Let me just say right off the bat that there is nothing fried about these beans. But, hey, it's what we call them, and it's all good.
These are great beans for your tacos, burritos or lettuce wraps. I would definitely have to say they are better than the canned stuff filled with BPA from the can's lining and other weird stuff that shouldn't be in beans!
First of all, let's go through bean basics.
1. The fresher your beans are the faster they will cook, and the softer they will be. If you have beans that have been in storage for longer than 5 years, I would let your 3 year old use them for a fun paper and glue craft. :)
2. Raw, dry beans are way cheaper than the canned stuff that's already cooked. You get so much bang for your buck with beans, there really is no reason why you shouldn't cook your own. I usually find them on the bottom shelves in the Mexican aisle of the grocery store.
3. It's really easy to cook beans. The hardest part is remembering to do it with enough advanced time. The good thing is you can double the amount of beans you want to soak easily then freeze the leftovers.
4. If you really want to get serious about cooking your own beans and having a staple for your long-term food storage, check out The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' provident living page. There you can find places where you can donate your time to canning many different kinds of staples including wheat, sugar, pasta, dry milk, beans, etc. (You still have to buy the cans.) Or you can order some things online. This is especially helpful for those in rural areas or with busy lives. I've done it both ways. The online ordering is easy and convenient. Going to can my own food was fun and gave me a sense of ownership for what I bought. You don't have to belong to the church to do any of it. It's for anyone and everyone.
Here is a look at my can cupboard:
I have beans, wheat, flour, milk, spaghetti, potato flakes, dried carrots, and oats in there now. The cans help the food stay fresh for years. Some things are only good for 2-3 years. Others, like the wheat, can last upwards of 20 or 30 years, unopened.
So, grab those beans that have been hiding out in your cupboard waiting for a good soak, and let's get started.
Super Simple Refried Beans
3 cups dried beans (You can use canned beans from the store if you want. Just skip to #7.)
2/3 cup water
1 tsp beef bouillon (I like Better Than Bouillon)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp onion salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1. Before you can cook beans you need to sort and rinse them. They are dirty and usually have rocks mixed in with them. Here are all the rocks I found in my two cups of beans. I was surprised at how many there were!
2. Start by soaking your beans. You can do this one of two ways: Put one cup dried beans in a large pot. Cover them with at least 3 cups of water. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight. Alternately, you can put your beans and water on to boil over high heat. Boil rapidly for two minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and soak for an hour.
3. Scoop out any beans that have floated to the top of your water.
4. Drain the beans and rinse them thoroughly.
5. Fill the pot again with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and gently simmer, uncovered, for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. If you have old beans they might need to cook longer.
6. Remove from the heat when the desired tenderness is achieved. Drain and rinse.
7. Put 2 cups beans, the water, and bouillon in your blender***. Blend until smooth.
8. Put 1 more cup of beans in the blender. Pulse until the desired chunkiness is achieved. I like a little bit of texture in mine.
9. In a saucepan, combine the pureed beans and spices. Stir and cook over medium heat until hot.
10. Serve in your desired form with fresh vegetables, cheese, and/or sour cream.
***I have made them before without the blender and just fork-mashed them with a teaspoon of onion salt and 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder. They were good that way, too!
For another great food storage recipe see Family Favorite Pancakes.
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