Beans are filled with protein, fiber and vitamins and minerals like folate and iron.
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- Dried and canned beans are great food to keep on hand. You may want to stock up when they are on sale.
- Dried beans are usually cheaper than canned beans but take longer to cook.
- Canned beans are fully cooked and ready to use cold or heated.
- Bulk bins are a great place to find different kinds of dried beans. Buy just the amount you need.
1 pound of dried beans = 2 cups dried beans = 4 to 6 cups cooked beans
1 can (15 to 16 ounces) = 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups cooked beans
Store Well Waste Less
- Store dry beans in an airtight container in a cool, dark, dry place. Label with the date they were purchased and try to use within 1 year for best quality.
- Store cans of beans in a cool dry place. Look for a “BEST if used by” date on the can to help know how long to store them.
- If the can is leaking, bulging on the ends or spurts when opened, throw it away.
- Refrigerate cooked or opened canned beans in a covered container that is not made of metal. Use within 5 days.
- Although each type of bean is slightly different, you can swap one type for another in most recipes. Use what you have or buy what is cheapest or on sale.
- You can replace 1 pound of meat with 2 cups of cooked beans in many recipes.
- Drain and rinse canned beans to reduce the sodium by 35% or more.
- Beans have a high nutrient content and can be used either as a protein food or a vegetable.
Cook Dry Beans in Three Easy Steps
- Sort and Rinse—Sort to remove stones, seeds or damaged beans. Rinse well to remove dust.
- Soak—Soak to speed up the cooking time. Choose a long or quick soak depending on how much time you have.
- Long Soak—Cover beans with plenty of water (8 cups of water for every 2 cups of beans); soak for 6 hours or overnight.
- Quick Soak—In a large saucepan, cover beans with plenty of water (8 cups of water for every 2 cups of beans) and bring to a boil. Boil the beans and water for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and let them soak for 1 hour.
- Cook—Drain and rinse the beans. In a large saucepan, add fresh water to cover the beans by at least 1 inch. Bring the beans and water to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer until the beans are tender. Add water if needed to keep the beans covered with liquid during cooking. Cooking time varies for different beans, but is usually from 1 to 2 hours. Beans are done when you can easily mash them with a fork.
Tip: Wait until the beans are tender before adding salt or acidic ingredients such as tomato products, lemon or vinegar. If added too soon, these ingredients will delay softening of the beans.
When kids help make healthy food, they are more likely to try it. Show kids how to:
- find and remove small rocks or other seeds and plant parts from dried beans.
- use a colander to rinse dry or canned beans under cool running water.
- wash or chop vegetables.