Tuesday, March 2, 2010

How to Cook with Dried Black Beans

I'm trying to make the switch from canned black beans to dried ones from the bulk aisle. I've read in lots of places about the toxins hiding in the lining of canned goods (oy vey). Matt and I eat a lot of canned black beans, so I'm eager to figure out how to soak and simmer them in a way that works for our recipes.

So far, the process is not working. I rinsed and soaked them in large pot while I was at work. Then I boiled them, turned down the heat, and let them simmer for an hour and a half. Unfortunately, when it was time to cook our black bean and yam quesadillas, they were hard and dry. Ugh.

Hmm...I just did a little more research, and it seems like my original directions were solid. I think the problem may be a) I think my version of "simmer" is much lower than it actually should be (apparently a simmer is just below boiling--who knew?) and b) I should have let them cook a little longer than 1.5 hours. It seems that it can take up to three hours.

I will definitely try again. It's not too much extra work if I set up the soaking before I leave for work (7am) and then start the simmering when I get home from work (4pm). I'm all for eliminating unnecessary toxins whenever possible...



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11 comments:

AZ said...

Hi Sara,
We're also just getting into making our own dried beans, rather than buying canned (you can read about my latest experience with them here: madisoninjune.blogspot.com/2010/02/chocolate-party-at-home.html). I've found that having a pressure cooker really helps, and makes it feel almost as easy as opening a can (even though I try not to stock up on unnecessary kitchen appliances). And I always make at least 4 times as many beans as I need, and then freeze the remaining portions in ziploc bags for easy use later. Here's to dried beans!

Julia (Color Me Green) said...

a few thoughts: do you have a crock pot? if you do, you can soak the beans overnight and then cook them in the crock pot on low while you are at work. so easy!

if you don't have a crock pot, let your beans soak overnight - ie for 24 hours before you go to cook them. and do what AZ says and make extra and freeze it so that you don't have to go through the annoying cooking process as often.

Chica de mente ocurrente said...

hi Sara! mi mom is expert in beans.. she cook them on (i dont know the word in english "olla express" check this pics to know what i mean http://images.google.com.mx/images?um=1&hl=es&rlz=1T4GGLL_esMX309MX309&tbs=isch%3A1&sa=1&q=olla+express&aq=f&oq=&start=0

with this pot you dont need to soak them, you rainse them and cook them for about 1.5 hrs, if you do it on a regular pot you need like 3 o 4 hrs, then just separete them in portions and freeze them...

Kelsey said...

We make sweet potato and black bean quesadillas too! One of the yummiest, cheapest, and easiest meals, yum! I use canned black beans and should do more dried beans, thanks for the tips everyone!

Brandy said...

Try a pressure cooker! My fiance swears by them when it comes to cooking any type of bean.

Ceka said...

I've found that I get much better results if I soak the beans overnight, then put them in the crockpot (on low, with plenty of water, for about eight hours) during the day. The beans cook all the way through, and they're soft and ready to go after work.

I had tried soaking and boiling beans according to the directions, and I found that a lot of beans take MUCH longer to cook than the directions indicate. Apparently, some dried beans are drier than others, and it's hard to tell whether you've got an "extra dry" batch until it's 9 pm and you're still eating crunchy beans.

So the problem may not be you - it could be the beans! I'd try the crockpot (borrow one from freecycle if you don't have one - if you end up liking it, you can pick one up second hand) for 6-8 hours, and see if that helps.

Good luck! Those crunchy beans can be really frustrating.

Kate said...

When i do mine i soak them over night and them cook them in a crock pot with some sofrito that i make, its really good.

Tree Huggin Momma said...

Quick comments. First Black Beans and other small beans should be soaked in warm (which is actually just below boiling) water with an acid, whey,, keffir, lemon juice, vinegar. Cover with 2x as much water as you have beens and add 1TBS of acid. They will expand. Leave to soak for 24 hours, then rinse and pick out any bad beans, place in a crock pot and cook on low all day (6 hours) for optimal texture. Once cooked you can freezer them (in 1 cup containers) and use them as you like.
I recently learned the proper way to soak beans and I had always used canned cause it was a pita. Hope this helps.

Tree Huggin Momma said...

Do not use a pressure cooker to cook any food, you might as well as eat cardboard. The high temperature will cook your food fast but sabotage all the nutrients.

heatherly said...

You are getting a lot of good advice I'll just add my 2-cents.
I often forget to soak my beans the night before I need them (and yes, everyone is right the longer soak sure makes a difference) so I have started soaking beans on Sunday (for 24 hours), draining them and then putting them in the refrigerator to be simmered the night I need them. They last 3+ days like this; if I cannot use them by day 3 I just freeze them uncooked and use them within the next week. They may last longer than that in the freezer but I usually want them within a weeks time.

Leigh said...

One thing I've found is that stirring is an important part of bean cooking. I cook my beans on the stove, uncovered. If I don't stir, the ones on the bottom are falling apart and the ones on top are hard. But with a little periodic attention, the beans turn out great!

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