I have to admit, for most of my life I haven’t been a bean eater. It just wasn’t something we grew up eating often, so I never really learned to enjoy them. When I started a quest to eat healthier, to eat more whole foods, to eat less meat, and to save money, beans just couldn’t be ignored any longer. I started out using canned beans, which were ok and quick, but I didn’t love them. Then came the quest to eliminate canned goods (due to bpa in the lining), I decided to bite the bullet and make my own. I couldn’t be that hard, right? It turns out that they are super easy to cook, they freeze well and they taste 100 times better than canned. I especially used to hate the slimy metallic tasting broth in the cans and would rinse it off the beans. The broth in home cooked beans is really yummy! I save it and freeze it in measured amounts and use it in place of chicken or beef broth in recipes.
Basic cooked beans
1 # dry beans, black, kidney, chick pea (garbanzo), great northern, any kind except split pea and lentil (which cook differently).
6 cups water
½ tablespoon of salt
Place all together in a pot and bring to a boil, decrease the heat to a simmer, and cover and simmer until done about 2 ½ hours. Or place with hot water in a crock pot on high setting and cook until tender 3 ½-4 hours, or on low with cold water 7-8 hours. Makes 10 – ½ cup servings. I often double the recipe and freeze what I don’t use in 2 cup servings in a little broth, to use later in recipes, and I also freeze the broth for soups. Most recipes call for seasoning with salt after cooking, which I used to do, but I find this just easier and leaves it seasoned perfectly.
There is a lot out there about soaking beans, making them easier to digest and less gassy. I personally do not soak my beans and prefer the broth when they are not soaked, and haven’t noticed a difference with the gassy side effects. I think this is more a factor of eating a high fiber diet, when your body is used to it, it will be much less of a problem. If you choose this method, soak beans in 3 times their volume in water, bring to a simmer, and shut off and leave to soak, some sources say 1-2 hours, others say to improve the digestibility soak for 12-24 hours. Drain, and cook as above, however the cooking times will be less, and you’ll have to experiment with this as I haven’t.