It's -19º with a -45º windchill today. 🥶 Cooking dried beans kept the kitchen warm and infused the air with much needed humidity keeping us extra toasty warm all morning. I like to prepare my own beans because they are less expensive than canned and I can control what I add to them making them easier to digest.
Beans are an excellent source of fiber, protein and an array of vitamins & minerals including potassium, iron and magnesium. The cooking time remains the same whether cooking 1 cup of beans or 1 pound of beans, so I like to prepare my beans in large quantities and store in the freezer to have on hand. Fortunately, as I was stocking up in preparation for the polar vortex, I noticed the bulk beans were on sale so I stocked up purchasing about 2lbs each of Pinto, Kidney and Garbanzo (aka Chick Peas) beans. I will admit, when I saw my stash soaking I thought I may have over done it, but it all worked out. 😬
This recipe includes my tips for helping to reduce gas from beans including the use of baking soda to soak the beans and cooking with any combination of bay leaf, ginger and kombu.
1/4 tsp baking soda
2-3 bay leaves
2 inches of ginger, cut in half
1.5 sheets of kombu
Start by placing your dried beans in a large bowl, sprinkle with baking soda and cover with cold water. Fill the bowl with enough water so the beans have space to plump up as they absorb water in the soaking process. Cover the bowl and leave on counter to soak over night, at least 8 hours.
Once boiling, remove the lid and use a spoon to scoop off the white foam that forms in the pot. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until beans are tender, 1-2 hours is typical depending on the type. The pinto beans cooked fastest and the garbanzos took the longest, but I prefer my beans to be quite tender, especially garbanzo beans.
Test for doneness and when beans are tender, remove from heat. Drain the beans* in colander, remove ginger, kombu and bay leaves and allow to cool. I have found the kombu sometimes breaks up when cooking making a few small pieces difficult to remove. You may either rinse this off the beans or store with the beans, the small amount will not impact the taste. *You may reserve and store with cooking liquid if you wish. I discard the liquid and store beans on their own.
If you are planning to use the beans right away, drain beans (or use the cooking liquid) and season according to your recipe.
I like repurpose glass jars for freezer storage (no, they don't break in the freezer). Once cooled, use a measuring cup or large spoon to scoop the beans into jars or containers for storage. Screw top on tightly and store in the freezer. When ready to use, beans will need about 2 hours to thaw so you can remove them from the jar. Beans store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Here is my finished product, I didn't have quite enough jars for this volume of beans (like I said, I was ambitious!), but I know we will have chili soon so I packaged pinto and kidney beans together in freezer bags for 2 batches of chili. We are ready for the rest of winter!
I am an animal loving-Vegan runner, I practice and teach Kundalini Yoga and I love to cook and eat flavorful plant-based food.