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Pinto Beans From Scratch

August 26, 2011
Fresh homemade pinto beans

I’m a girl that usually keeps pretty busy with life. Sometimes your hungry and just feel like a burrito and you feel like it now. It’s pretty nice having the ease of just popping open a can of beans and having my burrito minutes later. But I got to thinking that homemade beans from scratch have to be so much healthier. Should I make the switch? So I have lazy easy canned beans in one hand, and time consuming healthy beans in the other. What if both beans were battling it out in a boxing ring- who would win? Better keep reading to find out!

I had my worries about beans from scratch: like making beans could take hours, and what if I make too much and they all go to waste, and just the fact that I really don’t know how to do it. Well I sucked it up and learned how to cook the dang-ol beans and it turns out- it’s really not that bad at all.

First, here’s a little bit of info on canned vs. fresh beans:

  • Canned beans can have a huge amount of sodium, from 140 to 500mg for a half-cup serving!
  • Even in “low salt” versions, canned beans contain soybean or canola oil, and textured soy flour or autolyzed yeast for thickening the sauce. Some products use disodium EDTA, calcium chloride, and sodium sulfite. All that is necessary to preserve cooked beans in cans are the beans, water, and salt. ( hmmm…
  • You could get 1 cup of cooked beans from dried beans for under 15 cents, and you get 1 cup of pre-cooked canned beans for $1.00 to $1.50. That’s a savings of about a dollar per cup!
  • On the other hand, dried beans take overnight soaking and 2-hour cooking, so if you don’t have time to plan ahead, canned is the way to go. Although after reading the facts above, I definitely sway toward making time for fresh beans.

Have I convinced you yet? I sure convinced myself! Now that you are ready to make the switch, here is a recipe for homemade beans:

Pinto Beans From Scratch

(4 cups of dried beans makes about 10 cups of cooked beans)

  • 4 cups of dried beans
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • About half of a large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1-2 green chilies, finely diced
  • Salt, pepper
  • Other seasonings like: paprika, Cayenne pepper,  onion powder, garlic powder, oregano

Slow Cooking the beans! Don’t forget to remove the bay leaves after!

To Do:
Put the 4 cups of dried beans into a large bowl and cover with room temperature water. Let them soak for about 8 hours or overnight. (I heard that soaking the beans helps you avoid flatulence…)

The next morning, rinse the beans thoroughly in a strainer and add them all to a large pot on the stove.

Add water to cover the beans and all of the onion, garlic, chilis and seasonings EXCEPT for the salt. I read somewhere that you are supposed to wait until the end to add salt, so it doesn’t mess up the cooking process.

Simmer on a low heat for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Don’t forget to add your desired amount of salt toward the end.

Serve up your beans in a burrito or some tacos. Try putting these homemade beans on some homemade wheat tortillas! (which happens to be my previous post- find that recipe here)
Make sure to reserve some of the liquid to store the leftover beans for later so they stay nice and moist.

Now about the boxing ring match I mentioned earlier…. We have dried beans on the left corner and canned beans on the right! The can of beans team up with the can opener and soon ooze out on the the ring floor. Dried beans is ready though, they set up a strong hard shield, ready for the slimy sodium filled beans coming their way Nearby, Garlic, Onion and Captain Planet cheer from the side lines.

The beans circle each other, and continue to circle because they really don’t have arms or legs for fighting. What’s this? Canned beans starts to get tired! All the sodium and added chemicals are slowing them down and they are growing weak! Dried beans join together and pound the canned beans into the ground until they resemble stinky re-fried beans. The dried beans WIN!! They flaunt their health benefits of fiber and protein as the crowd goes wild!

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  • Reply belovedgreen August 29, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Well played dry beans, well played indeed.

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  • Reply April 23, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    Awesome article.

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