Frugal Food Series | Tip 1: Beans

Living in Canada is expensive.  What’s more expensive than living in Canada?  Living in Toronto.  With little wiggle room in our monthly budget, we have been using whatever maneuvers possible to save money.  And for us, it all starts in the kitchen.  In light of our tightened belt, I am writing a 10 part series to share the tips and secrets we’ve learned that get more bang for your buck with every grocery shop.  Mind you, if you know me well, these steps are only fruitful if they go hand in hand with eating delicious and nutritious food.  Who couldn’t use a couple extra dollars in their pocket, am I right?

So to start out the series I am going to share our crowning achievement in our money saving arsenal, how to easily cook and store dry beans.  We eat a lot of beans, from black bean tacos, heuvos rancheros, bean burgers, hearty bean soups, to hummus, beans make it into our diet every day.  They add substance, fiber, protein and a bunch of other stuff that I would know about if I was a nutritionist [I just know they’re good for you, ok!].   So beans are super cheap right?  You can buy a can of beans from any where from $0.80 to $1.50.  But the real money saver?


A bag of dry beans cost a little over a dollar, but they yield almost as much as 5 cans of beans.  And the way I make them is so easy and taste even better.  I’ve always felt frustrated when buying dry beans because when I followed the directions on the bag they never turned out well.  They were always too hard or too mushy.  They were more hassle than they were worth.  So here’s the trick, use your crock pot.  You can forget about them and they turn out perfectly.  Follow the recipe below, portion out your beans and freeze them.  I buy one bag of a different kind of beans each week to keep a variety of beans rotating in our freezer.

Money Saving Food Tips | Tip 1: Beans | Keeping WillowProcessed with VSCOcam with a5 presetMoney Saving Food Tips | Tip 1: Beans | Keeping Willow

Yep, beans are the magical fruit…in more ways than one.

How to Cook Dry Beans

One crock pot

1 bag of beans (let’s just use black beans for reference)
2 cloves of garlic
2 bay leaves
1 tsp ground cumin or 1/2 tsp whole cumin seed (I only use this for black beans)
2 T kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper

1. In the morning, before you leave for work or whatever you are doing that day, pour your black beans in your crock pot and fill it with water up to the top.  Don’t turn it on or anything.  Just let the beans soak all day.
2. Before you go to bed, drain and rinse the beans.  Add all of the above ingredients to the crock pot.  Fill with water until just below the brim.  Turn it on low. Go to sleep.
3. Wake up to a gorgeous aroma of perfectly cooked beans. Strain the beans, taking out the bay leaves and garlic cloves.  Put in a large tupperware container and place in the fridge to cool.  Go to work.
4.  When you get home, and the beans have cooled, portion out your beans into sandwich bags.  Put them in the freezer.  Use as needed, washing and reusing your bags each time– another money saving tip– you’re welcome 😉



7 thoughts on “Frugal Food Series | Tip 1: Beans

  1. Pingback: Frugal Food Series | Tip 3: Soup | Keeping Willow

  2. Pingback: Whole Wheat Challah Bread [Frugal Food Series | Tip 10: Grains] | Keeping Willow

  3. Pingback: New Things | Keeping Willow

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