Boost Your Sustainability Skills with Beans

February 14, 2013

Food Preparation

beans for sustainability

The following article has been generously contributed by Rachel, an expert in food preparation. It has been published or republished with permission of the author. It does not necessarily represent the views of

Learning to rely on yourself for the things you need to survive can seem like a daunting idea. It doesn’t have to be. One of the simplest things you can do in your quest to become more self-reliant is to grow your own vegetables. This can be done anywhere no matter if you live in an apartment or have acres of land to plant a garden.

One key vegetable you should learn to grow are beans. These are fairly simple plants to grow and can have high yields, which is a major plus when dealing with small spaces. You will want to familiarize yourself with the different bean varieties and what grows best in your neck of the woods. Pay close attention to the growing needs to ensure you are successful.

Beans are a valuable source of protein, an essential part of the human diet. Not every bean you grow will be quite up to par, but don’t throw it away! Part of being self-sustained is learning to recognize everything has a purpose. If you are raising your own animals as part of your emergency plan, they would love those beans you don’t want to use.

bean plantsThe best part about choosing to grow beans is the fact there are a ton of different ways you can prepare the little guys. If you don’t want to grow your beans, that’s fine. They are regularly sold in bulk quantities and can be stored for long periods of time, if done properly. It may seem silly, but dried beans can get stale. You will know your beans are stale if they don’t soften up while cooking.

To avoid wasting beans, make sure to store them in a cool, dry place that is not directly exposed to light. Mylar food storage bags are a great way to keep out bugs, air and light that could ruin your beans.

There are numerous benefits to adding dried beans to your food storage.

  • They are inexpensive to keep.
  • A small portion of beans goes a long ways to making a full meal, limiting the amount of the more expensive foods needed to make a hearty meal.
  • Beans have the highest source of fiber and vegetable protein–major bonus!
  • If you don’t have any meat, you can combine beans with nuts and seeds to get the necessary amount of protein in your diet.

Cooking Your Beans

Beans take a while to cook. You can cut down the preparation time by soaking the beans overnight. Do not add baking soda to beans while they are cooking. It is a myth and only manages to pull out the valuable nutrients in the beans. Another key is not to add salt to the pot of beans until they are soft. Some people like to add a ham hock or bacon for flavoring. Ham bullion is also an option and can be easily stored

Extra Dried Bean Uses

Got lots of dried beans? You can easily use a coffee grinder to grind dried beans into a flour to be substituted into recipes. Try using soaked, cooked and pureed beans as an oil substitute when making brownies, cake mixes or even cookies can be made using the soaked beans as well.

Rachel Ballard is an expert in food preparation She believes that nutritious beans are a part of items for survival. She is also a contributor to Dan’s Depot.

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4 Comments on “Boost Your Sustainability Skills with Beans”

  1. quemela Says:

    Wow… I learned something new today. Did not know you could get flour and oil from beans. Great post!!!


  2. Sentient American Says:

    Instead of mylar bags, I use buckets I get from the local donut shop. They have a rubber gasket built in around the lid and are pretty airtight. They are also free and resealable, unlike mylar bags. And I buy some donuts when I pick them up, sometimes. I give the donuts away at the office.


  3. joe browning Says:

    This is another example of how sustainability is really just getting back to what was normal life for my grandparents generation. The family joke around the dinner table when my grandfather ate with us and beans were served was ” Beans, I know what they are” relating to the fact that beans were a necessary staple in rural life. Folks had beans to eat when little else was available.
    In my generation we got away from sustainable living when going to the grocery store was so convenient. We forgot, or my generation never learned to be able to provide for ourselves. We take it for granted that plenty of everything will always be available. What will we as a nation do if that ever comes to an end?


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