My Thoughts On Instant Beans:
THRIVE Life (formerly Shelf Reliance) introduced their Thrive Instant Beans back in February 2011 at the same time that they introduced their Ice cream and Yogurt. And I have to say, I was just as excited about the beans as I was for the two other tasty treats!
My husband does not like beans, so I don’t often use them. But I am a HUGE fan, so this has been a bit problematic… I’ve given up chilies and bean soups, but I like to have beans when I make nachos or burritos or fajitas etc. I’ve tried canned beans, but I don’t eat the whole can myself so this results in waste. Plus, I’m not a huge fan of the taste and they are less nutritious than the dry beans. But since dry beans take SO LONG to cook, I rarely make them.
So, personally, I love the instant beans b/c I am able to add tasty, nutrient rich beans to my meals in minutes without any waste! They’ve saved my marriage! (haha)
A Few Facts:
Beans are a nutritional powerhouse. In fact, they are found in two places on the USDA’s Food Guide Pyramid – with high-protein foods, and also with vitamin-rich vegetables. They provide protien, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. They provide potassium, calcium and folate. They are also cholesterol free, and low in fat! For these reasons, they are an excellent addition to your food storage.
However, beans can be problematic in your food storage or home store. Dry beans take a significant amount of water, time, and fuel to make them edible.
- First, you have to soak them in cold water for 8-10 hours or boiled water for 1 hour
- Then, you discard the soaking water
- Next, add 3 cups water for every 1 cup of beans and bring it to a boil, then simmer for 1-3 hours adding more water as necessary.
That is a lot of water, time and fuel! Those are three commodities that would be very precious in any type of real emergency situation.
Some people, aware of this issue, choose to store canned beans instead. But canned beans do not contain all their original nutrients and do not have a very long shelf life.
So, enter Instant Beans! Instant beans are similar to instant rice. They have been parboiled and then freeze dried. The beans are whole beans, but they are very brittle, so you do end up with some broken pieces and some powder at the bottom of the can.
You have two options for making them edible, both of which take far less water, time and fuel than regular dry beans:
- Option #1: Soak in cold water for 2-4 hours
- Option #2: Add 2 cups water to every 1 cup beans, bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.
Simmer them just a few more minutes and them mash them for great refried beans
I store and use THRIVE Instant Beans. As such, everything else I mention below will be about THRIVE Instant Beans.
In the interest of full disclosure, I also sell these beans and will make a small commission if you purchase them after clicking through those links. You can read more about that here.
1 dry cup beans + 1 1/2 cups water boiled for 20 minutes = about 1 regular 15-16 oz can beans
Price vs grocery store?
Just over $1.00* per 15-16 oz can of prepared beans when purchased in a #10 can.
*Current through Oct ‘12.
Pantry Can: About 3.5 cups dry beans or 3-4 cans canned equivalent
#10 Can: About 12 cups dry beans or 10-12 cans dry equivalent.
Case: Six #10 cans (72 cups powder or 54 cups fresh equivalent). Save an additional 5% when you purchase it in a case
30 years unopened and 1 year opened.
5 Minute Creamy Enchilada Soup
Are the instant beans whole beans or bean powder or something in between?
Tom, the instant bean are whole beans, but because they are pre-cooked and then freeze dried, they are very brittle, so you do end up with some broken pieces and some powder at the bottom of the can. Great question! I will add that info to the main body of the post.
And sorry my response was so delayed. I was in Costa Rica for a week and I’m just now getting caught up!
I often grind dried beans into a flour to add as a “stretcher” like in a meatloaf. If I used the instant beans, should I hydrate them a bit before adding? My thinking is the instant beans are drier than regular dried beans and might remove moisture from the dish, making the dish drier.
Does that make sense? Any opinions?
Thanks for the help!
If you usually add just dry bean powder, I don’t think it’d be much different. The instant beans actually take a LOT less water to hydrate than regular dry beans do. Do you add water when you add regular ground beans?
No, but regular dried beans still have around 20% moisture – maybe a bit less from the heat from friction when grinding.
Since the instant beans are freeze dried, I’d assume they’re closer to 0% moisture so could benefit from adding some in.
Of course, I could just be over thinking this 🙂
I hope you like them as much as I do Betty!
I think instant beans are a great idea. In an emergency , you might not the the resources to boil beans for hours. I'm gonna give them a try.