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Baked beans are a fantastic and popular food; they’re cheap, easy, and tasty. They’re also incredibly versatile and make a great pairing with many different meals. Popular with kids and adults alike, baked beans are definitely a go-to choice for lunch and dinner. However, no matter how easy they are to heat up, how about eating them cold?
Yes, you can absolutely eat baked beans even when they’re cold because they’ve been cooked before being put in the can. Made from cannellini or haricot beans, baked beans are actually great food to eat, regardless of their temperature.
That’s great news for anyone who enjoys baked beans on a regular basis, because it makes them an even more versatile meal option, and perfect for when you don’t have access to heat sources. The packets and tins don’t often recommend eating them cold, but perhaps the manufacturers are missing a trick there – because there’s plenty of reason not to heat them up!
Why Would You Eat Baked Beans Cold?
There are many potential reasons for eating baked beans cold, but there are two major ones which you might encounter in life.
- Speed: we all know that the world is busy and hectic, and some days we just don’t have time to sit down and prep a lunch properly. It might not be ideal, but cold baked beans still make a reasonable lunch, and only require you to open a can!
- Lack of heat sources: if you are somewhere without a microwave or stove, you might find that it’s easier to eat the beans cold than to try and find other ways to heat them up. This might be if you’re having lunch at work or you’re traveling.
The other most obvious factor is your personal preference! A lot of people simply prefer baked beans cold to heated, and they are even a popular picnic food. If you’re traveling somewhere, pack a few cans of baked beans and a can opener, and you won’t be going hungry even if you can’t find a stove!
Are Cold Baked Beans Good For You?
Most “fast food” and convenience foods come with the negative payoff of being packed with unhealthy things, but cold baked beans are actually not too bad! They probably aren’t something you should use as a staple of your diet, but they do contain some good nutrients.
Baked beans contain:
- Folic acid
- B Vitamins
There is sugar in baked beans, as well as quite a bit of salt, but it might surprise you to learn that they can make up one of your five-a-day, whether you eat them hot or cold. Baked beans are usually made using haricot or cannellini beans, and they’re fairly low in fat and calories.
All in all, not too bad for a quick and easy meal. It’s reassuring to know that if you have to crack out something convenient to eat, you aren’t eating total junk.
Look for low salt and sugar options if you’re going to be eating them regularly, and try to pair them with fresh veggies when you can.
What Are The Best Pairings With Cold Baked Beans?
Often, if you haven’t got time to heat baked beans, you might not be very interested in what to have with them – it may be a case of just digging in. However, if you’re someone who prefers your baked beans cold, you’re probably going to be interested in what you could have with them. Baked beans are surprisingly versatile and you can get quite creative with them!
That said, many people who enjoy cold baked beans prefer to eat them straight from the can, without mucking about. It certainly saves on the washing up if all you’ve got to clean is a spoon, but if that doesn’t sound very exciting to you, here are a few ideas.
Sausages And Beans
Sausages are a popular option, and can be eaten hot or cold with baked beans – you can even buy them as a combination in a can if you really want ultimate convenience. If that’s not to your taste, cook a few extra sausages and put them in the fridge, ready for a chilled feast later on.
Sausages probably are the biggest go-to combination for matching up with baked beans, and there’s got to be a good reason for that!
Jacket Potato With Baked Banes
Jacket potato and baked beans are another great choice. Often eaten hot, they’re equally enjoyable cold, and are great if you want a filling lunch that doesn’t contain lots of processed food and doesn’t need to be reheated. It’s also easy to make in advance and store, saving yourself time later.
Baked Bean And Beef Pasty
What can’t you put in a pastry? This may not sound like an obvious choice, but baked beans, beef, and onion pasties are a delicious treat that really make beans a transportable option! These can easily be microwaved, but they are perfectly tasty without making them hot.
They’re easy to make at home, and you can create a whole batch and freeze them to make quick lunches for busy days.
Baked Beans And Bread
It isn’t a meal to everyone’s tastes, but you can’t get quicker and simpler than baked beans with bread and butter! Toast is an easy alternative, but does require some form of heat, so if you’re out camping, picnicking, at work, or traveling, what amounts to a baked bean sandwich could work for you.
It’s something many people don’t understand, but there’s something great about the simplicity of this meal which makes it almost a work of art.
If you want something a bit healthier, beans make a surprisingly good accompaniment to salad. They make a lettuce-based meal more filling and satisfying, and can be a great addition to a barbecue in the garden on a hot day.
Putting a bowl of cold baked beans on a buffet table is a great way to ensure you and any guests are full without having to mess around with trying to keep them hot. Some people even enjoy the tomato sauce that beans are in as an alternative to dips for their chips!
How Should You Reheat Baked Beans?
If you’re not won by the idea of cold baked beans, it’s useful to know how to heat them. Bear in mind that reheating food increases the chance of introducing bacteria, so although cold baked beans are safe, it’s important to reheat beans thoroughly to minimize the risk of bacteria being consumed.
There are a few different options for reheating, so you can pick whichever is most convenient:
Microwaving your beans probably offers the quickest solution for reheating.
- Put your baked beans in a microwave-safe container and put a loose-fitting lid or a plate on top of the bowl.
- Microwave on full power for a minute.
- Take the beans out and stir them.
- Microwave for another 30 seconds.
- Take the beans out and stir them again.
- Microwave for another 30 seconds.
If you’re heating large quantities of baked beans, you may need to heat them for longer. Beans should be steaming hot if they are being reheated; this will reduce the chance of you consuming any bacteria. Stir them regularly throughout the heating process.
Reheating beans in the oven will take longer, but it does often produce nicer results.
- Transfer the beans to an oven-safe dish and cover them with aluminum foil.
- Preheat your oven to 350F.
- Bake the beans for about 20 minutes, until they are hot through.
Again, large quantities may need longer. You can stir them to redistribute the heat occasionally, but try and keep the oven door closed so you don’t lose too much heat.
Another quick solution, the stove allows you to heat baked beans easily.
- Transfer the beans to a pot and place them over a medium heat.
- Stir the beans every few minutes, making sure that they don’t burn.
- Wait until the beans are steaming and then serve.
How Should You Store Baked Beans?
For those of you who want to save some beans for later, it’s useful to know how to store them. Obviously, once you’ve opened the can, they need to be transferred to another container, such as a bowl. It’s best not to leave them in the can as this can make them taste strange.
|Storage Place||Recommended Storage Time||Risk Factor|
|Countertop||1-2 Hours||Bacteria Growth|
|Fridge||3-5 Days||Bacteria Growth|
|Freezer||2 Months||Loss in flavor/texture|
Cold baked beans make a delicious and versatile food option, and they’re great if you’re traveling, busy, or just fancy a twist on the more common hot baked beans. You can mix them with many different components to keep it interesting, and they won’t cost you a fortune.
They may not be the healthiest option, but they’re far from the worst choice; they are filling, contain a reasonable amount of vitamins and nutrients, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about piling some on your plate a couple of times a week!