tidbits about beans

Just a few things to talk about for this fine Wednesday morning.

First.

Since posting “Recipes for Mom – Beans,” I’ve had quite a few questions on the topic. 

*Edited to add: The below Q+A is for the crock pot method of cooking beans, which is detailed in the post I linked to above.  Sorry for the confusion on that.  If you boil beans on the stove top it takes 1-2hrs and they should not be boiled over high heat.  Here is a link to the stovetop bean cooking method.

  • Do all beans take 5-7hrs of cook time?
    • Generally, yes.  So far I’ve cooked: kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans, white beans, pinto beans and they have all cooked within that time frame.  It just depends how “done” you want them.  If you’re using a smaller bean, like mini chickpeas, the cook time will be less.
    • If you’re cooking a very large pot of beans [~6c dry] it will take about 1-2hrs longer.
  • Can you use the “high” setting to cook them?
    • I typically cook them on high for an hour, and then turn them to low for 3-4hrs.  I have never cooked them on high the whole time, but it may work.
  • Do you have to soak the beans overnight + then rinse before cooking?
    • Soaking isn’t 100% necessary, but I feel it’s a pretty crucial part of the process. 
      • cuts down cooking time
      • thoroughly washes the beans, because they go through no cleansing process before packaging [who knows what has touched those beans!]
      • makes them easier to digest, and decreases their gaseous properties
  • Can you cook multiple types of beans together?
    • Just tested this on Monday and the answer is yes!  It worked perfectly

I used about 2c of each, dried black beans, kidney beans + pinto beans.  Rinsed them, soaked them, rinsed again, then set them in the slow cooker for about 7-8hrs.  It took a bit longer because this was a hefty load of beans!  My plan was to use this mix for chili and freeze the leftovers.  Which brings me to my next two points…

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Second.

As many of you mentioned, you can successfully freeze beans, by freezing them in their cooking liquid!!  This works like a charm!  I have frozen them in freezer bags or tupperware, with the liquid just above the level of the beans.  Freezing them without the liquid, results in a wet, chewy texture after thawing.  The only annoying part is, you need to wait until your cooking liquid cools before putting it in the bag or container you are using.  Do not let the beans cool in the cooking liquid, or they will become overcooked.  To thaw, I just stick the bag or container in the fridge, drain the liquid and rinse the beans.  Like I’ve said before, slow cooking beans [or pressure cooking which takes like 15min] is substantially cheaper

Third.

Last February, I created a recipe for Cocoa Chili.  It is my favorite chili recipe to date.  The 1/4c of unsweetened cocoa powder, adds a delectable richness, that will keep you coming back for more.

With cooling temps, I was in the mood for a hearty meal.  We were also having company for dinner, and chili + cornbread are always an '”easy to please” meal.  What I discovered today, is that you can cook this recipe in your slow cooker!!!  No messing with sautéing the onion, garlic, + bell pepper, then adding in the seasonings, stirring + adding more ingredients, etc. 

Chop it.  Toss it in.  Let it sit.  Done!

Refer to the recipe for exact ingredients and then follow these instructions.

  1. Chop veggies + garlic and add them to the pot, along with the tomatoes, green chilies, beans, broth + spices. 
  2. The only ingredient I added to the list was 1/4t coriander, but you’re fine without it. 
  3. Then, forget about it for 8hrs on low. 
  4. Also, since this wasn’t cooked uncovered on the stove, it didn’t have the change to boil off some of the liquid and thicken.  Instead, in the last 1 hour of cooking, I mixed 1 heaping tablespoon of arrowroot starch + about 1T water, stirred it into the mix.  This helped to thicken the broth. 
  5. Bask in the savory, rich deliciousness.

I doubled the recipe, because we’re all about leftovers.  And I already have big plans for them.

[photo taken pre-cooking]

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Fourth.

Stay tuned for a recap of my gluten free cornbread baking trials + the resulting “no-fail” recipe!

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Happy day in the middle of the week!

Ashley