|6 X 500ml jars of refried beans about to go in freezer|
Best of all, refried beans are amazingly easy to make. But it took us a while to discover that fact.
When we first started eating vegetarian meals more often we bought all our beans canned as it is a convenient way to start when changing your eating habits. However, after a while we decided it was a pretty expensive way to go considering bulk dry beans are so cheap.
We gave up buying 398ml cans of refried beans ($2.50 - $3.50 each) and started buying bulk dry pinto beans (30 cents/100 gm).
Now I make 4 cups (1 kg x 30cents/100 gm = $3.00) of dry beans at a time, and get about 2 - 3 liters of refried beans. I put them in 500ml jars, then put the jars in the freezer.
For the price of one can of the store bought variety, I can make up to 3 litres (about 7 cans) of homemade refried beans. Plus I can make them exactly the way I like them, and I have control over the salt content.
I also like not consuming all the tin can packaging. I really just want the beans and not the cans, even though they would get recycled. My canning jars are reusable.
Homemade Refried Bean Recipe
4 cups dry pinto beans, picked over and rinsed
4 tablespoons olive oil
Seasonings to taste: cumin, chili powder, oregano, salt, (start with
Optional: a few squirts of Bragg Seasoning, Worcestershire Sauce, a couple of chopped chipotle peppers
- Place the beans in a large saucepan, and cover with an inch of water. Place over high heat, and bring to a boil. (Beans can be soaked over night first to cut cooking time - change water before cooking.)
- Turn down to simmer and cook till the beans are tender and the skins split when you blow on them (approx. 1.5 - 2 hours). Add water as required.
- Stir in seasonings during last 1/2 hour of cooking.
- Once the beans have cooked drain them of the liquid. Many people throw this out, but I keep it - there's nutrients in there! It also makes an excellent vegetarian gravy. I freeze bean cooking liquid in canning jars too.
- Return some of the liquid to beans and mash with a potato masher; use additional liquid as needed to achieve desired consistency. Add olive oil.
- Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning on the bottom of saucepan. Consistency should be spoonable, not pourable.
- Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
- Beans can be frozen in canning jars for easy use later. They will only keep for a few days in the fridge.
Enjoy your homemade meatless meals while you save money AND cut down on the consumption of resources.