Soak Beans to Save Money and Energy {Budget Organic No. 14}

Soak Beans to Save Money and Energy {Budget Organic No. 14}

{A quick note: I’m changing the name of this series from “A Year of Sustainable Eating” to “A Year of Eating Organic on a Budget”—because, they’re really the same thing! And I think the new name is truer to what I’m trying to do.}

Have you checked the price of BPA-free, organic canned beans lately?


At my favorite store, they sell one brand of canned beans that is BPA-free, and one brand of beans that comes in Terra Pak cardboard containers.  Both of these typically cost three times as much as the conventional canned beans, and double the organic (but not BPA-free) beans.  That’s somewhere around $3 for a simple can of beans.  YIKES.

So, what’s a budget-minded organic-friendly family foodie to do? Budget organic tip No. 14 is…

Soak Your Own Beans to Save Money & Energy

soak beans to save money & time

Cooking your own beans from scratch is a great way to save HUGE money, know you’re getting organic, and cut out a major source of BPA in your diet, without a lot of extra work or sacrifice.  How, you might ask?

First, soak your beans overnight before you cook them.  Just cover your beans with about one inch of water and let them stand 8–24 hours before cooking; then drain, rinse, and cook in fresh water.

By soaking beans first, you soften them up, so it saves a lot of time—and energy used for cooking—over cooking the beans dry.  Plus, soaking removes a lot of the enzyme that causes gas in your digestive system, so you’ll save money on Beano too.  😉

Second, cooking your beans in a crock pot is a no brainer and a serious time saver.  After you’ve soaked your beans, just put them in the crock pot with about an inch of fresh water and turn it on low for about 6–8 hours.  You can leave them plain (as they would be straight from a can) or you can doctor them up with any number of spices and other flavors like onions or ham.  Mmmm…  One tip: wait to add salt until they’re done cooking.  Adding salt while they cook can result in the beans bursting open and leaving you with bean mush.

If you start doing a double batch every time you want beans and freezing half, pretty soon you’ll find that you always have beans on hand for quick suppers—just as conveniently as opening a can of beans.  (You can thaw them in the microwave or by putting them in a sink or bowl full of warm water for a little while.

Et voila! Easy peasy beans that cost pennies a serving instead of three big ones per can.


I’m challenging myself to eat more sustainably on a budget over the next year—and documenting the steps I take in this series, inspired by an article in the Jul/Aug 2010 issue of Whole Living Magazine. Want to join me? Leave a comment below and pledge to eat more sustainably this year!


Original image by Roger Smith 

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