Welcome to another Self Sufficient Saturday post. Today we’ll take a look at a prepper’s staple: dried beans. It is an inexpensive source of protein, tasty and filling. Many people settle for canned beans, thinking it is too hard to make it yourself. It is actually very easy.
How Much Dried Beans to Use
1 cup dried beans = 3 cups cooked beans
Since I like to make a large enough batch to last for a few meals, I use about three cups of beans.
Before you cook any type of beans sort through them to remove any pebbles or any foreign matter. You should also give the beans a quick rinse.
There are two ways to prepare beans:
- Soaking method
- Fast boil
1. Just measure three cups of beans and soak in a pan of water overnight. The beans puff up the next day.
2. Throw out the soaking water, then rinse the beans.
3. In a large pot, add the beans and enough water to cover the beans. Cook on medium heat and let the pot simmer. You can add a peeled piece of garlic if you like.
A couple of tips:
- DO NOT ADD SALT. The salt will toughen the beans and will not cook properly.
- Old beans may take longer to cook. For tips on how to properly store beans, please see Survival Food Storage.
Add more water as it boils down. If the water runs out, the beans will start to burn. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 1/2- 2 hours until the beans are tender. Once the beans are soft, add salt to taste.
Fast boil method
1. If you forget to soak the beans the night before, do the fast boil method. Add enough water to cover the beans in a pot. Let the mixture boil for about three minutes. Turn off the fire and remove from heat. Place the pot in the sink and add tap water. Pour the beans into a colander and throw out the water. Rinse the beans one more time under the faucet.
2. Now you are ready to cook the beans.
Follow Step 3 above.
Plain cooked beans are great added to plain white rice. With a bit of salt and pepper, beans and rice make a great comfort food. Even picky kids like it.
Another thing you can easily make is refried beans.
You will need:
5-7 cups of cooked pinto beans (following the steps above)
1/2 cup lard, butter or vegetable oil
1 cup grated monterey jack cheese or your favorite type of cheese like grated cheddar cheese
Melt the lard, butter or if using vegetable oil, add to the pan.
Drain the beans leaving around 1/2 cup of bean water and add the beans and water to the pan all at once. Careful you don’t get splattered.
Mash the soft beans with a potato masher. Mix the beans and the oil very well. If the beans look too dry, add 1/4 cup of water or chicken broth to the mix and keep mashing to your desired consistency. Some cooks like the beans to be on the dry side, some like it a bit more watery.
Once the beans are mashed, add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle the grated cheese on top. Allow the cheese to melt. Serve with tortillas, tostada shells or tortilla chips. You can even make breakfast burritos by mixing the refried beans with scrambled egg, more cheese in a large flour tortilla.