Holy Frijoles!

Refried Beans

Refried beans are one of the most beloved of foods in my house.  I love how inexpensive, nutritious and simple they are. I make my own for a number of reasons.

#1 They taste better. Much better.  The first time I made them, I couldn’t believe beans could taste so good.

#2 They are more nutritious. I use copious amount of butter which if you’ve been following me on Facebook or here for a while, you’ll know is actually a super food and not the villainous cause of heart attacks that we’ve been falsely lead to believe.  The saturated fats in butter help you utilize fat soluble vitamin in the food you add it too and butter itself is a rich source of beta carotene, vitamins A, D and K.    I don’t need to worry about BPA’s from the can and Pinto beans are a good source of B vitamins and magnesium which I apparently could use more of in my diet.

#3 They are cheaper to make than to buy.  If you are following a real food diet and are overwhelmed by how expensive grassfed beef and milk can be, things like making your own beans can help offset those extra expenses.  Instead of $1 to $2 for a 16 oz can of beans, it can be as cheap as $0.33 to $0.52 for organic beans.  1lb of dried beans makes about 6 cups cooked beans which is equal to about 3 cans.  Using beans can also help extend your meat.  Instead of ground beef tacos, I make ground beef and bean tacos and can get double the amount of food.  A family of 6 can easily eat 2lbs of beef in tacos.  I can get away with using 1/2 to 1lb of beef if I extend it with beans.  Rice and beans makes a great cheapo meal (you can hide a lot of veggies in rice and beans with salsa or bell peppers chopped finely).

I make them out of different beans, though pinto beans are the most traditional.  Black beans make a tasty refried bean and if you are on the SCD or GAPS diet, white beans are actually really good this way too.   The following recipe is for 1lb of beans but you can adjust the recipe for more.  I like to cook up a bunch at once and freeze or can the extra.

Preparing Your Beans: Soaking or Sprouting

There are 2 different ways to prepare your beans to cook.  You can soak your beans or sprout them.  If you find you have difficulty digesting beans, I recommend you sprout them as it makes them easier to digest.  Sprouting them is a way to predigest them.  To either soak or sprout them, place beans in a nonreactive bowl and cover with water.  If you are using black beans, add about a tbsp of apple cider vinegar or whey.  The beans will expand significantly so use lots of water.  I check on them and add more water if the beans start to rise above the water level.  After about 24 hours, you can either move to the recipe and cook them or you can drain the water and sprout them.

To sprout just drain the water off and cover to keep moist.  You’ll want to rinse and drain the beans twice a day until you see little sprouts form.  It can take usually 2-3 days.  At this point you can cook them.

Refried Beans

  • 1lb beans, soaked or sprouted
  • water to cover

In a large saucepan add beans and cover with water.  This can also be done in a slow cooker.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about 4 hours.  Add more water as needed.  Don’t worry about adding too much, you can drain off any extra when the beans are finished cooking.  Remove from heat and drain off extra liquid (save liquid if you plan on canning them).

Melt butter in a large saucepan.  Add cumin seeds and toast until fragrant.  Add drained beans and salt.  Mix well.  You can either leave the beans whole or mash them with a potato masher.  My kids like the beans smooth so I’ll add a little of the liquid from the beans and blend them with my stick blender (if you clicked on the link, did you see the fuchsia blender?  How cool!).


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8 comments to Holy Frijoles!

  • Leanne

    Hi- I just found your blog through the commonsense homesteading facebook link; great blog!
    I love beans but have had trouble digesting them recently – thanks for the info regarding sprouting them! I would like to can some beans with the end goal of having refried beans. Could I sprout them and then can them? Have you tried that method? I know you can’t process (mash, blend) and then can them but I’m curious if you’ve pressure canned sprouted beans?

    Thanks – I’m off to delve into your blog!

    • Melanie

      I’m glad you found me too! I have sprouted and canned them before and they turned out great. I hope sprouting makes it easier for you to eat. I would really miss eating beans.

  • Veronica

    How do you can beans? Do you post about that on your website? I just got a canning kit this year 🙂 I usually just freeze beans after I make them in the crock pot.

    • Melanie

      I don’t have any instructions for canning as I’ve just starting learning myself 🙂 I just followed the directions that came with my pressure canner. Mine says to process them at 10lbs of pressure for 90 mins for quart sized jars. I used to just freeze but my freezer is full of bulk meat purchases now and no room for beans 🙂

    • Leanne

      Veronica – I found the instructions on helpful.

  • Kathleen

    I have been making my own homemade beans for years. The way I make them more digestible is to add a few shakes of meat tenderizer. The papaya powder in the meat tenderizer breaks down the beans, releasing the gases just like it does to tough cuts of meat. I also add some green chili salsa to make them spicy. My family and friends LOVE them that way!

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