Hey there TSPeeps! I was inspired to write this post after recently watching a segment on the Today Show about Sardinian people. It feautured their beautiful lifestyles and how there are more 100 year old men there than any other place in the world. Holy longevity, Batman! I suppose this would be a perfect time to give Ryan’s grandma a shout out. This July she turns 100! Incredible, right? It is not everyday someone you know turns a century old. The kids are all freaked out because I told them we are having a bomber of a party to celebrate her 100th year on earth. William, my anxiety case, says, “Mom, a party might be too much for Great Grandma! She’s too old mom!” I am thinking to myself, sweet Jesus, maybe they are right because I am insisting we get a parade. Where was I? Sardinia. Among a number of incredibly great qualities about their lifestyle, beans are considered a major contributing factor to their amazing health and longevity. I decided to dig deeper into the bean world. I have been judging canned beans for some time now and was curious to know what the truth was behind these little tiny nuggets of goodness. This is what I learned.
Nutritional Value: Dried vs Canned
Have no fear! Whether you are eating canned or dried beans, the nutritional value is pretty similar. Either option are high in protein, quality fiber, and low in fat. Because of the way canned beans are prepared, they will have a higher sodium content, but overall, nutritional value is not compromised during the canning process. I myself am a dried bean gal, but I always have a can of chickpeas on hand. I am obsessed with chickpeas and will eat them any chance I get.
Here is the deal, if you are looking for convenience, then canned beans it is and I am not going to beat you up over it. They are good for you any way you eat them. If you are like me and have an affinity for the natural, more eco friendly version, you are going to be cooking with dried beans. Personally, I don’t think there is an argument between the consistency of a dried bean vs a canned one. Dried beans hold their shape and don’t turn into my least favorite word, pus. Of course, in a pinch, canned beans are where it’s at. Whatever bean you choose, choose something. We should be eating them daily. If you choose dried, there will be a little time management and planning involved. Nothing real strenuous. We are talking about placing beans in a pot of water. Just takes some patience and prep is all. There are a couple of methods out there for cooking beans. This is the process I follow.
Steps for cooking beans
Step 1: Rinse your beans well. I put mine in a colander, running warm water over them as I mix them around with my hands.
Step 2: Soak beans over night. Cover beans with about 2 inches of water and let them do their thing.
Step 3: Rinse the beans and be sure to go through the beans and remove any pebbles or clumps of dirt.
Step 3: Cook the beans. In a soup they all take about 40 mins to an hour and a half (depending on the size) to fully cook. Add the beans to a pot of water, bring to a steady boil and then reduce to a simmer for an hour or more.
Guess what? You can freeze your beans! After you cook them, place your unused beans on cookie trays and put in the freezer for 15 minutes. Remove them from the freezer, place in a freezer safe container, and return to the freezer to use as needed. There is your handy dandy time saving tip. When you are cooking beans, make a ton! Just freeze em!
Benefits of Dried Beans:
The benefits of dried beans is less about the nutritional value and more about packaging and your pocket book. If you choose to buy these beans in the dried state, you are going to save money. Your options for purchase include buying bulk, which is always cheaper, or just plain ole dried. No matter how you slice it, dried beans will always be the cheaper option. For the frugal person always looking for a way to save a buck, here is another dollar in the bank. Wahoo! But that is not all. Buying beans dried and not canned reduces your exposure to BPA or Bisphenol. This bullshit chemical is found in most can liners and studies are linking it to cancer. Consuming dried beans means you will also be leaving your green foot print and less cans equals less waste. #saveourplanet
Benefits of Canned Beans:
Canned beans are convenient and a very affordable, should be staple, with a dose of BPA. Sorry I couldn’t help myself.
Seriously, beans are a food that should be a staple in everyone’s kitchen. These Sardinian folk know a thing or two about living incredibly healthy, long lives and if getting to live a long and healthy, beautiful life means eating something delicious every single day, then I’m game! I think I am going to whip this soup up right now, as a matter of fact. Perfect day for some beans!
Now go make something healthy and enjoy every single morsel of it! xo