in a plastic container with a bit of water. They'll be fine in the freezer for a few weeks but be mindful that freezing can change the texture and make them a bit 'mealy'.
Dried beans are a really inexpensive protein, high in fibre and they actually are the lowest-fat protein around. Better for the environment than the alternatives and definitely cruelty-free!
I suggest you go to your supermarket (or, ideally, an organic food shop) and ask for some non heat-treated dried beans. Dried beans are often heat-treated as a bio-security measure but this renders them tough and un-cookable. (Another thing that will kill your beans is adding salt to the cooking water - this will toughen them and you'll never have nice creamy-centred beans).
Be extra careful with red kidney beans as they contain a haemagglutinin, a natural toxin and can make you really sick. Soak, rinse, soak, rinse, boil hard, rinse, boil again to remove the toxin.
I hope I haven't put you off using dried beans. There are dozens of varieties available in NZ and you can make really nice meals such as nachos using black-eyed beans which take little more than half an hour to cook.
Hope this has been of some help to you. I'd love to hear how you get on.
Kind regards, Anita.

raewyn64, Mar 23, 3:23am
Thanks for all the suggestions and comments.
I am not sure how long ago I bought the bag of beans – probably about 5 or so months ago so I think I will not use them, plus the comments about the different beans needing different cooking times makes sense and so I can see I would end up with a mix of mushy overcooked beans and some not cooked enough. Plus I do needsome beans for blind baking so they won’t go to waste. Thanks Anita for all the comments you posted above and I certainly will get some new beans and cook them up. I note that you say the cooked beans can be frozen, have you had any experience with bottling them like Buzzy suggests – just looking at options.

eucrow, Nov 26, 3:10pm
Hello again! I have not had experience with bottling or preserving beans as I have always frozen mine. They thaw out quite quickly either under cold running water or in the microwave. This way, they are quite true to their original state, (except for a slightly tougher texture), and are not flavoured with brine or any other preserving agent.
I really hope you do try cooking with dried beans because there's just so much you can do!
Let me know if you want some ideas . . . . .

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