A Question About Beans

A Question About Beans

Anne asked the following question in a comment posted on the Pinto Beans recipe:

Hey Sharon,
Is it important what kind of pinto beans I use? Do they need to be organically grown? How many servings do 3 cups dry beans make? Also, I've been keeping my eye out for you to post that meatball recipe you made for Frankie and I the other night! They were so scrumptious!
Here is my answer

Hi Anne,
You are really getting into this food thing! Good for you.

As for the beans, I would say - use up what you have on hand and then think seriously about buying organic. To give you an idea of how much better organic beans are, you should know that organic beans will sprout and grow if you were to plant them or soak them long enough. The bean has to contain the nutrition to feed the seedling while it is setting down roots. Non-organic beans will not sprout or grow if you plant or soak them. They are basically dead, not living beans, so they will not sprout. They have lost all the nutrients it takes for them to grow and are inferior as food for your body.

Heirloom bean, Jacob's Cattle

Non-organic beans are also treated with pesticides and chemical fertilizers and grown in ground that is not sustained (devoid of protective micro-organisms and nutrients). The soil pretty much is sterile - very few nutrients or minerals. Organic food (produce) contains twice as much nutrition as its non-organic counterpart. And the nutrients are organic as compared to chemical nutrients that non-organic is fed with.

Though a little more price-wise, organic beans are still a good food bargain. Pound for pound, as compared to organic meat (or even conventional meat) they really stretch the food dollar. I keep cooked beans in the freezer at all times in quart containers. When I run out, I make more and freeze them. They are so versatile. We eat them with tacos, etc. And for lunches, they are great for tostadas or burritos, on a sausage-dog or hot-dog, etc. I also use them to make Pablano Steak Chili (get recipe here - this recipe will serve at least 12 people.)

As for how many servings three cups of beans will make, follow these guidelines. I found this guide on a website listed below under resources:

  • 2 cups of dried beans = 1 pound of dried beans
  • 1 part dry beans = 3 parts cooked beans
  • 1 pound dried beans = Up to 6 cups of cooked beans
  • 1 cup dried beans = 3 cups of cooked beans
  • 1/3 cup dried beans = 1 cup cooked beans
  • 2/3 cup dried beans = 2 cups cooked beans

A very old variety - 1500 years - Cave Bean

The reason I love different bean varieties
About 5 years ago I started growing my own dried beans in the garden. They are easy to grow and I try to grow as many different varieties as I can. I either buy my beans from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds or I buy a bag of beans (meant for cooking) from sellers such as Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company,  Rancho Gordo or Chili Smith Family Foods (although I only buy from them once a year when we attend the National Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa, California, put on by Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.

The beans I buy and grow are absolutely beautiful and they are heirloom varieties. They are not only easy to grow, but they are also easy to harvest and shell. And beans so easy to store for the coming year. The harvest/shelling part is a little time consuming, but compared to preserving other types of homegrown food, such as green beans, dried beans are a cinch. 

Of course, beans are also so very easy to prepare and so wonderfully delicious and nutritious. 

An heirloom variety I grew this year, Fort Portal Jade.

Here are some links to resources for beans

This is a link to the way I cook pinto beans. This is such a versatile bean and we love pintos.

A wonderful, pictorial guide to growing heirloom beans. I love this article.

This link will take you to an article entitled "6 Gorgeous Heirloom Bean Varieties You Need for 2016". Here you can see some beautiful heirloom type beans that will amaze you. And they taste as good as they look. 

For soaking and cooking times, go to this link for an artistic chart that lays out these times for 17 different kinds of beans.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company. This is one of the resources I use for dried heirloom beans. They sell packets of beans for planting. 
Another heirloom that I've grown and love - Calypso

Rancho Gordo is another resource for purchasing beans. This company sells beans to cook. But, you can use the beans to plant also. I just reserve some beans out of the package (one-pound package) for planting purposes (about 15 beans) before I cook the remainder. 

Information on how to measure and use dried beans can be found here.

Finally, the spaghetti and meatball recipe 

Here is the recipe link for itThank you for being so patient and for your question, Anne.


  1. You're right Sharon, I am really getting into learning about what I've been putting into my and my husband's body. I'm learning some kinda scarry things, but it's been a lot of fun! It's good to know that about the beans. That makes a lot of sense too. Someone had told me that if something is grown in a shell, pod, or thick skin, that non-organic is ok. Pinto beans and rice have always been my favorite dish, so I can't wait to try your receipe! I'll try to be more patient about the spaghetti & meatball receipe;)
    Beans, beans,


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Sharon Kaufman
Jesus Christ has been my Savior for 47 years. Robert, the wonderful man that God provided to love me has been my husband for 45 of those years. We have five grown children, with children of their own. Of course, that means that we have grandchildren - 10 to be exact, and five great-granddaughters with another great-grandbaby on the way. I have been a stay-at-home mom, sometimes helping to supplement the income from within the home. Now I am a stay-at-home grandmother. Jesus Christ has been my guide and keeper and I have found, in all the trials, heartbreaks and good times that He just keeps getting sweeter and sweeter as the years roll by. My future is secure and I look forward to eternity in the presence of my Creator, Redeemer and King.
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