How To: Make Beans From Scratch

Hello! It occurred to me that maybe I should write a post about how good it feels to be a graduate. Honestly, it feels the same. Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled to be done, but the real challenge will come in having a job that allows me to advocate change. All I really want to do professionally is to make a large enough impression that people around me will care what I have to say and they will use that information to make changes to their diets. I am in the process of job searching and eagerly anticipating what God has in store for me! Below is a picture of a proud graduate :)

 Okay, now onto something more exciting, {not really} BEANS!

 Let me be honest with you about something here. When you are a full time student, a mom dedicated to only feeding your family unprocessed, nourishing foods, and your husband works in ministry, the food budget can get a little tight... we don't have a never ending cash flow dedicated to groceries. Okay, what I really mean is that we are on a VERY tight budget right now, very, very tight. Whew, I said it!  Now that that's off my chest, let me also say that being on a tight budget is not an excuse to eat cheap, low quality junk! I get a little frustrated when people tell me how they think it is wonderful that we eat organically and locally and they wish they could "afford" it. Um, if we can afford it, so can me. One of the easiest ways to afford high quality foods is to make things from scratch. One of my favorites...BEANS! We use beans as an INEXPENSIVE way to bulk up our meals. By doing this, we can afford to purchase high quality, pasture raised meats because we are eating more beans and less meat.

I cannot believe I ever used to buy canned beans. Costing anywhere from $.89-$1.99 per can, canned beans are expensive! In the last 6 months or so, I have began making all of our beans from scratch. It is easy, inexpensive and so much healthier for our bodies. My biggest motivation in choosing to make from scratch is the fact that canned goods are lined with BPA. Did you know that? I just found out a few months ago, and after learning this, I vowed to stop buying anything in a can. Yep that's right, no more canned tomatoes, canned tuna, canned soup....nothing.  Maybe a post about BPA is in my future. BPA gets me fired up! Okay, lets focus on beans now....

I have had great success making a variety of beans from scratch. Our favorite recipe is homemade refried beans. I have also made black, kidney, and white beans.

My Method:
Yield: 1 cup dried beans will yield approximately 2 1/2 cups cooked beans.
In the evening, place beans in a large bowl and cover with water. Make sure there is additional room in the bowl for beans to expand.  Add 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice per cup of dried beans. ( 2 cups dried beans= 4 tbsp lemon juice) The acidity of the lemon with neutralize mineral blocking phytic acid in the beans. Leave beans out on counter overnight. Whether you soak in the evening or morning, beans should soak for 8-14 hours at room temp before cooking. When beans are done soaking DRAIN old water and rinse thoroughly. Add beans to large pot and add enough filtered water to cover beans fully. Add seasonings as desired. I usually add salt, garlic, and onion. Cook on stove top using medium heat for 35-55 minutes. The time varies depending on the type of bean and the soaking time. After 30 minutes, taste the beans to see if they are softening enough.

Storage: When I make beans, I make A LOT. And I really mean A LOT. I will usually use the biggest pot known to mankind and make about 25 cups of beans. I drain excess liquid and pull out my stash of mason jars. I love mason jars. Love, love love. I store half of my beans in freezer for later use and we use the rest in various meals throughout the week. The freezer beans will stay fresh for several weeks.

Favorite Recipe Ideas:
Vegetarian chili, refried beans {minus the lard}, 3 bean salad,  spicy black beans, veggie burgers

Get creative and get soaking!

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