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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, I haven't had much experience with dried beans. Most of the time I go with canned beans when I cooked. I know enough to soak them overnight and drain before using them. But after that, I'm still a bit of a novice. I think the last time I tried using dried beans, I added them too late to the soup. So the beans were still a bit al dente, I guess you could say. Am I just not letting the beans cook long enough? (I'm thinking of using my crockpot, rather just on the stove top.)
 

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A crock pot works great! I have a big crock pot so I put in 6 cups of dry beans and add as much cold water as I can without worrying about it boiling over. I cook them on low overnight and add salt when they are done. If you add the salt before they are tender, they will not cook as well or as quickly. We eat beans every day so most people wouldn't want to cook 6 cups of dry beans at one time.

The reason I add cold water is that I want it to take time to warm up and soak the beans a bit.

I also cook beans in a pressure cooker. Again don't add the salt until they are tender.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the advice on the salt. I never would've thought of that. I don't mind cooking a larger batch of beans even though I'm not cooking for a lot people since I can always freeze the leftovers if I have to.

I just tried "soaking" my latest test batch of dried beans and cooked them on low heat most of the day. Right now, I'm letting them cool overnight as I'm not comfortable leaving my crockpot on overnight. It's a relatively new one so it shouldn't be a problem but I'm just paranoid about things like that. So tomorrow I'm thinking of either reheating my beans in some bbq sauce I bought some time ago (it's never been opened so it should be ok) or knocking together a soup with a beef bullion cube, some spices/garlic and frozen veggies I'd like to get rid of. I'll let you know how it works out.

More suggestions/advice is still appreciated!
 

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when i do white beans in the CP they seem to get to soggy for me. so, i soak over night and then rinse, add to a pot cover w/ water add a quartered onion, some garlic cloves and a bay leaf, bring to a boil, then partly cover w/ lid and let simmer for about 2 hrs and they are perfect that way!

Black beans i do in the CP. after soaking over night. do them on low for about 5 hrs or so

pinto beans i soak over night then drain and do on the stove w/ onion and garlic and simmer then mash a bit and serve w/ feta cheese and diced tomaote and red onions
 

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I do mixed beans. Put about 1/3 qt in a qt jar, fill with water in the evening. Let sit overnight, rinse in morning, put in 2 1/2qt CP, better-than cover with water. Cook on high. In my case I add molasses, garlic, salt, onion, cloves, mustard, cumin, chili powder, and ketchup at around 1:30pm. It's ready to eat at 5.
 

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When I make bean soup, I normally just rinse the beans and just put them in dry, and don't bother soaking. I just bring to a boil, then simmer on low for most of the day. I cook them with carrots, onion, celery and either ham or smoked sausage. also, I always add a touch of brown sugar to my bean soup, just something my grandmother always did, so I have to as well!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the suggestions, folks. I didn't get around to making my soup so I just put my beans in the fridge. If the snow storm is bad enough to close down work, I'll let you know how the soup works. But they did turn out softer than my previous attempt. I think it's because I soaked them on low heat for several hours then left them in the water overnight. So I can either throw in the bbq sauce or make the soup.

But your recipes sound real good. Now that I'm a little more comfortable with using dried beans, I'll try them out sometime. Since I know my Mom has a CP at her place, I can throw something together for my parents when I'm hanging out there. Simply put the beans to soak on Friday then use them for soup or chili the next day.
 

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There is also the quick soak method. Put them in a pan cover wtih plenty of water, bring them to a boil, let them sit, covered, for an hour. Change the water and cook.

Sometimes I also soak dried beans and freezet them uncooked. I prefer them fresh cooked rather than frozen and thawed. If I cook them to just the stage I like them, they are too soft for my taste after they have been frozen. That cuts down the time it takes to prepare them - no long or even quick soak involved.

Bean soup is a good way to use up leftover spaghetti sauce - rince the bottle and pour it in - but at the end like salt, because acid (from tomatoes) also affects how they cook.
 

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I have noticed the fresher the beans (as figured by the "use by" date on the pakaging) the better they work. I am not so good yet as I only have used them a few times from the dried state.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks again for the advice, folks. I'm thinking of making the soup this week, depending on the snow. I do have some frozen veggies that I want to get rid of but I'm not sure how good they are as they're pretty old. On the other hand, I just realized that the little Indian grocery store across the street might have onions and maybe other veggies, if that's the case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Made the soup. It was ok, mostly because I was experimenting and probably over 'spiced' it. I think I was overcompensating because I didn't add any meat, only beef bullion. (Ended up having to add two cubes.) It's not bad and will just require more experimentations. lol

I think once I clean out my crock pot, I'll try the beans with the bbq sauce.
 
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