Learn how to dehydrate beans, whether from fresh or frozen. It's very easy to do and green beans are certainly most people's favorite veggie—you know, at Christmas time—the green bean casserole!
Yes, they're fabulous! Try dehydrating green beans, yellow beans, and red waxy beans too. All are suitable beans for drying.
Yes, for fresh beans, follow our instructions here. Takes between 6 to 8 hours at 125°F to 135°F in your dehydrator.
Dehydrated beans are fantastic in homemade soups... I love them year round! Nothing tastes better than home-grown green beans, but for ease right now of getting some put away quickly, I use frozen green beans, straight from the bag—no prep necessary! I'm sure we've all used canned beans too when fresh beans are not available. How easy is that?
Canned beans require no cooking and rehydrate easier. Simply drain and dehydrate at 125° for six to eight hours. The beans will split open when dried. This helps when you rehydrate them in a meal - so it's not a bad thing!
I've been asked a few questions regarding how to dehydrate beans:
Dried beans that have been prepared at home will not rehydrate as quickly as canned beans. When dry, canned beans split open, but uncooked dry beans rehydrate better.
The most significant reason to dehydrate cooked beans rather than using raw dry beans is the cooking time. This would save time and energy in an off-grid scenario.
Beans frequently explode when they are dried, but they still taste delicious and offer high amounts of protein and other nutrients to backpacking meals. Dehydrating your own beans is a great way to save money and have more control over the quality of your food.
Green beans are high in vitamin A, Choline and vitamin C, followed by Folate and vitamin K. Green Beans rank high in these minerals: Potassium, Calcium, Phosphorus, Fluoride, and Magnesium. Trace minerals are Iron, Selenium, Zinc, Manganese, and Copper. There are also Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids in green beans.
Beans, when dried, such as Great Northern Beans, Red Beans, and Lima Beans are an excellent source of protein and other nutrients, making them a great addition to any backpacking meal.
However, they can be tricky to cook, and they often explode when dried, as mentioned above. Despite these challenges, they are a delicious and nutritious option for backpacking meals.
Admittedly, they are often hard to chew, and they can cause tooth damage if you're not careful. It's important to soak them overnight before cooking and to cook them until they're soft. You should also be careful not to bite into them too hard.
If you have any concerns, check with your dentist before eating dried beans.
If your frozen beans are clumping, let them sit in the kitchen sink, unopened, for about an hour. Or you can simply drop the unopened bag on the kitchen counter-top a few times to loosen them.
for me! (You can even use canned green beans in a pinch!)
If you're lucky enough to be growing your own beans, then please follow the instructions found in steps 1 and 2, coming up.
If using frozen green beans:
If using FRESH green beans:
Blanching helps the beans retain their lovely green color PLUS it helps crack their skins which, in turn, helps the beans to dehydrate more evenly. Otherwise, you risk getting 'case-hardening.' This occurs when the outside dries too fast, leaving the insides damp. Avoid that at all costs. You don't want to be eating bad beans!
If using canned beans, simply drain and rinse. Place directly on your trays; no need for a solid or non-stick sheet.
Shown above are some fresh string beans and dehydrated string beans.
When dehydrating your own fresh beans, it is important to start with clean, dry beans. Rinse the beans thoroughly and then spread them out on a clean surface to air dry. Once they are dry, you can begin the process of dehydration.
There are three methods of dehydrating beans:
Oven drying is quicker than the first two methods, but it can be less consistent. To oven dry beans, preheat your oven to its lowest setting (dry at 125 °F if your oven lets you set it that low) and then spread the beans out on a baking sheet.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and leave the beans to dehydrate for 12-24 hours, depending on the size and type of bean.
Now you know why I prefer using an electric dehydrator - I can set the exact temperature and be sure it meets and maintains 125 °F and don't have to wait a day.
If you're dehydrating beans for shorter-term storage and intend to consume them in a week or two, they may be kept on the counter or in your pantry in sealed containers or zip-top bags.
Simply allow them to cool after dehydrating (this is called conditioning) before sealing them inside an airtight container. We like using Ziploc bags or mason jars because they are reusable.
Mason jars are great for two reasons:
After you've dehydrated your beans, it's time to store them. Whether for long- or short-term storage, you need to use a food vacuum sealer so you can remove the air in your storage bags. I personally love the Foodsaver brand.
Rehydrate your dehydrated beans with clean cold water. Beans can remain a little tough, even after dehydrating them.
How to Rehydrate Dehydrated Beans
Soak the beans in clean cold water for at least four hours, or overnight. Dehydrated beans can be a little tough and brittle. However, they do make delicious snacks. See Farmgal Val's contribution a little farther down.
That's a great question with an easy answer: Prepare your beans by following the 'fresh beans' instructions mentioned farther up the page. Lightly toss your beans in salt. Place the beans on cookie sheets that are lined with parchment paper and dry in a regular oven on the lowest heat possible... or use a dehydrator!
This is another reason why I prefer to use a dehydrator... you know exactly what temperature to use, namely 125°F to 135°F for 6 to 8 hours. NOTE: place your salted beans on a dehydrator tray on solid sheets. This will keep the salt from falling down into the lower trays.
I tried to cook black beans once. Never again. Took far too long. I even tried pressure cooking but was too concerned about 'froth' blocking up the pressure cooker valve.
Now I use canned black beans all the time and love them in this Black Bean Soup recipe.
OK, I'm from the UK originally and we don't do green bean casserole. But after listening to hours and hours of begging and pleading from my hubby, I finally gave in. Glad I did!
Remember to re-hydrate your dehydrated beans first.
More tips on how to dehydrate beans: