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Making the Case for Dried Beans

by Mary Sacks

Why Use Dried Beans

When it comes to convenience, hands down, canned beans is the winner. Keep in mind, all beans are not created equal. Chickpeas and Cannellini beans are usually great right out of the can. However, I still haven’t figured out how dark red kidney beans actually get that color.

We could spend all day debating the difference, but some of those differences are of importance.

  • Salt: Canned beans are salted, sugared, calcium chloride and disodium edtaed to death. I’m not sure the last two are even real words, but you get the idea. If you drain and rinse, there is a good chance you can eliminate about 40% of the sodium. What remains is still over the top.
  • BPA: Most cans are lined with BPA containing resin.
  • Cost: If you can spare the time, dried beans are cheaper.
  • Time: Dried beans need to soak a few hours (best overnight), cook a few hours more, but the tradeoff is a pot of beans with deep flavor.
  • Flavor: If you want to add your own flavors? Then just toss those flavors in the pot of slowly cooking dried beans. Think about onions, garlic, herbs, and chiles which infuse the beans with tons of flavor.
  • Storage: If you’re going to make beans, you might as well make a lot, because they freeze well.
  • Nutrition: The salt alone in canned beans may drive your cooking habits. Granted, meat and fish pack the most protein. But, meat also comes with a dozen other “bad for your health” elements. Fat, no fiber or antioxidants to name a few. So for those of you that have no plans on giving up that steak, you might consider an adjustment. Beans have about 1/3 the protein of meat. Cut down your portion of meat, add a side dish of beans and for an extra measure of good sense, we dumped our skim milk for soy milk.



Mary Sacks
Mary Sacks

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