I. Love. Black. Beans.
I add black beans to almost everything – salads, soups, pasta, frozen vegetables, rice and other side dishes. I have even put them in brownies!
Since time is a very valuable commodity, I have always used canned black beans. But since being home on maternity leave, I decided to give making my own black beans a try. I know of others that make and freeze their own beans, but always thought of them as dedicated “foodies” and people with more time on their hands than me. Well, I am here to say that making your own dried beans is oh-so-easy. And I am now officially hooked.
I made up a double batch because my crock pot is pretty big. You could just do 1 bag if you have a smaller 3 qt. pot.
Making them is simple and took way less time and energy than I thought it would. I’ve always thought that you have to pre-soak your beans, which was a limiting factor for me.
There are many different conflicting opinions on the best way to make dried beans, but I have taken the most efficient method. (Remember, I’m not a lazy cook, I’m efficient – there’s a difference.)
To make, rinse your dried beans in a colander and remove any stones or “ugly” beans.
Place beans in a crock-pot and cover with water so it is about 1.5 inches above the beans. (I use the “finger method to measure). Your fingers should be touching the beans and the water will be about half way between your first and second knuckle.
I added two bay leaves and a little salt to help keep the beans from getting mushy (1/4 tsp for 2 pounds beans). Again, when to add salt to dried beans is a source of discussion, but for simplicity, I add mine right away. After all, the benefit of using the crock pot is so “she” does the work for me. 😉
Turn the crock pot on HIGH for 3-4 hours (check at 3 hrs). I like my beans a bit firmer since I almost always cook them when I add them to my dish.
Drain beans and rinse with cold water.
Package beans in freezer bags. I chose to use 1 cup per bag and cute snack bags. One cup is a great size and I find it super easy to pull a bag (or two) from the freezer to add to any meal.
I find the smaller bags size (1 cup vs 2 cups) makes it easier to through just a little in a dish. If I want 2 cups, I can take out 2 packs, simple as that!