How to Batch Cook Soaked Beans
This post is written by contributing writer, Paula from Whole Intentions.
I love convenience foods.
They’re just so. . . convenient. For example, canned beans – you open the can, rinse off the beans, and plop them into a hot dish. Ahhhh.
But convenience comes with a price tag.
Canned foods (like all processed foods) are known to contain harmful ingredients. Artificial sweeteners, preservatives, coloring, and flavoring are added to make food last longer, look better, and taste better. But some of these additives, like monosodium glutamate (MSG) and aspartame, are carcinogenic, or cancer-causing.
And by now we’ve all heard about the dangers of BPA, not only in plastic, but the lining inside cans of vegetables, fruits, soups, and meats. BPA is an endocrine disruptor. The National Institute of Environmental Health Studies defines that as interfering with the body’s endocrine system and producing adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects. (source)
The convenience price tag is too rich for my blood.
So, what’s a busy mom to do when she’s got a family hankering for baked beans or a steaming pot of chili? A little bit of planning, a few pounds of raw beans, some boiling water, and a special ingredient. Welcome to convenience – a la mom.
How to Batch Cook Soaked Beans
1. First, we begin by soaking our beans. Grandma used to do this. Why? Because soaking beans breaks down complex sugars and makes it easier for your digestion – this is important for anyone with digestive issues such as Crohns, IBS, celiac, gluten intolerance, etc.
Take 2 cups of beans, put them in a pot or large jar and cover them with at least 4 cups of filtered water. (In these pictures I’m soaking 6 cups of beans in a gallon jar and I added more water as they expanded.)
2. Stir in 1-2 tablespoons of an acidic liquid (homemade yogurt, kefir, whey, lemon juice, buttermilk, or apple cider vinegar) per cup of water. These acidic liquids aid in breaking down anti-nutrients which is important for digestion.
3. Cover and let sit on the counter for 12-24 hours (even 36 hrs is okay). If you see tiny little sprouts, that’s okay, it’s all part of the process. It happens when soaking grains and nuts, too. The beans will expand A LOT. You’ll want to check on them every so often to make sure they stay covered with water. If they’re peeking out, just add more water.
4. After soaking, drain and rinse the beans until all the foamy scum is washed away. That scum can cause gas, heartburn, reflux, and other uncomfortable digestive issues, so wash them really well. 🙂
5. Pour the beans into a pot, cover with fresh water, bring to a boil, and skim away any additional foam that may come to the top.
6. Turn down the heat to a simmer, add 4 crushed garlic cloves (optional), and cook until the beans are just soft (about 4-8 hours). If you cook them too long they’ll smash together and make bean paste. Not bad, just might not be the result you’re after. 🙂
7. Drain the beans, scoop out about 2 cups and freeze in freezer bags for quick meals at a later date!
Note: If you use soaked beans in place of canned beans in a recipe, use this measurement: 2/3 cup dry beans = 2 cups after cooking = 15 oz. can of beans.
Now all you need to do is grab a bag of beans from the freezer instead of the pantry. Convenient, healthy, and quick!
What are some of your favorite bean recipes?
For more ways to incorporate (and cook) dry beans into your diet, check out Kitchen Stewardship’s Everything Beans Cookbook!
This post is linked to Monday Mania, Mangia Monday, Healthy 2Day, Your Green Resource, Pennywise Platter and Gnowfglins
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I do this all the time! Just wanted to mention that it’s really easy to do this in the crock pot. The soaked beans take a lot less time to cook also. I can cook up 2 lbs of soaked red beans in my 5 qt crock pot in about 4 hrs on “High”, (@ over 6000 ft altitude). That will usually give me 4-5 2-cup freezer bags (equivalent of 4-5 15 oz cans of beans). I’ve done batch cooking of red beans, black beans, lentils and rice, all in my crock pot.
– Dominican red beans and rice (Arroz con Habichuelas); my ultimate comfort food! I grew up on this and could eat this several times a week (and have when my budget doesn’t allow for meat).
-Honey Lentils and hamburger (adapted from More-With-Less Cookbook). Just the lentils with rice will give a complete protein, but adding a lb of hamburger ups the protein content and makes this meal stretch *way* big.
-Black bean, corn, and spinach soup. I got the original recipe out of the LA Times some 20 + yrs ago.
-And I love my baked bean recipe using black beans (that I’ve batch cooked)! Pair this with some corn bread and your good to go for a nice filling supper!
Cheryl, what a great idea to use a crockpot! That would sure help in the summer heat. Thanks for sharing!
We just switched to dry beans instead of canned as a way to live more frugally. I was just telling my husband yesterday that the challenge for me will be needing to plan 24 hrs in advance and get those beans soaking. We wondered if there was a way to do a big batch and then I just happened to see your post on the link up! I just pinned it, thanks for a very helpful post 🙂
If you run out of your big batch or forget to prepare them 24 hrs in advance you can cook them in a pressure cooker and the whole process only takes a little over an hour.
Just wondering do you cover the pot while they cook? I’ve always covered mine, but I noticed you didn’t mention covering.
Personally, I cover my beans when cooking because I live in a very, very dry climate. But I don’t think it’s absolutely mandatory (and it doesn’t look like Paula covers hers). I say do what works for you! 🙂