After having such success taking the leftovers of Army daughter's chili and putting it into the dehydrator to make individual servings of dried chili, I decided to dry some more leftovers. The other day I took three cups of dried navy beans, boiled them for several minutes, then put the pot into my blanket filled ice chest to cook overnight. See http://whatifitistoday.blogspot.com/2012/07/making-dinner-with-fireless-cooker.html for photos if you are confused about cooking in the ice chest.
In the morning the beans were perfectly tender and ready for whatever I had decided to season them with. It was going to be my favorite...baked beans. I put the beans back on the stovetop and brought them back up to a boil. I then added brown sugar, molasses (redundant but delicious), chopped onion, chopped bell pepper, catsup, mustard, and some beef bacon. After it boiled for a few minutes to ensure that it was hot all the way through, I put the pot back into the ice chest. It was going to be for dinner that night. All in all, my beans went from hard as rocks to fully cooked and seasoned with less than 15 minutes of actual stovetop cooking.
Three cups of dried beans was an awful lot of beans. Since oldest grandson had spent four days with us I figured he was going to be here for dinner that night too. Instead, in the morning, right after I put the beans into the ice chest he said that he was going to ride his bike home. He missed mom, dad, and his brothers and sister. Grandparent and two cousins just weren't the same. I think he missed the large portions of meat that oldest daughter serves each night as well. Anyway, the two grand kids and I ate a huge bowl of beans and downed a couple of homemade rolls. There was still half a pot of beans left.
I could have put them into the refrigerator and we could have eaten them the next day. But since I'm trying to use the refrigerator less I decided to dehydrate the left over beans. After all, it worked for the chili. I took four trays out of the dehydrator, covered them with a piece of plastic wrap and spread the beans out on the plastic. I put the trays into the dehydrator and dried them overnight at 125. In the morning the tops were completely dried. I flipped over chunks of dried beans to dry out the underside. I dried the beans for a couple more hours then turned the dehydrator off. I left the beans in there to finish drying. I wanted to make sure they were completely dried and cooled down before putting the beans into storage.
There were about three servings of beans left so I divided the dried beans into three baggies. I then put those three baggies into a jar marked Baked Beans. I can take out a baggie and put it into a jar and bring it to work. All I need to do is add water, let it sit a few minutes, heat in the microwave, and voila, a delicious meal of home cooked baked beans. Or, I can just store them for some future day.