to life, the home, and frugal living.

Beans

Beans are a wonderful thing. Sure they have a bad reputation, but I don’t pay that any heed. I like all kinds: black, kidney, navy, pinto, even black-eyed peas thanks to my southern husband. They taste great, they’re filling, you can put them in a million different dishes, and they are cheap.

Canned beans are really handy, but the best addition to your cupboard is a bag or two of dried beans. You can get 2-4 meals out of a bag depending on how many people you cook for. Cook up the whole bag, and store the extra in your fridge for the rest of the week. Even when I was busy, working, and commuting 1 hour to work I still had time to cook beans.

On Soaking

Many places you’ll find suggest to soak your beans overnight. There was a time (like 4 days ago) that I would scoff at that idea. I generally prefer foods that I can just throw together without a lot of prep. I’d rinse the beans, toss them in my crock pot with water, and cook on low until they’re done. Start in the morning, and you have beans ready for dinner about 8 hours later. Crazy easy!

What happened 4 days ago that I became a soaking convert? I cooked some black beans. Oh the poor black beans were not the culprit. Unfortunately over time the enamel has worn off my crock pot ceramic, and it can no longer be washed off. Remnants of those kidney beans still remain on that pot, sitting in my kitchen waiting for a new life. Still not sure what I’ll do with it but I hate to throw it away.

I had a bit of a dull moment which I will blame on the kids and being 5 months pregnant. I panicked; How the heck was I supposed to cook my beans?! To give myself a little credit it only took me a couple of minutes to remember that people have been cooking beans for countless years without electric crock pots. Pot + heat = food. This is where I became the bean soaking convert. Rather than keep my stove on, with its precious costly propane fuel, for 1-2 hours longer than necessary, I finally caved and soaked my beans overnight. They turned out great.

The Hows

It doesn’t get much easier than this.

  1. Rinse beans, and cull out the cruddy ones or any rocks.
  2. Put beans in the pot with enough water to cover and at least 2 inches of room. Put a little extra if you’re cooking them overnight in the crock pot. Don’t want to wake up to burnt beans!
  3. Do not salt! This can make your beans tough, and take longer to cook.
  4. Crock Pot:Turn crock pot on low and cook until done. It will take approximately 8 hours depending on your crock pot. Add water if it gets too low.
  5. On the stove: Turn the heat to high until water reaches a boil (especially important for kidney beans). Turn heat down to medium low and cook until done. Approximately 3-4 hours.

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