Yes, black beans…dried black beans…they are simple and easy to prepare and can be used in a plethora of ways…
To be honest, I haven’t always prepared beans from scratch…for years I bought the canned varieties…until I finally realized how easy (and better) they are to make at home. Added bonus – the cost. Dried beans are a fraction of the cost of canned and there’s nothing ‘hidden’ (excess salt and other additives)… plus, you end up with SO much more when you prepare them yourself. No special equipment is needed – just a little time and forethought.
One cup raw beans yields about 3 cups cooked – yes, they triple in quantity! A little sure does go a long way with these black beauties…and they are so versatile! Eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks or appetizers. Make extra and freeze. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and taste – what’s not to love?
Soaking – not as much trouble as you may think – really;
Quick soaking method;
First pick out all the odd looking, cracked or wrinkled beans.
Rinse well with water.
Place beans in pot.
Cover with three times the amount of water (1 cup beans = 3 cups water).
Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat, keep covered and then let sit for one hour.
Then drain water, rinse and cook as directed below.
Traditional soaking method – place ‘picked-over’ beans in a pot in the AM, let sit overnight, cook the following morning, afternoon or evening.
Instead of bringing to a boil, simply soak overnight for 12-24 hours.
Drain soaking water and then throughly rinse.
Cook as directed below.
That’s it to soaking – a little planning and a little time are all that is needed.
How to cook soaked beans;
Rinse soaked beans (this helps aid in digestion) in a colander, under running water (filtered if possible).
Return beans to pot (a pot large enough to handle the tripling of the beans) and cover with three times the amount of water (1 cup beans = 3 cups water).
Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, then simmer, covered, for 1-2 hours, or until tender.
Here’s the key – do not salt beans until they are finished cooking.
Use in a plethora of ways or freeze for later.
Now wasn’t that easy?
Black beans will keep fresh in the fridge for about 3-4 days and for months in the freezer…
Here’s a few ideas for what to do with all those beans now that you’ve cooked them!
Basic prep to use in burritos, tacos, quesadillas, nachos or even soup;
Chop one large onion, saute until browned in olive oil, add one clove garlic (chopped), add cooked black beans, season with a generous pinch or two of salt, freshly ground black pepper, one-two tablespoons cumin, one good handful chopped fresh cilantro and juice from two limes – that’s it. Use right away or freeze for later…
Add more spices such as chipotle, red chili’s, or add freshly chopped spinach, kale or cabbage – they are so versatile, have fun with them and spice ’em up as you like! Serve over rice topped with salsa – dinner is served!
Throw a handful of black beans into meat chili for some added flavor and fibre, add a large spoonful to your scrambled eggs and top with fresh salsa, puree with stock and black bean soup is ready in minutes – the options go on and on…try dried beans and you’ll never go back to canned!