You Should Never Get Rid Of The Liquid From Canned Beans. Here's Why

Beans are such a great pantry staple to keep on hand because they keep for such a long time and can be added to a number of dishes or served up as a side. While dried beans have a time and place to shine, they are definitely not the fastest option in a pinch. Though canned beans can have added salt or fat, they are perfect for immediate use and can be bought in low-sodium or no-fat versions. But before you flip an opened can over to let it drain and rinse the beans off, you should reconsider washing that canning liquid down the drain.

According to some cooks, you shouldn't always use the canning liquid, but in recipes that you can, you always should. Not only does the liquid hold a lot of flavor, but its thick, smooth, and starchy texture can also lend the beautiful quality to whatever you use it in. Think of it almost like a thickening agent that can be used in place of some other liquids like water or stock. Not all canning liquid is the same, though. One in particular, aquafaba, can do much more.

Use it in recipes that call for a lot of liquid

As for ways to use the liquid, try incorporating it in recipes like soups, stews, or chili. You can also use it in dips, and you might want to try adding it to dishes like casseroles or even braises for added richness. But you do need to keep in mind just what you are adding to your recipes.

Adding the canning liquid means you might need to eliminate some other liquids in the recipe. Otherwise, it might take much longer for the liquid to cook down. Another thing to consider is just how salty the canning liquid is. Those that are very salty will likely mean that less salt should be added to season the dish. Keep in mind that some seasoning blends have salt, as well as herbs and other spices, before adding too much of those as well.

Have a lot of bean liquid on hand but no immediate need to use it? Freeze it! Using an ice cube tray, ladle out tablespoonfuls of the magic liquid, freeze it, and then store it in a zip-top bag. Now you have a stash on standby for the next time you need to thicken up a sauce, stew, or dip.

Replace eggs with aquafaba

Aquafaba is the liquid from cooked chickpeas and is also what you get from cans of chickpeas; this liquid is capable of far more than thickening or adding flavor and texture to soups and stews. This ingredient is a key vegan substitute for eggs in all kinds of recipes, which is why you should keep your leftover aquafaba on hand when you open up a new can of chickpeas or even after you cook them down.

Feel free to substitute aquafaba in place of eggs in cakes and cookies as well as the toppings for those baked goods such as icing. But one of the most impressive swaps for eggs that aquafaba can do is its use for making vegan meringues. All you need to do is whip the liquid just as you would egg whites to get the volume you need to make meringues. Of course, it can also be mixed into batters and icings, too.

Make mayonnaise with aquafaba

Another surprising way to use the liquid from canned chickpeas is to make vegan condiments like mayonnaise. You can do this by utilizing an immersion blender, which turns the aquafaba and vegan ingredients into an emulsified smooth, creamy mayo. But the mixture does require a few other ingredients to give it a similar flavor to traditional mayonnaise.

Along with aquafaba, the outlet uses cashews, mustard powder, apple cider vinegar, oil, and a touch of a sweetener such as maple syrup. Apart from condiments like mayo, you might consider using aquafaba in other dips just as you might other kinds of beans' canning liquids. It can be used in place of olive oil in an at-home pesto recipe — packing fewer calories but offering the same smooth texture, it helps make a low-fat alternative to a classic pasta sauce.

So, reconsider what you do with the liquid leftover from cans of beans. Rather than wasting it, you just might find it could be your new favorite secret ingredient. Better yet, you might even have a great substitution for those times you're short on eggs, too.