Why You Should Think Twice Before Throwing Out The Liquid From Canned Beans

Tossing your canned chickpeas or black beans in a colander to rinse before cooking may be a habit for many, but what if you found out that fluid your beans were sitting in was liquid gold? When you buy a can of beans, you shouldn't only be using the legumes, but also the valuable juice inside.

At this point, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and even TikTok have all made it common knowledge that saving your pasta water creates smoother, starchier sauces; but did you know the same applies to your beans (via Allrecipes)? Bean juice can magically thicken and add flavor to your food, whether that be poultry, potatoes, or leafy vegetables. You read that right — not only can the liquid be used to simmer your beans, it can also be saved for dishes like soups, stews, and chilis. Referred to by Cook's Country as "starchy bean broth," bean juice can be used in basically anything that might benefit from an extra oomph of bean flavor. 

In addition to being used as a flavor and body enhancer, Treehugger shares that canned chickpea juice specifically (aka aquafaba) can be used as a vegan substitute for egg whites.

Bean juice has amazing nutritional benefits

Beans are a staple in many vegetarian and vegan diets, being an excellent source of protein and fiber (via Healthline). When it comes to canned beans, the liquid inside is also rich in nutrients such as folate and B vitamins, according to Diane McKay, PhD and assistant professor at Tufts University's Friedman School. Therefore, cooking with the juice from your can of beans can not only help you increase the flavor and body of your dishes, but could increase their nutritional content as well! Just be aware of the amount of sodium in each can of beans — if you're watching your intake you might want to opt for the low or reduced-sodium cans, which keep the good stuff but decrease the salt.

So, the next time you're cracking open a can of beans — be it black, pinto, or chickpea — make sure to keep a dish underneath that strainer! That juice is worth more than you'd think.