|Garlic and bay leaves, both from the garden, add flavor.|
These well-seasoned beans are delicious as a side dish or wrapped in a warm Whole Wheat Tortilla. We love them best in Confetti Bowls for a quick lunch or snack. The method outlined below utilizes two important principles. The first is fermentation, which according to Sally Fallon Morell in her book Nourishing Traditions, improves digestibility of the beans, which in turn reduces gastric upset. The second is brining, which according to America’s Test Kitchen, tenderizes the seed coat.
1 lb. dry beans (2 cups)
4 quarts room temperature water, 70-75 degrees F
1/4 cup whey or lemon juice
2 Tbs sea salt
8 cups hot water
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
Place beans of choice in a large bowl, pot, or other container. Add water, whey, and salt. Soak at room temperature overnight or up to 24 hours.
Drain beans into a colander and rinse thoroughly.
Transfer beans to a large pot, add 8 cups hot water, bay leaf, and garlic. Bring to a boil, uncovered, over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, tilt the lid on the pot, and simmer until desired tenderness is reached, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
|Skim foam from the pot with a mesh strainer.|
OR cook in a slow cooker on HIGH heat for 3 to 4 1/2 hours.
Test several beans to determine doneness. Older beans will take longer to cook, and really old beans may not soften.
Remove beans from heat, uncover, and let cool in their liquor for 1 hour. Remove bay leaf.
Use immediately or package for the freezer. Drain the beans and transfer to wide-mouth pint jars , freezer containers or freezer bags. A pound of beans yields three 2 cup packages, equivalent to 3 cans of beans.
Thaw frozen beans in one of the following ways:
- defrost overnight in the refrigerator
- thaw in the microwave on the defrost setting (not jars)
- thaw tightly closed container in a large bowl of warm water (not jars)
- set out at room temperature for an hour, then slide beans from their container into a small pan for heating.