1. I’ve never cooked dried beans before, but my husband and I are trying to get away from the BPA and other yucky things in canned goods so we’re about to start cooking them.
    I have some ham bones in the freezer leftover from our summer meals. I’ve put ham & beans on our monthly menu for this fall and my plan is to use the slow cooker to make this dish.
    Your post makes cooking the beans seem so easy! Thanks for the tips!
    Shannon recently posted..Christmas in July: ‘Tis the Season for Serving OthersMy Profile

    1. Shannon,
      You’re welcome!
      You should try cooking the beans with a ham bone – that’s how I make split pea soup. So tasty.
      I hope you’ll try the beans. You’ll never go back to canned, I promise!
      Thanks for leaving a comment. :)

  2. I love this idea. …..in New Orleans we love red beans and I do a super large gumbo pot of them about twice a year and freeze and they come in so handy…..I leave them in the fridge to defrost while at work and it makes an easy meal with rice after a long hard day……Charles :)

  3. Tina

    Thank you for these great tips! I’ve been cooking with dry beans, but I was cooking a cup of raw beans a day. I soaked and then put them in the saute pan. It’s quite time consuming every morning and they also never get soft enough. Thanks to your crockpot suggestion, I have a feeling I’m going to save a lot of time and have better beans to eat to boot. I’m going to make them on Saturdays and have them the whole week or so.

    Thank you!!!

    1. Tina, you’re welcome!
      I can’t wait to hear if you’ve tried the slow-cooker and made them for a week at a time.
      Hats off to you for making them every morning. Very impressive!
      Thanks for leaving a comment.

  4. Karen G.

    As a huge energy saver I “cook” beans in my Thermos Bottle (for small amounts equal to 1-can of beans) or Thermal Cooker (for large amounts), or one of my several homemade “Wonder Ovens”, when I want to cook large quantities and use less energy and keep the kitchen cool. You can find on-line information about thermal cooking.

    The Solar Oven is another good method to use. I use quart jars spray-painted with black paint (heat-resistant paint made for BBQ grills) on the outside of the jars (black/dark containers and cookware work best in Solar Ovens), and load a number of those into the Solar Oven. I can cook several kinds of beans/grains at once using this method.

    More recently I’ve started sprouting beans first. It takes less time to cook them after they are sprouted, increases the vitamins and minerals, reduces the carbohydrates, increases the protein, and neutralizes the phytic acid, enzyme inhibitors, and it also breaks down difficult-to-digest complex sugars. All big pluses for a little extra work when using large quantities of beans as a meat substitute in your diet.

    You can also dehydrate cooked beans for “instant” beans, or mill dehydrated beans into bean flour for added nutrition and protein in baked goods, etc. As an example, I add dehydrated navy beans to tuna or salmon patties instead of bread/cracker crumbs. Karen G.

    1. Karen,
      These are wonderful tips! I especially want to try the dehydrated beans – I bought a dehydrator at an estate sale and have been trying different foods. The beans would be great to bring camping, too.
      As always, I appreciate your approach and methods. Thank you!!

  5. How funny is this: I’m trolling the Costco aisles today and my wife asks if we need a rack of canned beans. We agree to go with dry beans instead.

    She has a great recipe.
    David Gillaspie recently posted..Dark Boomer TreasureMy Profile

    1. Well done, David! I saw that same Costco aisle and was glad to not be buying canned beans. They’re expensive for what they are!
      Do tell on your wife’s recipe! I always need new bean recipes.
      Thanks for leaving a comment and tell your wife good job! :)

  6. This really does sound easy! I need to find just one recipe that my kids will eat with beans – something they will love! – to change their minds and help them see that beans are not “totally disgusting!” I have one child who is a vegetarian (actually a carbo-tarian) and I would like to help him develop a taste for beans to get some protien in his diet. Thanks for the good ideas for preparation and saving time!
    Annie Kip recently posted..Portland, Oregon Home Swap: Porch WisdomMy Profile

    1. Annie, you’re welcome!
      I forgot to tell you that I used your slow-cooker and made a batch of beans during our home exchange. I left you some beans in your freezer. Labeled 😉
      ps for spicing beans….add onion, garlic and cilantro. You can’t go wrong with black or pinto beans and those ingredients!

  7. kris

    What is your opinion on when to salt your beans? When you start cooking or when they are almost done? It seems like if I miss the window, I can’t get them seasoned correctly.

    1. Tina

      I am curious about this as well.

      Also, I made a whole batch this weekend following these instructions and it’s already cut my morning breakfast making by a fourth!!!

    2. Karen G.

      Here is a great “How-To” video from America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School. Bridget Lancaster explains the science, salting, and an interesting brining method.

    3. Kris,
      I don’t salt them before cooking them or during. I usually only salt them in a recipe (a little) or seated at the table. Try onion, garlic, cilantro – those will give you flavor without sodium – and YUM!

  8. PurpleIvy

    Thanks for the great post. I have cooked beans in different ways – stove top, microwave, pressure cooker, but not slow cooker to date. Which do you think is the most economical of the 4?

    1. Karen G.

      If you have a Kill-A-Watt electricity use monitor (I got mine at Amazon.com), you can see exactly how much electricity you use for different tasks, including cooking beans.

      -If you sprout beans first, they take the least amount of time to cook using any method (plus they are better for you and easier to digest).

      -Solar Ovens are free energy, but you first soak and bring the beans to a boil on the stove; place in the pre-heated solar oven and they will continue to simmer for 2 to 2-1/2 hours, or until tender.

      -Thermal cooking (Wonder Oven, Thermal Cooker or a Thermos Bottle) is supposed to use up to 80% less energy than traditional stove-top cooking. When using a Thermal Cooker you bring soaked beans up to a boil for 10-20 minutes on the stove (less time for small beans and more for large varieties), place the pan in the Thermal Cooker and they are ready in 2-4 hours (depending on size of bean). You use the same method for a Wonder Oven using a heavy pot. If you make a small amount of beans (pre-soaked) in a Thermos Bottle, the amount of energy is the hot tap water you place in the Thermos to pre-heat it (then dump out) and the boiling water it takes to “cook” the beans (great for an overnight method). The total stove-top time for a Thermal Cooker or Wonder Oven compares fairly closely to the total time it takes for a pressure cooker if you soak the beans first. A pressure cooker takes longer, therefore more energy than a Thermal method, if you use beans that haven’t been soaked.

      Although we all love the convenience of a slow-cooker (aka Crock-Pot), they can take more total energy over a long period of time than the short cooking time in a pressure cooker or a thermal cooking method. You can increase the energy savings a little for Thermal or Pressure Cooking by using an Induction Cook-top (faster and more energy efficient) instead of your regular electric or gas stove.

      I’ve never used a microwave for cooking beans because it usually takes 60 to 90 minutes, and would actually be one of the more expensive methods.

      Maybe someone else has a different experience and more tangible numbers.

    2. Well, I like Karen’s suggestions –
      I had a pressure cooker but it broke so I’m without one right now. That is the quickest way to cook beans! The slow-cooker is nice because I can leave the house – or cook them overnight if I need to.
      If you have a slow-cooker or pressure cooker, try those. If not, go with the stove top and see how it fits your needs.
      Good luck! Can’t wait to hear how it works. :)

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