May seem counterintuitive to go to the trouble to go to the trouble of making refried beans only to dehydrate them, but this makes a great, shelf-stable convenience food, or is excellent lightweight, easy to carry, protein packed food for a backpacking or camping trip.
I used to buy the Santa Fe dehydrated refried beans for many years. I would use them when I needed a quick lunch. But prices went up and we couldn’t afford them any more. So, I had to figure out how to make my own.
If you’re going to make these, you might as well make a lot. You can presoak and cook the beans on the stovetop, but cooking dried beans in my Instant Pot is one of my favorite uses for that appliance.
Cooking Dried Beans in the Instant Pot:
Sort 2 pounds of dried pinto beans.
Add the beans to the IP along with 2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and 8 cups of water.
Lock the lid and set the valve to the sealed position.
Set the Instant Pot for Pressure Cook, High Pressure, 48 minutes, Warm setting OFF.
Quick release the pressure and stir the beans.
Mash the beans using your potato masher until they are the desired texture.
Drying in the Dehydrator:
Spread them evenly on dehydrator trays as thin as possible, about 1/4” thick.
Dehydrate at 145 degrees for 12-24 hours until they are completely dry and will crumble to a powder.
Drying in the Oven:
Alternatively you could spread these on parchment paper and dry on cookie sheets in your oven on the lowest heat setting. Aim for no warmer than 150-170 degrees. You want them completely dry with no moisture left. They should crumble to a powder
You can store in portion sizes appropriate to your family size in plastic zip-lock bags or in glass jars. 1 cup = about 2 servings.
To rehydrate the beans for a meal, add 1 cup of dehydrated beans to 2 cups of boiling water. Simmer about 5 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Estimate about a 1/2 cup dried beans per serving per person.
Do not use a bag or jar of beans if you open them and they have a strong musty smell. If this happens it is likely that all the moisture was not dehydrated out of them and that they have spoiled.