Monday, February 25, 2013

Crockpot Beans- How to cook, store, and freeze beans for later

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Secret? I do this without the crockpot most of the time on my good ole fashioned stove top. Either way works very well. We cook with a lot of beans in this house. Just this week alone we are having white chili (white beans), Minestrone soup (kidney beans), and balsamic lime stew with beans and veggies (kidney, black and white beans). I actually have to watch the amount of bean dishes I make in a single week and purposely try and not go overboard. And, while I don't pretend to be an expert on the matter, canned beans freak me out a little in their tin cans. You hear about BPA and metal and the word toxic gets thrown around. I still use canned products but I try and use dried beans whenever possible. Since learning how to cook up a big batch then freezing the cooked beans for later use, it's become a lot easier. Dried beans that you cook yourself are creamier. They are also slightly starchier I've noticed, which I love because it helps to thicken up my chili dishes ever so slightly. If you use them in a dish without broth, you'd never notice this so don't worry.

Crockpot Method for Cooking Dried Beans:

Step 1: IF you live at high altitude, you must soak your beans in a bowl of water overnight. If you don't live at high altitude, you can skip this step. Just cover your beans with about two inches of water and leave it on the counter.

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Step 2: Place your beans (straight from the bag and dried if you live at lower elevations) in a crockpot

Step 3: Fill your crockpot with water about two inches above the beans

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Step 4: Set crockpot to high and cook beans for 4 hours for lower altitudes and 6.5 hours for high altitude. Check to make sure your beans are tender. If not, set your timer for another 30 minutes and walk away.

(To make on a stove top, pour your soaked beans in a large stock pot and cover with 2-3 inches of fresh water. Simmer with a lid partially covering the pot for 6 hours, checking every now and again to make sure there is enough water in the pot and adding more if needed. At lower latitude you could probably get away with cooking for only 4 hours.)

Freezing and Storing Cooked Beans for Future use:

Step 1: Drain cooked beans

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Step 2: Place beans in a Freezer safe ziplock bag and store in the freezer. (I measure out 1.5 cups for each bag since it equals what would be in 1 can of canned beans. See "additional tips" for more info) The beans don't need any additional liquid in order to freeze properly.

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Step 3: When you need your beans, you can take them straight out of the freezer and add them to your dishes. They will thaw and break up easily.

Additional Tips:

1 15-ounce can of beans equals:
- 1/2 cup dry beans, before cooking
-1 1/2 cups beans, after cooking

1 pound dry beans equals:
-2 cups dry beans, before cooking
-6 cups beans, after cooking
-4 15-ounce cans of beans

I buy two pound bags of beans from my health food store for a couple bucks and make what would be equal to 8 cans of beans! It's simple, easy and affordable.

6 comments:

  1. this is such a great post! I always feel like I'm wasting SO much money buying canned beans but I thought cooking them on the stovetop was too much work. Maybe I will try this. Also, do you know the best way to store beans after you open the can? In refrig? in freezer? Mine go bad so quickly in the refrig!

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