Monday, June 21, 2010

Make It Yourself Monday


Some of you may have noticed over the past couple months that I've been buying dried beans from Azure. I think everyone knows that buying dried beans vs. canned beans is way cheaper, but I'm sure many of you are like me...... intimidated by the idea.

I never was quite sure what to do with the dried beans, and the couple times I did attempt to use them were, well, unsuccessful. One time I tried cooking them for a really, really long time. Unfortunately, it took so long that I forgot to keep adding water and they eventually burned to the bottom of the pan. The other time I remember trying to cook them was in Costa Rica. I soaked them, but must have soaked them for too long because they fermented. Sparky beans are not good! :)

The Costa Rica attempt ended my experimentation up until a month or two ago. I decided to put a little more time into researching how to be successful, and found that it actually isn't that hard. In fact, you can do it too! I promise.

The trick to cooking dried beans is advance preparation.
  • Measure out one cup of beans the day before you plan to cook them, and put them in glass jars. Empty glass jars (or bowls, whatever you have, just make sure it's big enough).
  • Before you go to bed, fill them with 3-4 cups of lukewarm water. You want your beans to soak for 10-12 hours. Not much longer than 12 or you run the risk of fermentation.

  • The next morning (or whenever 12 hours are up), drain and rinse the beans.
  • Fill a pan with 3-4 cups of salted water, add the beans, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, bring it down to a simmer and set your timer for 30 minutes.
  • At thirty minutes of cooking time, check the beans to see how they are coming. I've found that 30 minutes is about right for white and black beans. You may need a little longer for larger or denser beans like Kidney and Garbanzo beans.

I like to cook up a couple cups of beans at a time and freeze them in can-sized portions. To do that, here's a couple tips:

  • Try to cook your beans until they are a bit al dente. For me, this has been a trial and error kind of process. If you over-cook your beans, don't worry, they will still be okay! You'll just have softer beans so don't throw them in the crock pot to cook all day :)
  • 1 1/2 cups of beans is equivalent to one can.
  • Add enough water to cover the beans before freezing them.
  • Don't forget to label with type and amount of beans!



Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips! I have been wanting to try to cook dry beans, but I have been afraid to try (I thought it would be too hard or time consuming).

Now I can start replacing some of the canned beans in this Taco Soup Recipe I have been using!

Anonymous said...

I cook dried beans all the time from the bulk bins at Winco, is Azure cheaper? I am much lazier than you though, and just put the beans in the crock pot in the morning without pre-soaking them, and just have 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of beans. I leave them on high for several hours, sometimes all day, and they are always perfect!
Wendy S