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Thread: Beans: Dried or Canned???

  1. #1
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    Question Beans: Dried or Canned???

    Do you use your beans canned or dried?

    I used dried for my home baked beans, but if I want to make a quick salad I just buy a can, rinsed it really well and in few minutes I have a salad ready to eat.

    I find that the taste of canned beans is not the same from brand to brand. Anyone of you experiencing the same thing?
    Helene

    ''In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is the sign of perfection.''
    -Curnonsky


    My Blog: La Cuisine d'Helene

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  2. #2
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    I almost always use dried.
    I have a few cans in the basement as "back up" but over all, I have about 10 or so varieties of dried to choose from.
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  3. #3
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    I rarely buy dried beans. Split peas and lentils yes, but beans I usually go for canned ... garbanzo, black, kidney, cannellini. I think some brands tend to have a slightly metallic taste. I usually buy Bush's or Goya. I cheat and doctor Bush's Original baked beans. A little bacon and applewood smoked bacon makes all the difference.

  4. #4
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    Usually dried unless I have some Eden Organics (they have a salt free variety). If it's not for me then I'll use canned that are drained and rinsed.
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by helene View Post
    I find that the taste of canned beans is not the same from brand to brand. Anyone of you experiencing the same thing?
    Yes, I've found that Bush's garbanzo beans are little pillows from heaven. Okay - that's a bit much but they are so much better than any other brand IMO. After getting a brand that had little rocky garbanzo beans I just can't do anything other than Bush's. (I branch out to other brands for other types of beans.)

    I use canned beans for almost everything. I recently tried my hand at a dried bean dish and they were terrible. The skins were all peeling and and the texture was awful. I don't know if they were just bad, old beans or what. I'm not giving up that easily though, I will try again with some different dry beans.

  6. #6
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    I use both. If I am making a pot of beans and rice (kidney, butter, black) I use dried. For soups etc. I use canned.

  7. #7
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    Now that I live at high altitude, I've been using canned. But I'm planning to ask for a pressure cooker for Christmas as that is supposed to be a great way to cook beans (and other food, too, I'm sure) at high altitude.

    I do try to rinse my canned beans. They are a great time saver. Along with canned tomatoes, I think there are a few healthy choices in the center part of the grocery store!

  8. #8
    Both.
    Dried for most soups and things that I put into the crockpot.
    Canned for quick sides for dinner, like a salad or quick saute.

  9. #9
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    Only use dried here. I cook up a big kettle, use some for dinner, and throw the rest in quart size servings in the freezer. I don't care much for the flavor and texture of canned beans and dried are much cheaper.
    Anne

  10. #10
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    I use both equally. I love cooking dried myself, but sometimes I want to make something and don't have the time to soak ahead of time (and I don't have good luck with the no-soak cooking methods), and so used canned (always very well-rinsed). Also, I only buy my dried beans from the health food store since I have found that the grocery store dried beans just don't cook up as soft and creamy. I think they tend to sit on the shelves longer than the health food stores beans do!
    "In France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport."
    --Julia Child

  11. #11
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    It looks like you all have me convinced that it's time to try dried beans again. I've always had terrible luck, even soaking them 24 hours before cooking. Dry, crumbly, unpleasant mouthfeel. But maybe I'll make blackbean soup this Sunday, using dried. Now can anyone tell me where the canned-dried conversion thread is?

    I'll still keep canned in the pantry, though, and am glad to see the reco's for Eden, which I've bought in the past, and Bush's which I never have. I almost always buy Whole Foods' store brand or Trader Joe's.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  12. #12
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    While it might cost you somewhat more, Canice, maybe it's time to branch out into heirloom beans from reputable suppliers?

    I've been toying with placing an order with these folks since I stumbled on their site a few days ago. Problem is, they have so many that sound interesting, it's hard to choose.

    Rancho Gordo - Heirloom Beans

    At worst, a lot of these would look awfully nice in jars as decoration!

    Bob

  13. #13
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    Oh, I'm game for trying the heirloom varieties, Bob! The Rancho Gordo name is very familiar to me, and no wonder...they sell at the Ferry Plaza farmers' market! I see they're also at Rainbow Grocery (amazing vegetarian co-op) that I intend to visit tomorrow, so that settles it! Certainly willing to give them a go!

    PS: I just read the list of restaurants they sell to...holy cow!!
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canice View Post
    PS: I just read the list of restaurants they sell to...holy cow!!
    No kidding, Canice! If they're good enough for French Laundy and Per Se, they're good enough for my humble Woodstock panty. Unfortunately, the nearest retailer is not close at all in Massachusetts, but I like that they have a flat eight dollar shipping rate, which would tempt me to throw a bottle or two of hot sauce in.

    The whole site is interesting. Browsing the recipes, I've already decided to make the Poblano-Corn soup as it just so happens I've got both roasted poblanos and scraped fresh corn in the fridge!

    Bob

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anne View Post
    Only use dried here. I cook up a big kettle, use some for dinner, and throw the rest in quart size servings in the freezer. I don't care much for the flavor and texture of canned beans and dried are much cheaper.
    I second this. I make up a huge pot, then freeze in quart (yogurt) containers with contents and dates written on the lid. I am always sure to add a bit more water if needed to completely cover the beans so they don't get frost bitten.
    I have switched over to using only dried beans once I found out that some canned beans add sugar, and unless you read the labels you can never be sure they aren't adding some form of meat.

    As for cooking, I use a modified Jack Bishop Method (AYIAVK). Put one pound dried beans in large soup/chili pot (I use a 5 qt. chili pot), go through to be sure and remove any pebbles or obviously old beans. Add water to cover by 2 inches (I fill to where the bolts are holding the handles on the pot). Then I add 2-3 bay leaves (note...DO NOT add salt at this point -- it will make the beans tough and they will not absorb the water). Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 2 hours (sometimes less, sometimes more). Stir occasionally and check to see if you need to add more liquid.

    I actually have stopped adding salt to the beans at all. We just sprinkle a pinch of salt on top before consumption ....that is really when you taste it anyway. I have been cooking my beans like this for the last year or two. This past week I made up three large pots (one black, one pinto, one great northern), and froze 15 quarts for use during the semester when I have little time to cook. I add lots of seasonings when reheating for meals.

    My husband (an avowed omnivore) says my beans are the best, even better than the "southern style" served around here with lots of salt and pork product.

  16. #16
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    So you don't have to soak the beans overnight? Just cover with water by 2 inches and boil/simmer? Really?
    I'm like Canice, I've tried several times and never had great luck cooking dried beans. I use only canned now. Is there a big taste difference?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by helene View Post
    Do you use your beans canned or dried?
    I use fresh beans more often than any other kind.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobmark226 View Post

    I've been toying with placing an order with these folks since I stumbled on their site a few days ago. Problem is, they have so many that sound interesting, it's hard to choose.

    Rancho Gordo - Heirloom Beans

    At worst, a lot of these would look awfully nice in jars as decoration!

    Bob
    Gee, thanks Bob I just ordered 7 lbs of beans!!!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by alicerh View Post
    Gee, thanks Bob I just ordered 7 lbs of beans!!!
    Great, Alice! Shall we compare Good Mother Stallard bean recipes in a week or two?

    That had to be the fastest online service of all time. I had a shipping notice in two hours. Either that or the bean business isn't booming.

    Bob

  20. #20
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    We eat rice and beans & I prefer Goya beans . I also use garbanzo Goya when making pigeon peas I use frozen Goya ones. For soups I use dried beans (Goya) split peas black beans.
    When I have time I make red beans from scratch (dried) with sofrito and pumpkin etc and freeze in smaller containers.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puppylove View Post
    So you don't have to soak the beans overnight? Just cover with water by 2 inches and boil/simmer? Really?
    I'm like Canice, I've tried several times and never had great luck cooking dried beans. I use only canned now. Is there a big taste difference?
    No, I don't soak them. I used to "follow the directions on the back of the bag" when I was a more inexperienced cook, never with good results. I am going to type in the section on "How to Cook Dried Beans" from Jack Bishop (pg. 369):

    " While most sources mandate an overnight soak for beans, I've found that this step can be skipped. Unsoaked beans do take about 15 minutes longer to cook than soaked beans, but I'll happily make that tradeoff for the spontaneity of being able to cook them without planning. Soaking does make them a bit more digestible, which can be a concern if you don't eat them often. For those of us who do, however, this doesn't seem to be such an issue -- the body gets used to processing their complex sugars and starches.
    I start beans in a pot with a fair amount of water and bring them to a boil. Once the water boils, I turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. Don't boil beans for a long time, or they are likely to burst. To ensure that they are fully cooked but not mushy, I let residual heat finish up the process. When they're nearly done, I turn off the heat, put the cover on the pot, and let them steep in the hot liquid until they are creamy. Without any agitation in the pot, the beans are far less likely to split. Also, I add some salt to the pot before I throw the cover on so the beans can absorb some seasonings. Don't salt the beans too early in the cooking process -- salt can make it more difficult for water to penetrate the skins.(bold mine)
    Every once in a while, I come across some beans that just refuse to soften. Evidently, they're so old they can't easily absorb water. If the beans look shriveled, don't buy them. Also, try to buy beans from a store that does a brisk legume business. I buy mine at a local natural food store."

    -- Jack Bishop, A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen 2004:369.


    I know others on the board have adopted this method...maybe they can share some testimonies?

  22. #22
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    I think there is a taste and texture difference. My husband often comments how "beautiful" the beans are when I am cooking them, compared to canned. Another impetus that made me change from canned was the increasingly frequent occurrence of hard beans (like they weren't quite cooked all the way) -- even when buying "high end" canned beans (if there is such a thing).

    I now equate buying canned beans with buying jarred pasta sauce -- only if I am in a pinch and/or they are on super sale (like a penny a can)!

    I know, I am a bean snob!
    Where is the self-proclaimed "Bean Queen' when we need her?????

  23. #23
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    I used to use a lot of canned beans, until I learned how much salt I was sneaking into my diet! Now I make a pound bag in the crock pot - just cover with water and simmer while I go about my weekend chores. I drain, rinse, let dry a bit, and freeze in a bag.
    "Is ice hockey hard? I don't know, you tell me. We need to have the strength and power of a football player, the stamina of a marathon runner and the concentration of a brain surgeon. But, we need to put all this together while moving at high speeds on a cold and slippery surface while 5 other guys use clubs to try and kill us. Oh, yeah, did I mention that this whole time we're standing on blades 1/8 of an inch thick. Is ice hockey hard? I don't know, you tell me. Next question."

  24. #24
    My heart is on the side of using dried, but had poor luck with kidney beans that prompted my gourmand son to suggest I use cans. I have learned a lot about poor batches, don't put salt in till the end, etc. I still keep both in cupboard and have been amazed at results with black eyed peas and will keep trying to start from dry. WHen I use canned beans I rinse them in cold water while they are in colander to remove part of the salt.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by tperes View Post
    even when buying "high end" canned beans (if there is such a thing).
    I think of canned organic beans as "high end" now, especially since they're becoming readily available in supermarkets here. In some cases, markets are having their own brand packed, at a buck/buck-and-a-half a can, which is considerably more because I usually buy canned beans on sale, usually two for a dollar.

    A couple weeks ago, the market only had organic pintos, which I use a LOT of, so I bought them, grumbling all the way. Turns out they're the best canned bean I ever had, great texture and outstanding flavor, and they're now my standard. I'm also going to try some of the other varieties, but my pantry bean stock is so big, it's going to be a while.

    BTW, I loathe Goya beans and will do anything to avoid them. The canning liquid is gross, and, IMHO the beans mushy and without a lot of flavor.

    Which reminds me: remember a few years ago, cooked beans were being sold, in plastic, in produce departments and that was being hailed as an improvement over canned. Apparently it was a no go. I wonder if they even exist anymore.

    Bob

  26. #26
    We buy TJ's canned black beans. Otherwise I usually get S&W's 50% less sodium canned beans. (various varieties) Not too bad in the sodium dept. 220mg per 1/2 cup serving. I also rinse the bean liquid from the canned beans.

  27. #27
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    Hammster, I don't know if you know (or care, for that matter) but TJ's canned black beans come from China. Whole Foods store brand -for the same price- are US-produced.

    I've had two occasions since this thread was started to use Strianese brand cannellini beans and they have the best texture of any of the canned cannellini I've bought. Strianese is probably better known for their San Marzano tomatoes, but these were a success for me. I also keep a couple of jars of AnnaLisa brand on hand, but they're pricey, so one of those things I pick up when they're on sale.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  28. #28
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    Oops, forgot the reason I came back.

    So I bought a pound of Rancho Gordo flageolet beans and tried to make the soup Bob posted. Owing to total lack of attention on my part, it was a failure. Armed with a reinforcement of canned beans, I prepared more flageolets a couple of days ago and they were lovely! Creamy texture, looked good, tasted good. I used them last night in a white bean and roasted garlic soup and I'm feeling sufficiently encouraged to make black bean soup next Sunday with the beans I bought at Rainbow. Think I need to make a stop at the Rancho Gordo stall at the market on Saturday!
    BTW, they have this galvanized steel bin on one of the tables with about 30 pounds of dried beans it, I guess all the many varieties they sell. I was so ready to plunge my hand into when I saw the little sign: "Go ahead and touch the beans. You know you want to." Irresistible, I guess.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  29. #29
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    I'm having a hard time, here in Comox, to find good canned beans. It was easier for me in Halifax to find them.

    I'm still looking for the best ones. I don't care how much I will pay, I just want good canned beans.

    Even dried beans are hard to find around here.

    My next trip to the States I will stock up.

    Thanks for all your comments.
    Helene

    ''In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is the sign of perfection.''
    -Curnonsky


    My Blog: La Cuisine d'Helene

    Twitter: @lacuisinehelene

  30. #30
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    I agree with the convenience of canned beans. I usually use the low sodium in every type of bean. It is so easy to put together a hearty bean soup quickly after work. This is the time of year to do that, weather-wise.

    I haven't cooked dried beans in about 10 years. I was never happy with the texture so maybe I will try the heirloom, too. Do you have to order a certain amount or any amount? I'm just cooking for two.

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