I love being frugal. But sometimes, being frugal takes a lot of time and effort. In some cases, DIY is not a wise usage of time and energy. For example, making my own beans at home versus purchasing them already made in a can. The thought was a bit intimidating and didn't even consider it an option. But, when I found out how simple and affordable it is to make my own beans, I seriously considered going into the canned bean business! This DIY is both quick and simple. Green light all the way for DIY legumes.
Purchasing in bulk is a huge money saver. I've tried all sorts of beans. Garbanzo beans (chickpeas), black beans, pinto beans for homemade refried beans, and red beans for chili and canellini beans for soups, stews and side dishes. My mini-slow cooker is my favorite kitchen gadget for this method.
I have been purchasing dried beans in bulk for quite a while. I store them in glass mason jars in my pantry so they are easy to see. I never forget about them because they are right there in plain sight. Plus, the cupboard display is lovely. That makes me happy.
There are only a few simple ingredients to make your own beans at home. Start by rinsing the beans, then:
Seasonings to use for (in addition to 1 TBLS. salt & 1 TBLS. pepper):
PINTO BEANS - cumin, red pepper flake, 2 bay leaves (5 hours on high)
BLACK BEANS - cumin, red pepper flake, 2 bay leaves, cilantro (4 hours on high)
GARBANZO BEANS - dried parsley, 1 peeled garlic clove (4 hours on high)
NOTE FOR BEANS FOR DESSERT RECIPES: Many dessert recipes call for beans. Have you heard of Black Bean Brownies? Or Garbanzo Pizzookie? If you're making beans for a dessert, use less salt in the slow cooker and no other seasonings.
A NOTE ABOUT LENTILS
I usually cook them stove top. They cook very fast (30 minutes or so). But they will work in a slow cooker also. They take less water and only 2 hours on high to complete. When I use a slow cooker for lentils, I add carrots, celery and onions (sometimes kale) in addition to seasonings.
Every crockpot is different. I have THREE and they are never done at the same time. So ... my nose tells me when beans are done. This pot of pinto beans cooked on high for 4 hours. DONE!
I spooned off most of the cooking liquid and reserved. Then, I used my immersion blender to make the beans smooth. If they are too dry, I have the cooking liquid in reserve to add back in.
STORAGE: The beans will be good to use when you store them in your refrigerator up to 4 days. If you want to make several batches at once and store for later (HIGHLY RECOMMEND), store in glass mason jars, leaving at least 2 inches of space from the top and they will store in your freezer for 3 months.
There you have it. Everything you need to know about DIY dried beans. I'd love to hear from you at JODI@NOWGOCOOK.com.