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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Frugal Kitchens 101 - Dried Beans

Frugal Kitchens 101
Years ago I participated on a frugal forum where one of the underlying themes was saving on the cost of meals.  The general consensus was that if you didn't eat rice and beans at least three times a week, you weren't being frugal enough.  Now, in terms of frugal, the definition actual means to get the best value for your dollar not the cheapest.  So a $5 item that last 6 months then needs to be replaced is not as frugal as one that cost $100 but will last your lifespan.  When it comes to frugal with respect to food the main criteria is nutritional value for your dollar.  In this regard, dried beans are a frugal choice.  This week's Frugal Kitchens 101 discusses dried beans and why they are a frugal choice. 

  • cost - In general dried beans are quite inexpensive depending on your location.   A bag of kidney beans cost about $1.29 here.  If I home can these I end up with 7 - 500 ml jars at a total cost of 24¢ per jar.  The price per pound is attractive.  For example, store bought bagged beans 25 lb small red beans at $24.15 works out to 96¢ per pound.  However, bought in bulk beans are cheaper than bagged store bought beans.  In general 1 pound of dried beans equals 2 c dried beans that will give a yield of 4 to 6 c cooked beans depending on the variety.  So if dried beans cost 96¢ per pound and yields 2 lb cooked the price per lb cooked weight is 48¢.  Allow ½ to 1 c per person.  At 96¢ per lb with a cooked yield of 2 lb would give 16 cups or 16 to 32 servings at a cost of 3¢ to 6¢.  It's easy to see how inexpensive dried beans really are.
  • variety - Dried beans are available in a wide variety of types ranging from the small mung, red and turtle beans to the larger kidney and lima beans.  Each variety differs in colour and flavour as well. 
  • nutrition - Cooked dried beans are high in fiber, iron, magnesium and protein, low in fat and cholesterol. 
  • versatility - Dried beans can be used as a meat extender, meat substitute or as a side dish.  They can be used in soups, chilis, stews, main dishes, salads, wraps, casseroles, or appetizers.  Dried beans once cooked can be frozen or they can be soaked then home canned for convenience.  Dried beans can easily be sprouted for use in salads, sandwiches and stir frys. 
  • storage - Dried beans will store for years in a dry, dark, cool location.  Store in large covered bins or large glass jars with lids to protect against insects, rodents and humidity. 
Bon App├ętit!


2 food lovers commented:

LindaG said...

I did not know you could sprout dried beans. It should be obvious, really, but for some reason that fact escaped me.

I can do rice 7 days a week, but I have a lot of trouble working beans into my diet. No matter what I do, I don't really care for them; which is not good because they are a cheap form of protein, no matter how you look at it.

Thanks for all these tips. :)

CookinsForMe said...

In the vein of what's frugal, I recently discovered that cornish hens are more frugal for me than a regular whole chicken. It seems that no matter how good my intentions are with planning for leftovers, freezing the meat, etc. a good deal of a cooked whole bird goes to waste in my household of one. And I simply don't like the taste of chicken once it's been cooked and frozen. However, I can get two cornish hens for about $5 and none goes to waste. I eat one hen, or most of one hen, for a meal and the meat of the other is either eaten as is or used for soup which feeds me two more times. So, I get three to four meals with those two birds and none gets thrown out. I like that. :)