|The temptation to cook kidney beans on the stove fizzled quickly ...|
For quite some time, I've heard that you can cook dried beans in the crock pot. (EXCEPT red beans/kidney beans-- they have a special toxin all their own and must be boiled for a certain length of time to kill it.) Until now, I've been too lazy to attempt it. With prices soaring, and having a large supply of dried beans, I decided that the time has come.
|Beans, beans, beans!!|
I decided on black beans (no red beans today), black-eyed peas, and baby lima beans. (I own three crock pots of varying sizes; why not use them all?) After scouring the internet for information, I began the process.
*Sort the beans. Things to look for are: anything non-bean, shriveled or ugly beans, little pock marks, or broken beans. Anything answering to these descriptions should be tossed. Where, you say? Anywhere but the bowl!
*Soak the sorted beans overnight in water that is just cool. (One or two sites that I looked at stated that cold water can actually cause the outer shell of the bean to toughen.)
*I soaked my beans in plastic bowls; I've noticed when I do this in my glass bowls or metal bowls, the beans sometimes take on a metallic taste. (Think chewing tinfoil on old fillings-- NOT pleasant!)
*I decided that the beans were soft enough when I could easily break them by pinching them between my fingernails. (No, I did not put those ones back in.)
*After soaking, sort the beans again. Remove any that float; I chose to pull out any that had not softened. (This was only a problem with the limas; the other beans all softened up fine.)
*Add the beans to the crock pot(s). Completely cover with water. I also tossed in some dried minced onion, minced garlic, and black pepper. I know it's tempting to add salt, but be strong! Salt will toughen your beans, and they'll never turn soft and usable.
|Yes, my counters are that small. Three crock pots pretty well dominate the kitchen.|
*One website suggested storing the beans in their liquid; the rest said to drain those beautiful beans. I took the easy road and drained the broth.
*Transfer beans in 1 2/3 cup portions to freezer bags or containers. This is the equivalent of one can of beans. (Remember that in recipes that call for the liquid from a can of beans, you will need to add your own. I would sub in water or chicken broth, depending on the recipe.)
*Seal them up, removing as much air as possible, and toss them in the freezer.
|Bagged, flattened, and ready to freeze ... Do you like my crazy ancient linoleum in the bottom of this shot? Pretty sure it's older than me ...|
I will definitely be doing this again. It was super easy, and the beans turned out pretty tasty (no tinfoil teeth here). We did add some seasoning and a tiny bit of butter to the ones we ate for dinner, but even my non-bean lover ate two bowlfuls. I've mentioned my disinclination to expend extra effort before, so I know you won't be surprised when I state that I bagged the beans in 2 cup portions instead of the recommended 1 2/3 cups. (I don't have a dishwasher; I'm all about going easy on the mess ... ) Even then, we still came out with three bags each of the black beans and black-eyed peas and four bags of lima beans. If I'd used the correct portion size, I could probably have made two more bags. Because they store flat, these take up far less space than the equivalent cans.
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