Let's face it, you've undoubtedly heard about the worries over BPA. While the effects of this endocrine disrupter are still up for debate, I am trying to minimize my family's exposure to it. One of the common items where BPA is found is in the lining of canned goods. If you buy only organic canned goods, you may still be exposing your family to this chemical. The organic certification is related to the food item itself, not the packaging.
As a vegetarian, I find myself using beans often in my diet as a lean source of protein, fiber, and iron. They are most often, unfortunately, found in cans. Because of this issue, I have decided to buy dried beans in bulk and cook them at home. It is really very easy - about as easy as opening a can!
All you need is a crock pot and time! That's the hardest part - remembering the night before you need them. Simply take the dried beans and rinse them under cold water.
Then you place them in your crock pot and fill it with water. You will need more than you think as the beans will double in size and you want them completely submerged the entire time they cook. My 1.5 quart crock pot will easily cook 1 C dried beans with the water filled to the very top. Plug it in and let it cook overnight (about 8 hours).
The next morning, they will look like the above picture. Just drain them and you are ready to go! An added bonus of cooking your beans at home is the ability to minimize your salt intake. All canned beans have added salt (just check the label!). Now, none of the beans my family eat have added salt. It is healthier for all of us!
The pinto beans I cooked for this post were used for my frozen bean and cheese burritos that I always have on hand for my three year old (I will post that recipe later). Remember, cooking beans at home means less exposure to BPA, less salt in your family's food, and less energy used to make, transport, and recycle a tin can. Give it a try!