Wednesday, April 7, 2010

How to cook dried beans

Are you afraid of dried beans because you think you won't cook them right? My how-to for today is how to prepare dried beans. The truth is that beans are incredibly good for you and can be added to a ton of recipes to add some substance, or to up the healthy factor. Dried beans come in a bag and are usually found in the aisle with rice. Dried beans require advance planning, but not much "hands on" time. Here are your preparation tips for dried beans:

Directions for soaking dried beans: In a large pot, add 10 cups of water to 1 pound of beans. Cover and soak 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse beans.

Directions for gas-free beans: In a large pot, add 10 cups of water to 1 pound of beans. Boil for 2-3 minutes, cover and set aside overnight. Drain and rinse beans. (Reduces gas by 75-90%)

Directions for cooking dried beans: Put soaked and rinsed beans into a large pot. Cover the beans with 3 times their volume of water-- about 6 cups for one pound of beans. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer until tender, about 1.5-2 hours. Drain and use in recipes.

Storing beans for later use: Drain and cool beans. Freeze in 1-2 cup packages. One pound of beans will result in 5-6 cups cooked beans.

I also found these directions on cooking dried beans in a slow cooker from "A Year of Slow Cooking":
  • Pour the entire bag of dried beans into a colander and rinse under cold water. If you see any beans that have broken in half, or skin that floats to the surface, get rid of it. Also pick out any beans that look shriveled and gross.
  • Dump all the beans into your crockpot. Add enough water to cover all the beans and an additional 2 inches.
  • Cover. Do not turn on. Let the beans soak for at least 6 hours, or overnight. If you live in a very warm area, and the crockpot won't be in a room that is climate-controlled, put the stoneware in the fridge. You don't want bacteria to have the opportunity to grow.
  • In the morning, dump the water, and rinse your beans. The water will be bean-colored.
  • 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.
  • The beans are done when they are bite-tender. Don't worry if the water hasn't all absorbed. You're going to dump it, anyway.
  • Drain the beans.
  • When cool, put 1 2/3 cups of beans into storage containers or freezer bags (you're adding this amount because you aren't adding filler-liquid like the cans have). The beans will store nicely in the refrigerator for 1 week, or in the freezer for 6 months.

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