It's day 292. And I finally have cracked the cooking-with-dried vs. cooking-with-canned-beans code.
Why did it take me 292 days?
Sheer laziness. I have no other reason.
1 bag of dried black beans costs $1.89 at the fancy-pants grocery store, and it costs $0.89 at our local produce stand.
1 can of organic black beans at Trader Joe's costs $0.99.
1 dried bag of black beans (16 oz) = 3 cans (15 oz each).
Which means even if you buy over-priced dried black beans you will save some money making them at home yourself.
--bag of black beans (or other beans. but remember that kidney beans have that freaky toxin -- see note below.)
--crockpot (4 quarts and up)
Pour the entire bag of dried beans into a colander and rinse under cold water. If you see any beans that have broken in half, or skin that floats to the surface, get rid of it. Also pick out any beans that look shriveled and gross.
Dump all the beans into your crockpot. Add enough water to cover all the beans and an additional 2 inches.
Cover. Do not turn on. Let the beans soak for at least 6 hours, or overnight. If you live in a very warm area, and the crockpot won't be in a room that is climate-controlled, put the stoneware in the fridge. You don't want bacteria to have the opportunity to grow.
In the morning, dump the water, and rinse your beans. The water will be bean-colored.
(NOTE: if you are using red or kidney beans, you need to boil your beans rapidly on the stove for at least 10 minutes to kill a possible toxin lurking in the beans. It's better to be safe than sorry!)
Put the beans back into your crockpot and cover with enough fresh water to completely cover the beans with an extra 2-3 inches.
Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
The beans are done when they are bite-tender. Don't worry if the water hasn't all absorbed. You're going to dump it, anyway.
Drain the beans.
When cool, put 1 2/3 cups of beans into storage containers or freezer bags (you're adding this amount because you aren't adding filler-liquid like the cans have). The beans will store nicely in the refrigerator for 1 week, or in the freezer for 6 months.
Use as you would canned beans in your favorite recipe.
I like knowing what is in my food. I like the idea that we can save money and reduce consumption by using dried beans.
This takes a while. When I do this again, I'm going to get quite a few bags of beans and do them all at once in a few crockpots. The kids liked picking through the beans to weed out the undesirables, and they will munch on black beans (and garbanzo and pinto and kidney) for a snack, which makes me happy.
I've found a chart that breaks down the energy consumption of kitchen appliances.The chart states that the energy consumption is equivalent to a desktop computer---which many of us leave on round-the-clock.