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Shop Your Pantry and Use the Beans

Do you have beans just sitting in your pantry gathering dust? Have you run out of ideas for using dry beans?

Look no further! Beans are a versatile food that can be prepared in many ways. Whether canned or dry, beans can be used to add flavor, nutrition and variety to your life.     

Dry beans are a useful food to keep in any pantry. One pound of dry beans costs about $2 and will provide about 1,500 calories and 100 grams of protein. If stored properly, dry beans can last about a year in the pantry. Keeping them in a cool, dry place in an air-tight container, such as a sealed plastic bag or glass jar, is important.

Using dry beans may be daunting because they require preparation and planning to use. However, if you are planning to use dry beans in a recipe, you only need to soak them a few hours before you’re ready to make the recipe. Here are some useful hints on how to prepare dry beans:

  1. Examine dry beans and throw away broken beans and foreign materials.
  2. Rinse the beans well in cool running water.
  3. Soak the beans. For every 1 pound (2 cups) of beans, add 10 cups of cold water to a pot. Bring the beans and water to a boil and boil for up to three minutes. Remove the pot from the stovetop and cover. Let stand for four hours.
  4. Drain and rinse the beans again under cool running water.
  5. To cook the beans, add beans to a pot and add fresh, cool water until the beans are just covered. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil to help prevent the water from boiling over. Bring the beans to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer beans until they are tender. Different types of beans take more or less time to cook. Generally, the beans will take one to two hours to cook until tender.
  6. Once the beans are tender, remove from heat and drain the water. Be sure to refrigerate the beans until you are ready to use them.
  7. Use your prepared beans in place of canned beans in any recipe.
  8. Remember, 2 cups of dry beans yield about 4 to 5 cups of cooked beans.

Soaked, cooked dry beans provide a nutritional advantage when used in your favorite bean-containing recipes. Cooked dry beans have less sodium. Canned beans often are canned with salt as a preservative. If you’re watching your salt intake, dry beans are a great alternative for canned beans.

Check out this resource from NDSU Extension at about the easy ways to prepare dry beans.

Beans are an excellent source of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. One cup of prepared (pinto) beans, has about 15 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat and 45 grams of carbohydrate. Beans are a great source of folate, iron, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus. If you’re thinking about using up the supplies in your pantry, beans are a great place to start to build a delicious recipe.


Rachel Landmark, Dietetic Intern,
NDSU Extension

Filed under: fca newsletter, beans, pantry

Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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