Compared to a single can for 80p, a 500g bag of chickpeas would make approx. eight cans with total cost of £1-£2! So canned beans are expensive but cooking dried beans is a time consuming business.
Luckily, beans and lentils can be cooked in bulk and then frozen where they'll last for three months. Once properly defrosted they can be used the same as beans from metal cans!
You can use any size freezable glass jar. I use 400ml jars as they are the same size as metal cans which makes it easier when following recipes that call for canned beans or lentils.
If you intend to use the beans in recipes where they will cook further (curry/stew/soup) you can reduce cooking by 30 mins. I prefer to freeze fully cooked and use towards the end of cooking time.
Wash the jars in boiling water to sterilise them. Cook (or part cook) beans according to the instructions on the packet and transfer to a bowl to stop them cooking further. Here I'm using chickpeas.
Use a slotted spoon to fill the jars with beans. Leave some space between the beans and the top of the jars.
Here chicky, chicky, chickies. In you go!
Continue until all the beans are in their new homes. You can see here the recommended space to leave.
Use the ladle to pour the cooking liquid into each jar to just above the level of the beans.
Continue with remaining jars. Again, it's important to leave space on top of the beans and cooking liquid. Leave to cool, then place in the fridge with the lids OFF to cool completely overnight.
I use this method as beans freeze better and retain their shape and texture if they are cooled gradually in the cooking water at room temperature and then with the lids off in the fridge overnight.
On the following day to freeze, place the completely cool jars in the freezer with the lids OFF until frozen. This allows the contents to expand and avoids cracked jars! Once frozen, pop the lids on.
Frozen canned beans can be used in the same way as metal canned beans from the supermarket. For best results, remember to take them out of the freezer the day before and defrost in the fridge fully.
The cooking water can be used in recipes that require water such as soups or stews or to thin hummus. Happy canning!