Sailing with Beans, dried or canned?

Beans make salad much more hearty!!!

Beans make salad much more hearty!!!

Yea I’m doing it a post about beans. (Insert all your jokes here! Any Blazing Saddles fans?) Probably the least interesting topic for a sailing/cruising blog but I’m willing to bet most people have a can or bag of them on their boat right now and never gave them a second thought.

To be honest the only reason I’m even writing about them is the fact that I just happen to be cooking them and thought “What is the best bean solution to have aboard?”

Oh the rabbit hole…..

I like beans: kidney, black, red, green, jelly, Mister. They are magically versatile: side dishes, soups, nachos, salads, tacos, chili(yes I put beans in chili, don’t judge). They’re a great source of protein antioxidants, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc, and British comedy.

I really don’t want to get into the type of beans to carry aboard that’s such a subjective topic. What I do want to pontificate on is the storage and packaging of beans as it pertains to boat provisioning.

To my knowledge there are three types of beans we can purchase: fresh, dried, and canned.

Fresh beans don’t keep very long and are usually cooked with in a short time of purchase. So they really don’t fit into the whole storage theme I’ve got going here, we’ll exclude them for now.

That leaves dried beans and canned beans to count.

Lets start with canned beans. The biggest pro for canned beans has got to be convenience! I mean they’re already cooked and seasoned all you have to do is warm them up and your off to the races.

Can you find Mr. Bean?

Can you find Mr. Bean?

Buuut… with that convenience comes some draw backs: once a can is opened you now have trash to deal with. Cans are crazy difficult to store due to their unforgiving size and shape. The cans can rust.(weird sentence). I’m not sure about everyone else but cans do a lot of damage to my storage locker. I think they get tossed around pretty violently in rough seas. Lastly canned beans are pricier and some times difficult to find in some the more remote islands.

I’ve found dried beans in almost every island store or market. They’re extremely economical, since I’m the cook I get to prepare them just how I want, usually with too much Jalapeno.

Buuuut… they have a down side to, if they get even slightest bit wet they’ll rot, they take more time to cook and prepare. Their seasoning is reliant on what herbs and spices I have on-board, if the cabinets are getting bare I could be eating some very bland beans in deed. Oh and there’s a much higher probability of a rock masquerading as a bean in your food. (yea been there, seen the dentist)

However I’ve never seen the must have bean storage gizmo at West Marine?

Beans have been a maritime staple since the first sail was strapped to a dugout. One would think by now there would be a time tested perfect mouse trap for storing them and other sundries. However I’ve never seen the must have bean storage gizmo at West Marine?

My current solution is a lot of dried beans in a water tight container and few cans of commercial beans for backup. What is your solution; dried or canned? If you are storing canned beans how do keep them from banging around in the food locker and tearing everything up?

Island Rambler

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  1. Tanya on March 13, 2016

    I do mostly dried. I’ve not had a problem with rot…yet, but now you have me worried! I do have a few back up cans for quick-er meals. I use a pressure cooker. I soak for several hours and can cook beans from soaked to release in about 25 minutes (propane only on for 15 of those). Not bad.

    We keep our few cans in the bilge lined with dry deck 12″ squares. As far as rusting, you could vacuum pack a few cans together (we’ve done this with beer). I have also vacuum packed dried beans. And zip locks work great if you don’t have vacuum packer

    • The Administrator on March 16, 2016

      The vacuum packing idea is brilliant, I had not thought of that! I will have to give that a try.

      Thanks for the feed back!!!

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