Using Dried Beans in Cooking

This week on Food Storage Friday I want to talk about Beans.  We use beans a couple meals a week.  First off to save money, but also because it is healthy for you not to eat meat every day.  In fact Americans are probably one of the biggest meat eaters in the world.  I am always amazed when I hear people say that they have to have meat because they need the protein and that they can’t go one day without it.

While there may be some that have medical problems that that may be true for, a majority of people don’t need it at all.  There are so many other foods that you could use to get your protein.  Beans are one of the best ways to replace meat.  It has tons of protien and also has fiber which is really good for your digestive system.

A common concern for people who are trying to eat more beans is that they cause gas.  The amount of fiber is what causes this.  But there are some things that you can do to lessen the risk of gas.  1 thing is to use canned beans instead of dry ones.  This is more costly, but with sales it is probably not out of your budget.  Second, if using dry beans, soak them for a long time, changing the water regularly.  I have also heard that putting a teaspoon of yogurt in the water when you soak them helps to start the process that breaks down the fiber.

Dry beans don’t last forever,.  They need to be used within 3-5 years.  As they get older, the taste lessens and they take longer to soak and cook.  So be sure you are rotating through your dry beans and not just storing them.  Eating them regularly to rotate them also helps to get your digestive system used to eating the beans.  Then if you do have an emergency, your body doesn’t have such a shock to eating them and you don’t get sick.

I have about 8 or 9 pounds of beans currently in my storage.  This is something I need to work on getting control of.  I need to do an inventory so I know what I have and how much more I need to get.  I also need to get more recipes for them.

How do you use beans?  Do you have any recipes to share?  Do you have any other tips for beans or food storage?  Post them here in the comments section.  If you have blog posts about it be sure to link your blog in your comment!

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