The Daily Feed: In Praise of Dried Beans

For as long as I remember, whenever I’ve craved beans I’ve popped open a can. As one of the most shelf-stable, reasonably-priced, and nutrient-packed foods available, canned beans have always rated high on my list of pantry staples. 

But I’ve changed my tune, embraced my 70s granola-loving heritage, and come around to the pleasures of dried beans.

The reasons are simple: dried beans are cheaper, more varieties are available, they taste better, they’re lower-sodium, and the effort required to get them from the counter to my belly isn’t as labor-intensive as I’d feared.

This isn’t to slam canned beans. I’ll always stock them for last minute meals and value their versatility. But with the barest whiff of forethought, I can set a few handfuls of pretty beans in a water-filled bowl to soak overnight. In the morning, I toss the old water, cover the beans with new, and set them to boil. An hour or so later, or less, depending on the amount and variety, I have cooked beans. Oftentimes I’ll even use the slow cooker, set to HIGH.  (Pressure cookers work, too.)

Head to your natural foods store, your favorite market, or find an online purveyor of heirloom beans. Explore. Experiment. Eat.


Cheryl Sternman Rule is a widely-published food writer and the voice behind the blog 5 Second Rule.

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