Yesterday I bought about nine pounds of bulk dried beans - chickpeas, kidney, black, and pinto - at Real Food Company. I'd been spending over $2/can on organic beans (as I preferred Eden brand which doesn't have salt) and figured it would make more sense to cook them myself since I now have the time. I soaked two pounds of chickpeas and one pound of kidney beans overnight, then cooked them up in about 80 minutes. Yield: 12 1/2 cups chickpeas, 6 cups kidneys. A can is about 15 oz., the dried chickpeas were $1.79/lb and the kidneys $2.19/lb. Even counting the prep time and use of the stove, I came out well ahead.
As I was draining the cooked chickpeas, a handful spilled out into the sink. I fished them out, rinsed them off, and ate them. They were tender, buttery, and absolutely delicious.
I froze most of the beans in two-cup portions, and left some in the fridge to cook with this coming week. Defrosting beans will require a bit of planning vs pulling a can out of the cupboard, but I think the savings will be worth it. I do eat a lot of beans.