If you’re on a budget due to circumstances such as a ‘lockdown,’ learning how to cook dried beans in a pressure cooker or instant pot can make a dollar bill stretch a lot further to feed yourself or your family.
Beans are an inexpensive plant-based protein source, full of nutrients and fiber to feed beneficial gut flora in the colon. We need a healthy microbiome for a healthy immune system.
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The cheapest and healthiest way to eat beans is to buy dried beans, soak them for 12 hours to leach out some of the fermentable starchy molecules in the covering to reduce the gas-producing potential of beans.
Dried Beans can easily be stored in glass jars on your countertop or pantry and take up a lot less space than canned beans in kitchen cupboards. You can quickly cook up large batches of beans at one time and freeze any extra beans that you don’t use right away in reusable containers.
When you purchase dried beans, you are also producing a lot less garbage by not buying small amounts of beans in a can. To be even more environmentally friendly, you can take empty glass containers that are clean to health food stores that allow you to fill reusable containers or use a biodegradable paper bag.
During this time of “lockdown,” we are forced to go back to the “essentials,” and what matters. One of the positive outcomes of this lockdown is that pollution is already decreasing. We need to rethink how sustainable our lifestyles are the impact we are having on the environment, which impacts our health.
Reducing the amount of garbage produced by buying bulk dried beans without the “excess” packaging is one way we can do our part in creating a cleaner environment and healthier planet. Plus, dried beans store just as well as canned beans when stored in glass jars.
We can all do our part even in little ways and at the very least recycle any food packaging appropriately.
I was gifted a used pressure cooker by a lovely Indian lady, and it is a kitchen essential in which I love. If you don’t already have a pressure cooker or instant pot, it is a worthwhile investment that will save you money in the long run.
How to soak beans
Soaking and cooking beans from scratch is a lot easier than most people realize. All you need to do is place 2 cups of dried beans in a large bowl, then fill the remainder of the bowl with water so that the beans are covered with 2 inches of excess water above the beans. You will need a minimum of 3 – 4 cups of water.
Place the bowl on the countertop for 12 hours, and voila, your beans have soaked up all the excess water, which reduces the cooking time.
It takes less than one minute to prepare soaked beans from scratch. It is best to soak beans for 12 hours or overnight, but 6-8 hours is fine. If you need beans for dinner, start the soaking process in the morning.
Benefits of Soaking Beans
• Reduces cooking time
• Reduces enzyme inhibitors and improves the availability of the nutrients found within beans
• Reduces excess bloating and gas by leaching out the fermentable starchy molecules that are in the covering of beans
If you find that beans make you bloated, this can be due to an imbalanced gut microbiome or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Taking a digestive enzyme will help to break down the various fermentable fibers found in beans.
Ultimately beans are an excellent prebiotic for the beneficial gut flora. If you find yourself bloated or gassy after eating beans, add them in slowly or eat smaller quantities and be sure to chew your food to prevent bloating. Beans are full of different types of fiber for gut health that builds a diverse microbiome.
How to cook beans in a pressure cooker
After soaking 2 cups of beans for 6-12 hours, rinse the beans through a strainer with fresh water, then place in the pressure cooker with 4 cups of water to cover 2 inches above the beans. Secure the pressure cooker’s top, then cook on med heat until the pressure cooker’s whistle blows.
Once the whistle blows, turn off the stove and remove from the heat while letting the beans cook for another 15 minutes until the pressure cooker cools.
TIP – Do not open the pressure cooker lid right away as it is steaming hot. Wait until it cools down or after 15 mins run cool water over the pot before releasing built-up steam away from your face to release the pressure so you can open the lid.
Here is a budget-friendly pinto bean burrito recipe that can be made with pinto beans cooked in a pressure cooker.