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.
I’m so thankful for these little homemade chicken bullion cubes. My son has been sick the last two days. He won’t eat much when he’s ill, but he’s always up for chicken soup. I can feed him homemade bone broth in an instant any time I need to by just reconstituting with boiling water. This is one of the most rewarding things I make. And if dehydrated it’s shelf life is a good long time if refrigerated. You can specific instructions on how to make them by taking a peek in the Pantry.
I decided to take the advice of my friend Carolyn Thomas at Homesteading Family and dehydrate some of my end of the season tomatoes. It was fun and easy.
We’re still getting the last of the ripe tomatoes off our cherry tomato plants. Since this is about the only vegetable that I seem to be able to grow prolifically, sometimes we don’t eat them up fast enough. Enter my dehydrator.
I simply sliced them in half, and seasoned them with a bit of salt, pepper, granulated garlic, oregano, and savory. You could use any seasonings you like.
Lay them out on the dehydrator tray and dehydrate at a temp below 150 degrees until they are crisp.
If you have a few that are past the point of saving, then squirt out the seeds into a bowl, cover with water for a day or two to loosen all the gel, and then lay out on a paper plate to dry for the next year’s growing season.