Black Beans, Pinto Beans, Refried Beans, Garbanzo Beans, Great Northern Beans, Kidney Beans, Cannellini Beans, Black-eyed Peas, Lima Beans. Canned beans are infinitely useful. They are also inexpensive and easy to prepare from scratch in quantity. I love having a variety of ready-to-use cooked beans in my freezer for recipes. The method outlined below utilizes two important principles. The first is brining, which according to America’s Test Kitchen, tenderizes the seed coat. The second is fermentation, which according to Sally Fallon Morell in her book Nourishing Traditions, improves digestibility of the beans, which reduces gastric upset. People often ask, “How can I reduce the gas-causing effect of eating beans?” Eat small amounts of beans often until your intestines develop the necessary flora to easily and properly digest them – and preparing them this way makes it simple! Related recipes: Mexican-Style Pinto Beans, Un-Refried Beans, Cuban-Style Black Beans, Confetti Bowl. Tip: Use your water bath canner to cook 4 pounds of beans at one time. Thank you to my friend Beverly for the idea to package pre-cooked beans for the freezer in 2 cup packages – just like a can of beans from the store!
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
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, and 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.
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.
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.
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