October 13, 2010

Making Dried Beans

Seriously. So. Easy.

Ok, this post goes along with my fresh hummus recipe. I really don't buy canned beans anymore unless I've not planned well and need something in a hurry. It's just so much cheaper to make them from scratch and they taste amazing. I also use my crockpot for beans because I can leave it on, then go to bed or leave the house and I come home to food that's already cooked. Nice.

By the way, when I make garbanzo beans (or chickpeas) for hummus, I usually don't season them at all while they're cooking.

Here's how you make beans from scratch -

Beans from Scratch 
1.5 to 2 lbs of Beans - black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), black eyed peas etc. 
1 T lemon juice
Seasonings - paprika, turmeric, bay etc. 
Salt (DON'T put this in till after the beans are cooked!)
1 inch piece of Seaweed - helps to break down bean sugar - (check your health food store)

1. Rinse beans thoroughly. Place in bowl with lemon and cover with several inches of water to soak overnight. This helps to break down those complex beany sugars that make you sing the tooty bean song after you've indulged in beans. 
Place your beans in a large pan and cover with water. Bring water to a rolling boil and shut off the heat. These beans will only need to soak for 4 hours and this method is supposed to be even better at breaking down the complex sugar to reduce digestive issues.

2. After soaking, pour off the water and rinse beans again. Then, place in crockpot and cover with water. 

3. Add desired seasoning - minus salt. Adding salt before the beans are done will leave you with tough or undercooked beans. 

4. Cook beans on low for 6 hours OR on high for 4 or more - depending on the beans. Use common sense or check your crockpot book for wisdom. Big beans = more time, little beans = less. 

5. Once your beans are cooked, add salt to taste. 

If you don't have a crockpot, you can buy one here or just put your beans right back in the same large pot you soaked them in, cover with fresh water and cook them. Cooking time varies per bean but usually between 45 minutes and 1.5 hours. You usually want your bean to still have some shape when they're done so keep an eye on them. Same rules apply regarding seasoning and salt.

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