Adding the art of cooking with dry beans to your kitchen repertoire is an easy skill to master. Not only are the beans delicious and fresh, but you get to skip out on the BPA-lined metal cans. The biggest plus? Cooking with dry beans is super frugal. And, I already mentioned easy. Ready for my method?
How To Cook Dry Beans
(If I'm planning to cook the beans on the stove top, I usually do this mid-morning, the day before I want to use beans. If I am planning to use the crockpot, I start this process two evenings before I want to use them.)
1. Fill a large bowl (the biggest one you have) with dry beans about half-way to the top.
2. Pour filtered water over the beans until they are covered and then some. As the beans soak up the water and expand, you may need to add additional water. You want your beans to be completely covered with water during the entire soaking period.
3. Add a big splash of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. This helps to break down the beans for easier digestion. Do beans make you gassy? Try soaking them...it might remedy the problem.
4. Let the beans soak on your counter, covered, for 24 hours. They can soak for less time but I'd try for at least 8 hours.
5. When the soaking time is over, take the beans to your sink, hold a lid over the top of the bowl, and dump out the water as best you can. Cover beans with water again to rinse, then dump again.
6. Pour the soaked, drained beans into a large crockpot. Cover with filtered water (enough to fully cover all of the beans) and add a big splash of olive oil. Put the lid on the crockpot and cook the beans on low for 6-7 hours or until soft but still firm.
*If you desire to cook these on the stove top, follow the same directions but put them in a large pot covered with water and a splash of olive oil. Bring the beans to a boil, then reduce to a simmer with the lid tilted. Simmer for 1-2 hours.
Now that your beans are cooked, you have a couple of options:
1. Use the beans in any recipe where you would normally use canned beans. A can of beans is about 2 cups of cooked beans. Honestly, I never really measure my beans. I just dump them in until I have enough to my liking.
2. Put beans into quart size jars, let cool, then place in the freezer. Now you've got beans that are already cooked and ready to go! I usually keep one jar in the refrigerator to pull out for lunches or quick dinners when I haven't planned well. The rest go into the freezer and I pull them out the morning I'm planning to use them and let them thaw on the counter. If you're in a pinch and forgot to pull out the frozen beans, set them on the stove in some simmering water and they'll be ready in a snap.
I usually make a big batch of beans like this about every two weeks so I am always stocked up on beans. You can do this with any dry beans - pinto, black, kidney, etc. It takes hardly any time at all but the preparation pays off in terms of a healthier AND frugal option for my family. Enjoy!
Here are some yummy bean recipes:
Hamburger Soup (just add beans)