Canned vs home cooked beans




Beans are highly nutritious - they're are an excellent source of healthy plant protein. Canned and home cooked beans are the options available when you go grocery shopping. Which one do you prefer/purchase, canned or home cooked beans? I use both beans but prefer home cooked beans and as a result, use it more often.

Examples of some beans are:
black beans
pinto beans
chickpeas
kidney beans
black-eyed peas


Canned vs home cooked beans



CANNED BEANS

What are canned beans?
Canned beans are dried beans that have been cooked and packaged in a can.

These days lots of people are using canned beans simply because it's fast/convenient. They don't require cooking but price wise it's more costly. Some varieties of canned beans can be healthy whereas others can be unhealthy. Some unhealthy varieties contain lots of unhealthy ingredients like:
  • sodium (salt)
  • sugar
  • fats (lard, butter, animal fats)
  • other harmful ingredients
Additionally, some manufacturers are using BPA cans to package their beans. As a result there are health risks associated with the use of these BPA cans.

BPA stands for Bisphenol A. This is an industrial chemical that is used in the production of the plastic lining that manufacturers use to line the cans. The plastic lining is used to prevent the cans from corroding and affecting the food package in it. BPA is an endocrine disruptor which means that it can interfere with the hormone system.


Tips on avoiding BPA

  • Cut back on canned beans/discontinue using the ones that are packaged in BPA cans
  • Don't heat the BPA can

Another disadvantage of using canned beans is that canned beans are not as tasty as home-cooked beans. This, however, can depend on the brand that you purchased.

If you're going to use canned beans then you can:
  • check to see if they contain the unhealthy ingredients that I've mentioned above. If they do then you should also check the ingredients list to see how much of unhealthy ingredients per serving they contain
  • purchase low-sodium/sodium-free ones
  • purchase fat-free/reduced fat ones
  • buy the healthy brands
  • discard the liquid that it came in and rinse thoroughly to remove as much salt as possible. Rinsing reduces the sodium in the beans so always rinse before cooking or serving.
  • purchase canned beans with labels that say BPA- free/ use BPA - free cans of beans


HOME COOKED BEANS

Home cooked beans are dried beans that you purchase and cook. The biggest disadvantage of dried beans for most people is that it takes a long time to cook/time-consuming. I consume cooked beans more than canned beans because I have an easy method to cook them which I'll share with you. Home cooked beans are healthy, taste better and have a better texture than canned beans.

Tips
  • Cook them faster with a pressure cooker
  • Another tip is to prep them ahead of time. Make a big batch of them and portion them and freeze. Alternatively, I like to cook them on a weekly basis also. So I'll only cook the amount that I'll use for the week and refrigerate it.
  • With home cooked beans you control what you put into it like sodium. Sometimes I'll put some salt and sometimes I won't or I'll use a reduced amount. You can also flavor it however you'd like or with what you'd like.


Recipe


Ingredients

- dried beans of your choice
- salt to taste/ to your liking (you can omit it if you'd like, I do most times)
- water to cover the beans


Instructions

  1. Soak your beans in some water over night (or for a minimum of a couple hours). The water should cover the beans and if any time during the soaking process the water has dried out add more water to cover the beans.
  2. Wash/rinse the beans.
  3. Place your beans into a pressure cooker, pour water to cover the beans and close it.
  4. You can add additional water if needed during the cooking process.
  5. Cook/pressure the beans in the pressure cooker until they are soft or done to your liking. 
  6. Strain the beans at the end of the cooking time through a strainer/colander and discard or keep the cooking liquid.
  7. Place the beans into containers and store however desired (refrigerate or freeze).
  8. Defrost/heat when ready to use.


Additional cooking notes

- I use a pressure cooker to cook my beans in because it shortens the cooking time tremendously - they cook faster (under an hour). If however, you don't have one you can use a pot.

- You can cook one type of bean at a time or a combination of beans but this will depend on the individual cooking time of each bean. So if you have two beans with different cooking time, place the beans with the longest cooking time into the pressure cooker first and when it is left with the cooking time of the other bean to cook place the other bean inside to cook along with it.

- The soaking process softens the beans and they cook even faster. After they have finished soaking your nails can stink into them. It speeds up the cooking time in a pot too but obviously, the pot method will still take longer to cook than the pressure cooker method.

- If you're cooking more than one bean then you should soak them separately. This is necessary because they are going to go into the pot at different times. You can soak beans together that has the same or around the same cooking time.

- You can even add seasoning to them (which I do).

- Wait until the last minute to add the salt as it slows down the cooking.

Conclusion
When you're trying to live a healthy life you have to consume the healthiest foods. I try to avoid canned foods that are unhealthy. In this case, both home cooked and some canned beans happen to be the healthiest ones.

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