Slow-cooker Black Beans

by Beth on May 19, 2010

I like to save money. Who doesn’t? If I can save some money by making something myself, assuming the time-commitment is not excessive, I’ll usually do it. For the longest time, dried beans remained the exception to the rule.  I knew that it would be a money saver, but I just never planned ahead enough…until today.

Once cooked, a one pound bag of dried beans yields about as much as three 15 ounce cans  These cans contain extra liquid… not to mention tons of salt.  At my local grocery store, a one pound bag of dried beans costs one dollar, while a 15 ounce can costs 80 cents.  Clearly, this is a savings opportunity.

How long will this take?   If you use your slow-cooker, there’s less than 5 minutes of attended preparation. I followed instructions from A Year of Slowcooking, and the whole process could not have been easier.  After an overnight soak, the water is changed and the slow-cooker is set to low for at least 8 hours. That’s it.

I used about 2.5 cups of beans in tonight’s dinner and bagged the rest up for future use.  According to the instructions I followed, the beans can be refrigerated for a week or frozen for six months.  I cook with beans quite often, so I definitely plan to do this again!

Cooking Dried Beans

1 bag dried black beans

1.  Pour the bag of beans into a colander and rinse in cold water Remove broken beans, any that look shriveled or anything that floats to the surface.
2.  Transfer beans to slow-cooker and add enough water so that the beans are submerged under two inches of water.
3.  Cover the slow-cooker but do not turn it on. Let the beans soak for at least 6 hours – overnight is fine. If your home is very warm, put the slow-cooker stoneware in the refrigerator to prevent bacteria growth.
4.  After the beans have soaked, drain the soaking water and rinse the beans.
5.  Return the beans to the slow-cooker. Cover with enough water to completely submerge the beans with an additional 2-3 inches.
6.  Cover and cook on low for at least 8 hours. The beans are done when they are bit-tender.
7.  Drain the beans and use in your favorite recipe or pack them for storage.

Since there’s no filler liquid, you can substitute 1 2/3 cups of freshly prepared beans for 1 can of beans.

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