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Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Cooking Beans To Store, BPA-Free

Cooking your beans so they can be frozen is a great way of ensuring cheap and easy access to BPA-free beans.

Drained and Rinsed Beans

Photo: Diana Bauman (Flickr)

There are so many uses for beans in cooking and my family loves them all: with morning eggs, tossed into quick sauteed vegetables and in stews throughout the winter.

Delicious, But Full Of BPA

I used to buy many cans of beans every week. They were quick and easy. But then I learned about Bisphenol A (BPA), an industrial chemical that is used to make certain plastics and resins. Plastics and resins made with BPA, which line the insides of most cans, can leach into the contained food and this acts as an environmental estrogen.

Once ingested, it effects our brain, disrupting proper hormone functioning. BPA alters genes and interferes with normal physical and behavioral development. You can imagine why this is particularly damaging to fetuses, infants and children.

BPA usage in food storage has been controversial for some time and many companies are starting to go BPA-free.

Count Your Pennies

Unfortunately, BPA-free cans of beans can be quite expensive and difficult to find. A can of BPA-free beans from Eden Organics costs almost $2, which is not frugal by any means.

But really, why even worry about BPA when you can cook dried beans in batches and freeze them at home to quickly use throughout the week?

Making your own canned beans in batches is very frugal. You can buy a small bag of beans, equal to 2 cups, for $2. For smaller sized beans like pinto or black, this equals to about 4 to 5 pints (cans) of beans when cooked. For larger sized beans like kidney, this equals to 5 pints (cans) of beans when cooked.

That’s a huge savings and quite an incentive to make your own BPA-free cans of beans.

  • Step 1. Soak your beans overnight.

    Image 1 of 6

    Step 1. Soak your beans overnight.

  • Step 2. Drain and rinse your beans.

    Image 2 of 6

    Photo: Diana Bauman

    Step 2. Drain and rinse your beans. It's so easy to do you can get your kids involved.

  • Step 3. Boil the Beans

    Image 3 of 6

    Photo: Diana Bauman

    Step 3. Add your beans to a stockpot and cover with 2 inches of water. I generally add sliced onions to the pot as well to my black or pinto beans.

  • boiling-beans

    Image 4 of 6

    Step 4. Bring to a boil on the stovetop and remove any scum that floats on top. Lower the heat to low and allow to simmer for 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours or until tender.

  • Steps 5

    Image 5 of 6

    Photo: Diana Bauman

    Step 5: Once the beans have softened, using a slotted spoon, add the beans to mason jars allowing 2 inches of head space. Once you have separated all of the beans, add the cooking liquid to cover.

  • jars of beans

    Image 6 of 6

    Photo: Diana Bauman

    Step 6: Allow the beans to cool completely, preferably in the refrigerator, before freezing or the glass will crack. Then place your mason jars in the freezer without the lids on. This will allow the volume to expand.

To Season Or Not To Season

This is where your preference comes in: some season, some don’t.

I usually don’t since I add my seasonings, including salt, to the beans when I use them in particular dishes. These are just my quick, go-to beans.

Some people, however, will add some olive oil and saute some onions and seasonings in their stockpot before adding the beans and water to cook. Experiment, have fun!

Diana Bauman

Diana Bauman created A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa to preserve her family's traditional Spanish recipes. She is an advocate of our local foods movement and spends her time urban homesteading and blogging about whole (REAL) foods.

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