June 23, 2011

How to Cook Dry Black Beans

I mentioned a while back that we're trying to reduce our consumption of processed foods and overly packaged goods. Part of how we are trying to accomplish this is by buying in bulk. We have a local food co-op that is fantastic, and I've been shopping there about once a month. Additionally, I'm trying to save jars and containers to bring home the foods instead of grabbing a plastic one. So far, so good.
Here is how I make the equivalent of 3 cans cooked black beans ($.99/each, usually) for $.89!!
Before you go to sleep, rinse the beans in a colander and pick out any broken or icky looking ones. Throw into the slow cooker and add enough water to cover the beans, plus a few inches. Cover and let soak in a cool place (we put it in the stove- turned off of course) overnight.
In the morning, drain the beans into a colander. 
If you want some extra flavor, chop up a few cloves of garlic and some onion and saute it for a few minutes while your beans are draining. *Important note*- don't add salt until your beans are completely tender or they'll get super tough!
Add your beans back into the pot and re-fill with enough water to cover plus a few inches.  Put the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce down to a simmer and cook for about an hour.  Beans should be tender, but not mushy.
At this point, season the beans to taste. I add salt, lime juice and zest, chipotle powder and some chopped cilantro. Yum. 

I learned from A Year of Slow Cooking that 1 2/3 c. cooked beans is the equivalent of 1 can (minus the can water). After the beans cool, put them into a container (we use freezer-safe 2 c. reusable containers) and freeze up to 6 months (or keep in the fridge up to a week).

There you go- thrifty and super easy!

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