Why would you need to dehydrate pinto beans?
It's true that pinto beans have a long shelf life without needing to dehydrate them. But, what if I told you that instead of having to cook your beans for two or more hours, you could cook them in 10-15 minutes? Not only that, but you would need much less water to cook them! That's right! In order to cook pinto beans properly, they should be soaked overnight before cooking. And, it is recommended to use three cups of water per pound of beans for soaking them. Then, once soaked, they should be rinsed with clean water. Then to cook them you would cover them with clean water. Then, cooked for two to four hours. To cook a single serving of dehydrated pinto beans, you would only need approximately 1/2 cup of water! And, as I said earlier, it only takes about 10-15 minutes to cook them. Not to mention the entire process would be much simpler. If you were in a situation where you had no water or electricity and had to cook them over a fire. Which way would you prefer to have stored your pinto beans? Uncooked in a mylar bag, or cooked and dehydrated?
The dehydration process
It does take some time to get the pinto beans ready to dehydrate, but it will be well worth the process. First, you still need to soak the beans overnight and cook them in the traditional way, but leaving out any fat or oils. Just the beans and water. It's also best not to add your flavors or spices at this point. You can add flavor/spices later.
After you have cooked the pinto beans, rinse and drain them and let them cool. Once they have drained and cooled, spread them out on your dehydrator trays. Be sure you don't overload the trays as it will take longer for them to dehydrate (and they will be all stuck together). It's okay if they are touching, but you do want to give them some breathing room.
Place the trays in your dehydrator and set the temperature to 135 degrees Fahrenheit (57 degrees Celsius). They will take 9-12 hours to dehydrate, depending upon your dehydrator and other varying conditions. You want to make sure that they are done. Unlike fruit or vegetables, beans will become somewhat crumbly when they are completely dried.
Once the beans are done, turn off your machine and let them cool down. Once the beans have cooled down completely, remove them from the dehydrator trays and place them in either a zip lock freezer baggie or a mason jar. If placing in a zip lock baggie, leave a little air in it and close the seal. if using a mason jar, place the lid and ring on the jar and tighten.
At this point you will need to "condition" the beans. That just means to leave them in the baggie or jar for approximately 7-10 days, shaking them a couple of times a day. If you see any vapor in the baggie or jar at any time during the conditioning phase, you will need to place the entire baggie or jar back into the dehydrator and dehydrate at the same temp for another couple of hours.
Once the conditioning time is complete you can prepare them for your long term storage using either mylar bags with oxygen absorbers or mason jars (canning jars) with oxygen absorbers or using a jar attachment to seal the jars.
How to re-hydrate/cook dehydrated pinto beans
To re-hydrate/cook a single serving of dehydrated pinto beans, just put a 1/2 cup of water in a cooking pot, add a 1/2 cup of beans to the water (at this point you can add your flavorings and spices) and cover. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Remove from heat, stir, cover, and let stand for 10-15 minutes.
You can also use the dehydrated pinto beans in recipes like I did for my Chili with beef and beans Meal-in-a-bag. My main purpose for dehydrating pinto beans is to use them in recipes. Mostly that's because my family members don't like pinto beans by themselves.
NOTE: To add flavoring/spices to the dehydrated pinto beans, you can either put them in with individual serving sizes or when you add the beans to the water.
ALSO NOTE: In my chili recipe I only used 1/4 cup of dehydrated pinto beans and that was enough because of the ground beef. If you are eating just the beans with another side dish or meat separate, the single serving size above should be sufficient for most people.
Well, there you have it. I wanted to provide these instructions for those of you who have seen my Chili with beef and beans Meals-in-a-bag recipe and were wondering how you would dehydrate pinto beans. By the way, if you are thinking of buying dehydrated pinto beans instead of dehydrating your own, please make sure that what you are buying truly are dehydrated. I know the Augason Farms Pinto Beans still have to be cooked for two hours.
Of course, if you have a homestead or bug out location where you will have quick and easy access to lots of water, you can skip dehydrating the pinto beans all together and store them to be cooked normally. Especially if you are storing like 50 plus pounds of them!
If you have any questions or comments on dehydrating or re-hydrating pinto beans please post them in the section down below. Thanks!
Until next time...happy prepping, and God bless!
FUN FACT: Did you know that if you soak pinto beans over night they will produce less bloating and gas? My mother never soaked hers, and we had them at least once a week. I heard about this and tried it and lo and behold, it's true!! 😉