Can The Cans

Dried beans are a key ingredient in any homesteader’s pantry. Maybe eventually I’ll get to the point where I’m growing black, adzuki and pinto beans in the garden and drying them myself, but today is not that day.

For now, I’m working to ditch the BPA lined, salt solution filled cans of beans. Most aluminum cans and bottles are lined with a substance including bisphenol A. The National Toxicology Program at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration both say they have “some concern” about potential health effects from BPA exposure. And it seems like just about every day there’s a new study linking BPA to serious health problems. We’re talking brain tumors and reproductive disorders.

If that’s not enough to make you can the cans, consider this: dried beans are less expensive than those packed in aluminum and look way cuter piled into jars and displayed on a bakers rack. Am I right?

And with so many types of beans out there, I’m clearly going to need a larger bean display area. A quick search of the online farm store from Purcell Mountain Farms in Idaho shows more than 100 types of beans ready to be shipped to my door at a moments notice. What have I been missing?

Before I place a massive bean order, I decide to use what I have. I’m thinking ahead. Soaking. Cooking. Preserving. And I’m making this:


Pork and Bean Salad

This may sound un-American (and downright rude so close to Independence Day) but I’ve never liked baked beans. I think they are cloyingly sweet. And sticky. And mushy. Instead, this 4th of July I’m dishing up this cold version. I’m using leftover pulled pork, but I imagine any chopped ham will do. And this recipe contains a combination of adzuki, black and pinto beans, but use what you like. This recipe makes enough for a large bowl…feel free to cut it in half.

Use this:

1 cup dried adzuki beans

1 cup dried black beans

1 cup dried pinto beans

3 cups shredded cooked pork

1/2 cup chopped garlic scapes (if they aren’t available, use green onions or chives)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tbsp fresh thyme

salt and pepper to taste

Do this:

Rinse and sort through beans, picking out any pebbles. Put beans in a pot and cover with water. Soak for 6 hours. Drain and rinse. Put beans back into pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 60-90 minutes, until beans are tender but not mushy. Drain any excess water and let cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper together. In a large bowl, mix beans, pork and garlic scapes. Pour dressing over salad and fold to coat. Refrigerate.


8 thoughts on “Can The Cans

  1. I make my own baked beans, sorry, but we like them, haha. But I didn’t know about BPA in the cans, I wonder what else they’re putting in cans that aren’t good for us. I like your idea of storing beans in glass canisters, think I’ll do that now, I’ve got more glass canisters with the old fashioned closer on top. Now I can use them and I can see that I do have dried beans and not keep buying them cause I think I’m out. It’s a shame you don’t like the baked beans, I’ve got a great recipe I was going to send you, oh well, can’t win em all. But guess who I’ll think of the next time I make them, it’ll be our secret Elizabeth.

  2. I like buying them dry and cooking them up in the slow cooker–easy breezy! I just freeze them in 1.5-cup servings (about a can’s worth). I also throw in some bay leaves. (I heard it prevents gastric issues, as does skimming the foam off the cooking beans). It’s great not having to wash the excess salt away!

  3. One more inconvenient truth about canned beans, Calcium Chloride is used as a firming agent. Now Calcium Chloride is one of your less nasty food additives (I use it in homemade pickles sometimes), but it keeps the beans from ever achieving their creamy unctuous potential. Hummus from a canned bean is never as creamy as hummus made from garbanzos you’ve soaked and cooked yourself. One more bean related thing, buy a pressure cooker and it will change your bean-cooking life. Lot’s of local farmers grow dry beans around here, BTW. I’ll hook you up.


  4. Thank you for sharing! I wasnt even aware of the BPA in cans, Im going to take that into consideration next time I go shopping for sure.

  5. After reading the above comments, I wish Sharon Pilsner would have put her recipe for baked beans on her comment because I would love a recipe for good home baked beans. I can;t believe you don’t like them. Maybe you just never had any really good ones. They’re not at all like the canned ones.

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