Dried White Beans
We’ve always been a little prejudiced in favor of dried beans over canned. But is that always true?
How We Tested
The problem with most dried beans is that they don’t undergo the same level of quality controls as canned beans do. One dried white bean of the five in our tasting was the exception: an heirloom bean. The company’s smaller yield of heirloom beans seems to be the key. It gives more attention to the beans, and higher turnover ensures freshness. (This also meant that this bean purveyor was sold out of cannellini beans at the time of our tasting and recommended its cassoulet beans as a substitute.)
Also, heirloom beans feature varieties that have been more critically selected for superior flavor and texture. Our tasters found the winning beans “creamy and smooth, nutty and sweet,” with a “fresh, clean” taste and a “lovely texture and appearance.” One taster raved: “I could curl up with a bowl of these.” When we want dried white beans, we’ll make the effort to mail-order them from this heirloom bean company.
We tasted five brands of dried white beans—plain, in dip, and in soup—rating their flavor, texture, and overall appeal. An independent laboratory determined the dried beans’ moisture and calcium levels. Results were averaged and brands appear in order of preference.