How-to: Dehydrating Beans (Legumes)


Pinto, Kidney, Black, Fava, Garbanzo, or White Bean Varieties


Why dehydrate cooked beans? Dehydrating cooked beans allows you to use them in quick meals when you do not have time for the long soaking and cooking process beans may take or you are camping or backpacking and need quick rehydration of this protein-packed addition to your meals.

Beans add protein and other nutritional benefits to backpacking meals. The starch in them is digested slowly providing a steady release of glucose. This provides energy for the day. Dehydrated beans do not need long soaking or cooking times and a large amount of precious water as the raw dried beans do. The cooked dehydrated beans can be rehydrated with boiling water to cover in a pan, a bowl, or even a thermos for no-fuel rehydration on the trail.

Dried Beans

Home-cooked and dried beans (black, red, kidney, etc.) can stay hard when you try to rehydrate them. That is because they may have sat on a shelf in a grocery store for years. Old beans do not rehydrate well no matter how you cook them.

Canned Beans

Canned beans need no cooking and rehydrate a bit better. On the other hand, canned beans have more of a tendency to split open when dehydrating and can be salty tasting. If you decide to use commercially canned beans rinse them well and just load onto your dehydrating trays.

Pressure Cooked Dried Beans

I have also included Instant Pot directions for pressure cooking beans as well for Dried Beans, Legume and Lentils. I did try one batch and it worked well, but there were still split beans in the dehydration process. They, however, rehydrated a bit faster than the cooking of the beans listed below.

I have found the following method of preparing the beans the best for keeping them whole while still rehydrating well.

For instructions to make Bean Flours, see How-To: Making Bean Flours.


Cooking Beans

Wash, clean out foreign debris, and soak beans in three times their volume of cold water for 6 hours in the refrigerator. (Black-eyed peas, lentils, and split peas do not need soaking.)

Rinse in cool water, drain, rinse and place in a heavy metal pot with three times as much fresh water as you have beans. Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda per cup of beans.

Simmer 60-90 minutes (depending on the bean size) cooking until JUST TENDER. You need to make sure you don’t break the skin as you are cooking. Do NOT overcook beans. Always test a few beans in case they have not cooked evenly. When you stir your beans, use a rubber spatula so it won’t break them up. A gentle hand is required. Beans are done when they can be easily mashed between two fingers or with a fork. Your beans should not burst their skins, otherwise they will fall apart when dehydrating.

Drain the hot beans and rinse under cool running water to wash off any sediment/starches.


Dehydration

Spread on dehydrator trays with mesh inserts in a single layer.

Dehydrate at 115°F/45°C for 6 to 12 hours or until crispy dry. I have found this lower temperature allows the beans to stay more intact and not split their skins. Keep an eye on them and remove from dehydrator as soon as they are dry. To test dryness, beans will crumble when crushed between your fingers and the flakes will feel dry.

Allow to cool and store in airtight container(s) away from heat, humidity, and light.


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