Yesterday I made a big pot of pinto beans, and today I am cooking a pot of kidney beans. We actually ate the pinto beans with dinner last night, with chicken enchiladas, ndn then I put the rest in portions in the freezer. The kidney beans today are just because I was home all day and I do not like having to buy cans of beans for chili. Later this week, I will be making a pot of black beans for sweet potato black bean chili, and some for the freezer.
Here are some tips I have picked up for cooking beans:
1. You can soak overnight and cook beans in the morning, or you can soak all day and cook in the afternoon, or you can soak overnight in a crockpot and cook all day in the same crockpot. Whether you cook in the soaking water is up to you, many agree that using fresh water cuts the “gasiness” of the beans.
2. If you do not have all day or all night to soak your beans, you can cover your sorted and rinsed beans with 2″ of water, bring to a boil, boil for 5 minutes, then remove from heat, cover and let sit one hour. Bring back up to a boil and cook until tender.
3. DO NOT add salt until the end of the cooking, as salt interferes with the beans softening.
4. Once your beans are done, you can ladle them into 2-cup freezer containers, or my favorite, measure out two cups into a freezer bag, label them, and freeze them until needed. The freezer back are easy to thaw in a bowl of hot water, then add to whatever meal or recipe you need them for.
Beans are yummy, nutrient packed and easy to make and freeze. Plus, cooking your own beans is far more frugal than buying in cans. And finally, let us not forget all the fun arts and crafts and lessons that having dried beans on hand can help with, from the noise makers in shakers, a sorting lesson, or seeds to grow for a science lesson on germination.