Living a Zero Waste lifestyle does not mean you need to spend all of your free time working on food. At the beginning of this journey, I was always in the kitchen. I didn’t complain too much, since I genuinely enjoyed it, however, now I have other projects to work on and I want to spend the minimum amount of time in the kitchen. Along the way, I’ve learned and even developed a few tricks to help cut down the time needed to live a Zero Waste lifestyle.
Today, we work on dried goods. Re-hydrating beans (and chickpeas) and storing them so they’re as easy to use as the canned variety in less than 13 minutes of hands on work.
First, rinse off the dry beans in a colander and add to the pot. Avoid the idea of measuring your beans; since it’s not a recipe, you don’t need to worry about exact numbers. Also, the more you make in the moment, the more time you’ll save! The more beans you add, the more water you’ll need. Leave at least 2-3 inches of water above the beans. They WILL bloat and soak up all of that water. Add a pinch of salt and cover the pot with a lid. Bring to a boil on high heat. Once the beans come to a rolling boil, drop the heat to a minimum. I leave it on 2 for close to 2 hours. Test the beans once every 30 minutes or so, just to make sure they do not overcook. Let them just do their thing and go on about your day.
Total HANDS ON time: 5 minutes including checking for the texture
Once they’re fully cooked, remove from heat. Strain and rinse the beans in a colander. Let them sit in the strainer until all the excess water drips off. While they’re dripping, line a baking tray (or 2 depending on how many beans you’ve made) with parchment paper. I use a compostable one, so after I’ve used it to it’s fullest, I can add it to the compost bin. After they’ve full dripped, lay them in a single layer on the baking sheets and let them cool fully. Leave them out of the way so you can go on with your day.
Total HANDS ON time: 3 minutes
When they’ve cooled down to a room temperature (should take about an hour or less), pop them in the freezer as is and let them freeze fully overnight.
Total HANDS ON time: maximum 2 minutes if you include checking their temperature
The next day, break up the beans with your hands and add them to jars. Put them back into the freezer.
Total HANDS ON time: 3 minutes
That’s it! You’re finished! Although it was overnight, you only spent about 13minutes of actual work on them. Now that they’re completely hydrated and ready, you can use them for last minute meals whenever you want. Also, it removes any guesswork for measuring dry beans and attempting to figure out the conversion to the measurement of plumped beans. I always struggled with that; but since I’ve started this process, I never have to guess anymore! Also, since they’re prepped and on hand in the freezer, it’s just like having canned beans at hand. Except without the plastic lined tin and questionable preservatives. Now go on, bring your jars and buy the dried beans for a fraction of the cost and work it out so they’re better than canned! Enjoy!