The Ultimate Guide Cooking with Dried Beans

Monday, April 17, 2017

This is the world's driest blog post title (pun intended).  But really, what a boring topic.  However, I have a feeling this type of post will be useful to some of you, so I wanted to write it anyway.

My church has a big focus on preparing for the future and being self reliant.  Part of that focus is putting some food away for an emergency.  Typically it is a actually a lot of food (a three month to one year supply for each person in your family).

As a kid, I always thought this was some zombie apocalypse-type preparation, but really, it is more about being prepared for loss of a job, a natural disaster, or something other situation where getting food might be difficult.  Basically just being smart and having extra on hand.

The issue is that in our age of pre-prepared everything, a lot of people don't know how to cook with the kinds of items that can be stored long-term (think beans, lentils, oats, flour, etc), because lots of people rarely make food from scratch.

Last week, I gave a little presentation to the ladies from church about using up beans from food storage.  I made two different recipes, and talked about how easy beans are to make.  I

I thought it might be helpful for more than just those ladies, so here we go!

For starters, dried beans are much cheaper than canned beans.  I looked on Sam's club's website (because it was easier than trying to figure out what was the best deal on amazon), and these were the price differences, and the amount in cups that each would give you.

$7.73 for a six pack of 29 oz cans (these are really big cans, not your standard 15 oz cans) = approximately 21.6 cups of beans in a six pack.

$8.29 for a 12 pound bag of dried beans  = 72 cups of cooked beans

It is pretty complicated to figure out exactly how much less it is for dried vs canned, but this gives you a general idea of how much less it will cost you (I think I overestimated how much you would save in my class... sorry ladies!).

Now onto cooking dried beans a few different ways:  

Cooking Directions in a Crockpot (if you want a swinging flavor on these, try this crockpot method):

2 cups of dry beans

4-6 cups water (enough to cover the black beans by two or three inches)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 bay leaf

Rinse the dry beans, put them in the crockpot, and cover with water.  Sprinkle garlic powder, and add bay leaf.  Let cook on high for 3-4 hours, until they are soft.  Let them cool and freeze or refrigerate and use within 5 days.

Stove Top Directions:

2 cups of dried beans
4-6 cups of water (enough to cover the beans by two or three inches)
¼ tsp garlic powder
1 bay leaf

Rinse beans, put them in the pot, cover the pot, and bring the pot to a boil.  Turn down the heat, once you have reached a boil, and let it simmer for a looooong time, with the lid on.  Probably about 1-3 hours, checking on them occasionally.  Once they are soft, remove from heat, drain and refrigerate or freeze them.

Instapot Directions: 

1 pound dried beans
8 cups water (don’t fill your instapot more than halfway full)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 to 2 teaspoons salt
2 or 3 cloves peeled garlic, optional
1 bay leaf, optional

Combine ingredients (make sure your pressure cooker is not more than halfway full).  Seal the lid. Cook the beans (check your instapot manual for exact cook times per type of bean you are using).  Let the pressure release naturally.

Conversions for dried to cooked beans:

1 pound dried beans = Up to 6 cups of cooked beans
1 cup dried beans = 3 cups of cooked beans
⅓ cup dried beans = 1 cup cooked beans
⅔ cup dried beans = 2 cups cooked beans

A few random notes: 

- Old beans will take longer to cook.  I have only used 2-3 year old beans, so I have never had that issue, but if you beans are really old, they could take many more hours to cook, so plan ahead.

- Don't cook Red Kidney Beans in the CrockPot, unless you have boiled them for 10 minutes on the stove first, because they contain a toxic element that has to be cooked out.  See this article for more info.

- Pretty much any type of bean (White, pinto, black-eyed pea, garbanzo, and black beans) will work cooking in any of these methods. I cook the most with black beans, garbanzo beans and white beans.  I rarely cook with pinto or black-eyed peas.  

Now onto the most interesting part of this whole post.  Recipes for using beans!  I use them in everything, so here are a few great ways to use them up!


Tacos and Wraps:




Salads and Bowls:

Happy Cooking!  Let me know if you have other questions!


1 comment

  1. You can also freeze beans! I love making a big batch and then pulling out what I need for a salad or whatnot.


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