Cooking dried beans isn’t exactly a necessity for the modern home cook, since canned beans are readily available. However, like making bread, it feels good in a homesteading way. It’s also cheaper: one pound of dried beans makes the equivalent of four cans of beans. Home-cooked beans have a lovely taste and texture, especially if you add herbs, onions, or garlic while simmering. The magic conversion factor for canned versus dried: one 15-ounce can of beans equals 1½ cups cooked beans. Freezing the beans in 1½-cup portions makes for easy use.
- Yield: 6 Servings
- 1 pound dried beans of any type
- Kosher salt*
- Rinse the dried beans and pick out any debris or broken pieces. Place the beans in a sealable container, cover them with water, and place them in the refrigerator to soak overnight.
- When ready to cook, pour the beans into a large pot, and cover with water at least 1 inch above the top of the beans. Bring to a simmer but do not boil.
- Simmer gently, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the variety. As a reference, black and cannellini beans take about 1 hour, and pinto and chickpeas take about 45 minutes. The beans are done when they are tender but not mushy. Note that varieties of beans cook to different textures; some tend fall apart more than others when cooking.
- Once tender, add kosher salt to the cooking water until the water tastes seasoned. Allow the beans to cool. Store them in their cooking liquid for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or freeze them for later use.