Bring on the Beans!

You know that beans are healthy and cheap, especially if you cook them yourself.  Some people may think it is not worth the trouble, but I say, what trouble?  

Here is the basic technique for making beans.

Measure out the amount of beans you want.  Rinse thoroughly while checking for rocks and yucky looking beans. Soak in water for 4-8 hours, or boil some water and soak the beans in it for an hour.  You don’t even really need to soak your beans if you don’t want too, they just take a bit longer to cook if you don’t.  Put the beans in a heavy pan that has a lid.  For every 1 cup of beans, add 2-3 cups water.  The water should come to about an inch over the beans.  Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat, cover, and simmer till done.  The time will vary according to the size of bean, whether you soaked them, and their age.  It usually takes 3-4 hours.  

Sounds simple enough, right?  The part that I have trouble with for some reason is maintaining a simmer.  I don’t know what my problem is, but whenever I check on them they are either boiling, which breaks them up, or they are just sitting there hanging out in the sauna.  I have found a solution!

I now bring my beans to a boil on the stovetop, then I put the cover on and put them in a preheated 300 degree oven.  I cook them for a few hours, adding the salt about half way through, and Presto!, perfect beans.  They taste even better than if I made them on the stovetop, and they are even easier to make this way.

There are so many things you can do with beans.  Go look in just about any ethnic cookbook and you will find tons of ideas.  There are also plenty of bean devoted cookbooks.  Of course, with all the cooking sites on the internet, you can find tons of recipes online as well.  Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for 4 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.

Go make some beans!


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