It’s in the bag

Published May 24, 2015 by lynn k scott

Drop that can!  Oh, the convenience of it all.  Pick up a can of beans to use as a side dish or to use in preparing other dishes. I have come to tell you, there is another way. Did you know that all sorts of beans are sold dry and in bags? Amazing, right?

I never paid attention to bagged beans growing up.  My mother was less than a good cook.  It’s not being mean.  When the dog refused to eat her cooking, it was a validation that it wasn’t just us kids that didn’t like the food.  Just about everything she made came out of a can or was already processed.

Many moons later, as I made a commitment to myself to cook healthier, to avoid food allergens and chemical processing, I use dried beans exclusively in my cooking.  Granted, dried beans do require a few extra steps, but they are very tiny steps that yield much better results than anything that plops out of a can.

Last night, I put some navy beans in some water and soaked them overnight.  This morning, I dumped them into a colander and then added them to my crockpot.  This is my preferred method of cooking beans.  The crockpot is your friend.  If you don’t currently have one, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND picking one up.

When you utilize dried beans, you have the option of using recipes that suit your needs.  You get the opportunity of teaching your children to cook.  Crockpot cooking is still cooking.  After I added the beans to the crockpot, I diced up a small onion and added that too.

My daughter came into the kitchen and I let her help mix the sauce to pour over the beans.  I opened a jar of ketchup that I had previously canned.  Added the ketchup to some water, added some brown sugar, some molasses, a little apple cider vinegar, a bit of salt and pepper and let her whisk those ingredients together.

She poured the blended mixture over the beans and stirred to combine.  Then I had her place the lid on, set the crockpot to 6 hours and turn it “on”. This afternoon, we will have baked beans.  I will probably can several jars for use this summer.

My daughter really enjoys helping in the kitchen.  Making recipes like this teaches her about food, allows her to ask questions about the ingredients and she sees how raw ingredients come together to make a new dish.

The next time you are about to pick up a can of kidney, pinto, black or baked beans (just to name a few), think about making your own.  I’m sure you’ll be pleased with the results.

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