Friday, May 22, 2009

Dried Beans Versus Canned Beans


I love it when I hit on something big when it comes to saving money. It energizes me! Thrills me! Yeah, it's a bit nerdy but I'm ok with that.

I was reading Michelle's blog at Leaving Excess and she was talking about buying dried beans and how much money it saves.

I knew that. And I do it. But alot of times I forget to soak and cook them and I don't have any ready to go when a recipe calls for it. But she mentioned that she takes the time to soak and cook them, and then stores them in her freezer in 1 1/2 cup "can" sizes so they are always ready to use.

So simple! So Genius!

So last night I pulled out every bag of beans in my cupboard. No more excuses. I soaked them and then boiled them up this morning. And this very minute I'm scooping them into freezer bags. Never again will I be without beans for my last minute recipes.

So what's the cost breakdown? Just how much money will you save? (Hold onto your hats.)

One 1 pound bag of beans is usually about $.50. When cooked up I had 4 "cans" worth of beans. I figure canned beans usually cost me $.79 at my local discount store.

4 Store bought cans - $3.16

4 Dried "cans" - $.50

HUGE SAVINGS!

26 comments:

JenniMac said...

I had to laugh when I saw this post today. I spent my whole day yesterday soaking beans and then turned the heat on them to warm them up a bit and forgot about them. Thankfully the house did not burn down but the house does still smell like burnt kidney beans. I ended up at the store last night buying a can of beans to use for my recipe instead.
This is a fantastic idea. I may spend the day Monday soaking all my black beans and putting them in the freezer. Thanks for the post!

Diane said...

Another way to speed up the process (though the freezer idea is better as long as the consistency of the beans doesn't change too much) is to use a pressure cooker. I can go from dried to cooked in about 45 minutes. I usually make more than I need and freeze the leftovers when I do this. I've tried freezing pinto and black beans, and for some reason the pinto beans become kind of mushy when frozen, but maybe I just cooked them too long to start with. Works great for black beans, though! And saves SO much money!

Trudy said...

I love that kind of math.

Bobbi Jo said...

I did this once a while back with black beans but haven't done it since. You have inspired me. I also didn't realize how much of a savings it is. Thank you so much! Hugs, Bobbi Jo

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Michelle @ Leaving Excess said...

Excellent - thanks so much for sharing my nerdy love of math! Someone left a comment on that post of mine about cooking them in the slow cooker - she said she does not even soak them, just rinse them, clean out any stones, covers an inch or so of beans with hot water (fill the crock pot) and let it cook on high for 4-6 hours. That would help avoid any burnt ones, too! I am thinking you could do it on low for 8-10 hours and let it go overnight....

Terri and Bob said...

Ok, I am going to try this as we love beans in this house. I bet I spend $5 a week on beans. Bagged beans, look out!

SavvySuzie said...

Having recently discovered that my anti-bean husband actually LIKES black beans, this was a very timely post! My chest freezer is going to need some backup pretty soon :)

Julie said...

Wow! I would love to get dried beans for .50 a bag. Here, they run $1.20-$1.89 a bag. I use dried and canned. I buy up the cans when I have coupons and get them for pennies or cheaper than dried. I like the idea of freezing them for quick meals. I do this with brown rice and now will do it with beans. Thanks for posting!

Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship said...

Great post! Pressure cooking beans is not as healthy - they're much harder to digest and lose some of their health benefits. Read more at www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/04/05/food-for-thought-nutritional-benefits-of-beans-and-legumes/ and lots of ways to use beans (including freezing them in "can" sizes) here: www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/04/06/monday-mission-legume-recommend-some-beans/
Thanks, Katie

Minda said...

Wow! Who would have thunk it? I'm a little scared of freezing things but I may try. Hubby loves beans and the only time that I have time to do the whole soak/cook thing is the weekends. I fall back on cans for week nights. I may get brave and try...

Jodi said...

Well, you've already got me buying lentils due to your great recipes. Now I'll have to check the prices on bags of beans! Great idea, thanks for all of your great money saving tips and recipes!

Jami @An Oregon Cottage said...

Actually, you don't even have to soak them! In fact, I've found the texture is better after freezing if you DON'T soak them first...they don't fall apart as easily, making them better for salads, etc.
I posted about this a few months ago, though your $ breakdown is even better than mine!

Skye said...

I knew it was cheaper, but I had never done the math. WOW. Wow.

Anonymous said...

You know, I am all about saving money, but my time is worth something as well. In fact, my time is worth quite a bit! My clients pay me upwards of $300 per hour (I am a therapist). So, having the TIME to spend with my husband, family, friends, and pets, sometimes makes it worth buying the 79 cent can of beans rather than having to spend the one weekend morning I have available saving money by doing things at home.
I enjoy your posts, but sometimes I have to image that saving the money is not worth as much time and effort as you put into it, especially when it takes away from making meaningful memories. I would rather be short $20 than look back 10 years from now and regret that I boiled beans every weekend instead of buying a few cans.

Gayle said...

Anonymous,

You know, I absolutely see your point. Our time with loved ones is very important. But if you dig around on this site a bit you'll see that this isn't just some fun project or a lark for me. These are the resources I have to work with right now. I don't have a choice to spend an extra $20 to save time. And I think there are alot of people right now who are in the same position. I hope to get to the place where money is more discretionary but until then, I hope that the info I've put here helps others navigate their tough financial situations too. Thanks for bringing up a good point.

Amy L said...

I see both points of view as to whether its worth the time.
I make more on level of minimum wage plus I am a full time student. SO I have little money AND little time. I tend to use a combination. Depends on what I am using the beans for as to which I use. But I do think I will be trying the freezing idea for those times I just cannot manage it. :) Thanks for the great blog...

gourmetmomma said...

i don't you have to choose between saving time or money. i spend maybe an extra 10 minutes to create a pot of dried beans for my family (including cleaning up a dirty pot). since that effort results in something i can serve at least twice, that's not a huge burden. and sometimes, canned beans are the right option. i use both without guilt. both save me money over eating out, and both allow me to stretch my protein dollars.

here's my basic beans tutorial and cost breakdown. these taste much better than canned...
http://gourmetmomma.wordpress.com/2009/04/25/basic-dried-beans-tutorial/

Shelly said...

Thank you sooo much for this post, I'm a new reader to your blog and love it! I have tons of dry beans but never cook them because it is time consuming. This way sounds so much easier.

As for the value of my time, I completely understand both sides. As for me, being a work-at-home-mom, I get to spend a lot of time with my family. And, I don't have people paying me $300 per hour. So spending 15 minutes cooking beans on a Saturday morning isn't a big deal. Completely see your point though ;o)

Feed the Moose said...

I actually cooked up some dried black beans a few months ago and froze them in ziploc freezer bags. A few weeks ago we tried to use one of the bags, and the beans were freezer burned! Any thoughts on what I could differently to prevent that next time? It was so discouraging...

Anonymous said...

I want to share another possible option. It works for me as I am not able to have a chest freezer where I currently live. My grandma and aunt spend a day every winter and can their own beans in pint size jars. Yes, in a pressure canner. Easy instructions can be found in any pressure canner manual or Googled. That way, you only pay for dried beans, and you have the option and convenience of just opening up a jar.
If you don't already own a pressure canner or jars, look for great deals at the Salvation Army, on Craigslist, or Ebay. Hope this is helpful to someone!
Cara

=^..^= Kitty =^..^= said...

Please tell me where you get your 50 cent/per lb. beans. A one pound bag generally costs me $1.79 and up. Still a good deal. If you order online, they are about 3 times the price. I still buy and cook dried beans (and I use a ton of them) as I can control the salt, etc. so it's worth it.

Gayle said...

I usually find my beans in the bulk bins at Win-co or at the Grocery Liquidators that I shop at.

Anonymous said...

Here's the low down on cooking beans. limas, navy, pintos peas. I use a small crockpot that will hold about a 1/2 lb of beans. i add looked washed dried not previously soaked beans to the pot and fill with water. add about 2- 3 teaspoons of olive oil and a piece of sliced ham that I have frozen from a cooked ham. I turn it on high and let it cook all day. I guess about 6 hours or so, you can't go wrong. when they seem done. taste a few for tenderness and doneness, add salt pepper. now
you cook your cornbread. this makes a meal all in its self. In our opinion, its ok if they cook to pieces, they are still great, just crumble the cornbread in to a bowl of them!

Anonymous said...

A great place to find inexpensive beans and lentils is at an Indian grocery store, also look at their Idlys - rice cakes and Sambhar mixes - a thin lentil soup for round 60c a packet, you just add water!

Sarah @ BodyAfterBaby4.com said...

Wow, great idea! Thanks for sharing :)