What are legumes?
Legumes (you may also hear them called pulses) are plants that have pods with tidy rows of seeds inside. You know them better as peas, lentils and various types of beans.
Why legumes are good?
Legumes are cheap, tasty and good for you. They are low in fat and do not contain cholesterol. Beans and lentils are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. After meat and fish, they provide more protein per serving than other foods. As legumes also contain complex or “good” carbohydrates, they quickly can make us satisfying and keep us feeling full longer.
The only one drawback is that they take a long time to soak and cook. By cooking and dehydrating them at home, you can save your time and fuel on the trail. Dehydrated beans are lightweight, take up little space and can be rehydrated easily for a hot and nutritious backpacking meal.
How to dehydrate legumes for backpacking meals
Step 1. Soak legumes (pulses) in cold water for 6-8 hours or overnight.
Step 2. Drain them to remove the excess water.
Step 3. Put legumes in a pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil.
Step 4. Reduce heat to low and simmer until soft. The cooking time varies depending on sort of legumes from 45 minutes to 2.5 hours.
Step 5. Remove from the heat. Season to taste, cover and let sit for another 10-15 minutes.
Step 6. Drain water off and leave to cool.
Step 7. Spread cooked legumes on dehydrator trays covered with non-stick sheets or parchment paper.
Step 8. Dry at 130F/55C for 4-6 hours.
Step 9. Put dried pulses into vacuum-sealed containers, jars or zip lock bags. Store in a dry, dark place at room temperature.
Home cooked dried beans can stay hard and don’t rehydrate as quickly as canned beans. Canned beans split open when dried, but rehydrate better than home cooked beans.