Why Dried Beans?
Want more reasons to eat them? Check out this article: Cancer Fighting Foods: Beans and LegumesI’ve covered it before, many times! Beans (Legumes) are one of the best foods that you can eat for promoting a healthy body! There are so many different phytochemicals, viatmins, minerals and fiber that are proven to reduce cancer risk. Plus, it’s a great source of healthy carbs AND protein. These credentials are hard to beat when it comes to nutrition!
If you’re like me, the idea of cooking dried beans is VERY SCARY! People say you have to soak them, then you have to cook them and after all that work – are they really going to taste good? It’s taken me a long time to become more comfortable cooking the beans.
In the past, I used to use a lot of canned beans. However, I’ve been trying to cut back on canned, partly because of the amount of sodium in them and partly because of cost.
Dried beans are cheaper, you ask? THEY ARE WAY CHEAPER! A 16 oz. bag of dried beans is equivalent to 3 cans of beans. I’ve been able to get dried black beans from COSTCO. Don’t quote me, because I can’t remember for sure, but I think that 6-16oz. packages of black beans are less that $5 there. That is one heck of a deal!
Not convinced? Check out this article about 10 reasons soaking dried beans will change your life.
How to Cook Dried Beans:
Ok – so you might be considering dried beans, but not sure exactly how to cook them. First – it does take a little bit of planning. You can’t just pull them out and eat them in an hour. There are some quick cooking methods that work quite well (see the package for instructions). It usually involves covering them with water, bringing them to boil and simmering for 1-2 hours.
My co-worker told me that she just puts them in a crockpot overnight and they’re ready in the morning to pack for lunch. Some suggest soaking them and dumping out the water. This is supposed to help get rid of the enzymes that cause the unpleasant side effect of gas. In the case of soaking, you would strain the beans, put them back in the pot, cover with fresh water and cook in that.
Here’s a fool-proof procedure for using a crock pot (one of the best inventions ever!) to cook dried beans:
- Rinse under cold water. Pick out any stones or bad looking beans (I rarely have to pick anything out).
- Poor the beans into a bowl or pot (you could use the crock pot for this as well). Add enough water to cover all the beans and an additional 2 inches. If using the crock pot – do not turn it on!
- Let the beans soak for at least 6 hours, or overnight. Soak in the fridge if it’s especially warm in the room. You don’t want bacteria to have the opportunity to grow.
- After soaking, dump out the water and rinse your beans.
- Put the beans back into your crockpot and cover with enough fresh water to completely cover the beans with an extra 2-3 inches.
- Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. You know they’re done if they mush when you eat them!
- Drain the beans.
- Use in a recipe, store in the fridge or put 1 2/3 cups (equivalent to a can of beans) freezer bags or containers.
I just made a chili recipe in the crock pot after soaking black and pinto beans all day. If they turn out well (I REALLY hope they do, because I’m bringing it to a volunteer appreciation lunch tomorrow!) – I’ll share the recipe in my next article!
Do you have suggestions on how to use dried beans? Email me and I’ll share it!