Dried Beans or Green Veggie?

I took my first stroll in the realm of cooking with dried beans yesterday. I decided to do something simple so we went with chili. I set my beans to soak in water with a bit of my yogurt whey before bed the night before and by the time i got around to cleaning out my crockpot and putting them on to cook it was two in the afternoon the next day. This would have been fine had they been canned, but they weren’t, so it wasn’t!

Lesson one: soaking pinto beans in fermented water with black beans will turn everything a gorgeous shade of purple. Do not freak out, it will go away (mostly) by the time your chili is done.

Lesson two: add way more water than you think you need. you are not hard-boiling eggs for goodness sake; you are re-hydrating beans and those suckers can drink!

Lesson three: once you start your beans on the road to sprouting by giving them 18 hours to soak instead of 8-10, they will be alive. I kept reading everywhere that this is how you make them a raw, live food, but it didn’t really sink in until I bit into a fat pinto bean and it tasted like a garden. I’m not sure how to explain it, but it really was a weird experience. It truly tasted like a live part of creation. Crazy.

Lesson four: Dried beans do not cook as quickly as canned ones do. Duh. i should have remembered this! Starting a meal of beans four hours from go time is not a recipe for success. Sorry to break it to you.

We ended up eating at seven and just accepting that it was a bit crunchy, but then I left it on for another three hours and it still has more crunch then I would prefer. Live and learn, I guess!

Do any of you have any bean cooking tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them! Thanks!


10 Comments on “Dried Beans or Green Veggie?”

  1. Alicia says:

    I’ve done a little with dried beans. I’ve never sprouted/fermented them though. I try to save beans for the weekend so I can soak them on Friday night and cook them during the day on Saturday. Last time I did this, I cooked a bunch and froze them in the freezer in smaller amounts for easy use during the week. Since I don’t get home from work til about 4:30, cooking dried beans from scratch would mean eating at midnight :) I liked doing the big batch on the weekend though because then I’m not using canned beans that have been soaking in tons of salt and dried beans are a phenomenally great deal in terms of cost and nutrition. Not that canned beans are super pricey, but dried are really dirt cheap.
    My new discovery has been lentils- which don’t require soaking overnight. I made tacos recently and made regular been ones for mike and lentil ones for me. Didn’t add much at all to the cost of the meal and that way I could eat vegetarian and Mike could have his meat. And they were very tasty!

  2. I hear you on the dirt cheap aspect of dried beans! i never thought of lentils on tacos before. thanks for the freezing ahead tip too!

  3. Amy says:

    I just did a pot of beans in the pressure cooker. I have never been very successful with dried beans in the crock pot for the first time. For me the pressure cooker for 10 minutes of full pressure or at least 90 minutes cooking on the stove is where I have stuck.

    I as well freeze mine in the same quantity as a can so they are ready to pull out of the freezer and use.

    Today’s bean are garbanzos to be turned into a salad for lunch tomorrow and some yummy hummus!

  4. April says:

    I recently soaked a whole bag overnight and then froze them. (Ok, i just read the first comment and realize this might be redundant…bear w/ me…) So, they soak overnight, then you lay them flat on a single layer on a cookie sheet. once they are frozen, you can move them to a bag. That way you can eliminate the step of having to soak them overnight (or quick soak) when you want to cook w/ them. The other night i took a cup of my beans (which i figured would add up to about a can of beans once they were cooked) from the freezer, and put them in a pot of boiling water. It had to be on medium heat the whole time, simmering heavily, lid on and stir every 15-30 minutes. BUT, in about 75 minutes, they were soft as the canned version. Then I just added them to my meal, just like they were canned.

    I too, have been surprised in the past that even adding them to the crock pot for 8 hours and sometimes they are still crunchy. that doesn’t make sense to me. I think from now on I’m going to do my beans this way unless i find a recipe that explicitly tells me how to cook them.

    Good luck!

  5. thanks for sharing your version or the freezer idea, April. Yeah, you would think that eight hours in a crock should be more than enough wouldn’t you?

  6. Amy, welcome! A pressure cooker, huh? Just ten minutes? Now that’s what I’m talking about! Your lunch sounds great. I’ll be eating leftover crunchy chili. :)

  7. Amy says:

    I just figured out how to use my pressure cooker correctly and I expect that I will be using it more often now. Tonight I boiled potates in it for mashed potatoes and some extra for potato salad. I started boiling water as I washed them then it took a couple more minutes to get to full pressure. 5 minutes later I had cooked potatoes and I didn’t even chop them all up. The worst part is that you can’t check for donesness in the middle of cooking so it takes some experimentation!

  8. Amazing! I think I will be keeping my eyes open for one of those at garage sales this summer. They sound very helpful.

  9. Sarah says:

    Wow, great ideas on freezing beans!

    I too have had my share of successes and failures with dry beans. But I didn’t realize letting them soak for longer results in a raw, live food. That is amazing and so good to know!

    Something I have learned is that if you cook beans in a tomato base, the acid of the tomatoes slows the cooking process of the beans (bigtime, I might add!). So if you’re making chili or something similar, make sure the beans are fully cooked before adding them in.

    Great post!

  10. Thanks, Sarah, for the tomato point! I hadn’t thought of that but I’ll be sure to take it into account with my cooking times in the future!
    BTW, I really enjoy your blog.

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