Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cooking Dried Beans

Dried beans are a wonderful bargain.  I find that many people shy away from using them.  I realize that canned beans are simple.  I would like to point out that dried beans can be almost as simple.  They are also very healthy.  You can control the amount of salt.  The ingredients could not be more basic - dried beans and water. 

I normally soak the dried beans overnight.  They need to be sorted as you will find the occasional rock.  Place the beans in a pot and add six to eight cups of water or enough to cover.  I cook one pound at a time normally but have done two pounds.  In the morning drain off the water and add fresh water back to the soaked beans.  They can be cooked in a pot on the stove, but I prefer to cook mine in the crockpot.  I do not have to worry about them boiling over.  With no salt added they cook in four hours on high.  Added salt increases the cook time.  Old beans also take longer to cook. 

When they are done to your satisfaction, drain off the water and rinse if you choose.  When they cool slightly, package them in the appropriate serving size and freeze.

Here are the chickpeas I cooked last week.  I love roasted chickpeas.  I paid $1.50 for a pound of dried beans and ended up with six cups of cooked beans.  I honestly have not priced cans of chickpeas recently.  I am sure they are more than 50 cents per can, and mine homecooked beans have no salt or other added ingredients. 

The little bit of work in advance means I now have cooked chickpeas that are as convenient as opening a can.  Give the dried beans a chance!  This frugal ingredient can help your grocery budget by starring in meatless meals or stretching the meat in your meal.  My homemade burritos included a bit of meat with plenty of beans to make a hearty meal. 


Rhonda said...

How do you roast the chickpeas? They sound good. Am wondering if the grandchildren would like them

Dawn said...

Rhonda, I toss them with a little olive oil and spices. I like salt and pepper best but sometimes add garlic or onion powder or cayenne pepper. I bake at 400 degrees until they are crunchy (45 mins or so). They are best eaten the day they are made.