The Art of Cooking Dry Beans

In my busy, oft times hectic day, meal times can either be a blessing or a huge burden. I try to stay on top of things and prepare menus and meals ahead of time. I rely on the crock pot as well as freezer meals to make my job a bit less demanding. During this busy summer of children, job changes and moving houses, I have frequently utilized the simple art of cooking beans.
I say ART, because I believe that cooking beans requires more knowledge and experience than the average homemaker these days has. I certainly didn’t know how to cook a pot of beans.
I remember the bean disaster I concocted in my early days of being a homemaker. I am not sure what I did or didn’t do, but I remember my husband and I standing over the stove looking at the finished product in bewilderment. He ended up walking the pot of bubbled mush out the back door.
After that, I didn’t torture myself and attempt to cook beans. However, over the years, I have gained a considerable amount of homemaking skills that I didn’t have as a new homemaker. One of those skills is making beans.
Most modern homemakers are scared of beans and assume that they are more trouble than what they are worth– which isn’t much in reality as they are cheap and easy once you have a bit of practice!
My great-aunt taught me a great deal about beans. She is a bean expert! She can tell you exactly what types of seasoning go with which bean. I have simplified my bean repertoire to black beans, pinto beans and a pinto and white bean that I have yet to learn the name of mix.
When cooking beans you must carefully wash them and make sure they do not have any rocks or dirt. I rarely have rocks or dirt but sometimes some bags of beans do contain little rocks and are dirtier than others. Once you have washed and rinsed them really good, soak them in water overnight or the day before. Put a little bit of apple cider vinegar in the water while the beans are soaking to eliminate gas in the beans. If you soak the beans over night, in the morning you will want to drain the soaking water and rinse the beans before adding new water to begin the cooking.
I turn my crockpot on high and let them start cooking. A crock pot on a low setting doesn’t cook beans very well. The last time I made beans, I did notice foam bubbles at the top, however, I just skimmed them off and added a bit more water. The beans turned out great.
I put my beans on in the morning and let them cook the entire day. I add bacon or pork jowl or a ham hock. I do not like using pork but I have yet to find a comparable seasoning for beans. I also add a chopped onion, some minced garlic, salt and pepper. Last time I didn’t add the seasonings until the afternoon and it still turned out.
Cook the beans down until the water has turned into a thicker liquid and the beans are soft.
Serve over rice. Add some homemade cornbread! YUMMY! If you make black beans, these are great with tacos or quesadillas. You can make refried beans out of your black beans or pinto beans by smashing your beans up with a potato masher in a skillet over a little heat.

2 Comments

  • sarah walston says:

    If you cut up some sausage links into your black beans, add some cumin and a little chili powder, you have a really great “gumbo” type meal you can serve over rice.
    I prefer cooking dry beans too – MUCH cheaper than the cans. But, since I don’t usually plan ahead too well I usually end up buying the canned beans!!

  • sarah says:

    WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY too much work described above. Are you even human? I think you must be part machine. 🙂

Leave a Comment