The Reason You Should Use Fresh Beans For Chili

You see it on chili cheese dogs, mixed in with mac and cheese, or over pasta if you're in Cincinnati, Ohio. That's because chili is versatile enough to be eaten on its own or within other dishes, and it's quite hearty to boot. Known for its smoky and meaty flavors, chili is often made with a blend of colorful seasonings, such as chili powder, ground cumin, ground oregano, and cayenne pepper, according to Food Network. These are mixed with ground meat, like beef or turkey, as well as peppers and on occasion, beans.

Granted, the International Chili Society doesn't accept beans as an authentic part of red and green chili recipes, per Southern Living. But cities like Kansas City, Springfield, and Austin couldn't care less and add in beans anyway, via Insider.

Canned beans are often used in many chili recipes, but what happens when you substitute them for fresh beans? Magic happens, that's what.

Fresh beans have a better texture

Gone are the days when overly-soft beans become the central textural focus of a chili dish. Fresh beans, on the other hand, don't change much throughout the cooking process, as they maintain their shape and firm texture (per Taste of Home), which makes for a better contrasting bite.

Cheaper costs and better health benefits aside, fresh beans also act as a sponge, absorbing those tasty chili flavors much better than their canned counterpart, via HuffPost. Taste of Home agrees with this, as they state that fresh beans love to soak in a brine mixture of water and salt. This helps them cook faster and become softer (but not mushy), as noted by The Bean Institute.

And since we're on the subject of flavors, Camellia Beans states that canned beans are high on the sodium scale, which makes them too salty for some people. They go on to explain that canned beans may also impart unpleasant metallic notes into your recipes and don't have that "depth of flavor" that make fresh beans so special.

It's so easy to throw in canned kidney or pinto beans in a pot of chili, but for more tender and better-tasting beans, try substituting canned beans for the fresh ones. Your chili recipe will certainly thank you for your wise choice.