Friday, August 12, 2011

Preparing Black Beans

I'm making breakfast tacos tonight, so I prepared black beans the other day.  Here's how I did it!

Buying dried beans vs. canned beans can save quite a bit of money.  One package of 16 oz of dried beans cost me $0.99.  a 15.5 oz can of black beans costs $0.67.  I wasn't actually sure how much a bag of dried beans would yield, so I prepared some to find out.  I'm planning on using some for tonight's breakfast taco's, Saturday's Frank and Beans, and Sunday's Black Beans and Rice

....hmmm maybe I should re-order our meals so we're not eating black beans 3 days in a row...whoops!

I decided to start with 1 cup (8oz) of dried beans.

Step 1: Sort through the beans to find any damaged beans, rock (really?) or twigs (again, really?).  I read this on a couple different sits, and I'm guessing this suggestion is more for if you're measuring out your own beans from a big bin or something

Well I'm not sure if it's necessary or not, but I did find some pretty puny beans, some that looked all wrinkly and some that were I removed them
Don't some of them look like raisins?!
Step 2: Now place them in a bowl and cover with 2 inches of water.  Place in the refrigerator and let soak for 6-8 hours.
Step 3: Once they are done soaking, drain the beans and they are ready to cook.
In a pot, add enough fresh water to cover them again.

Now they are ready to cook!  Depending on how old they are, they may take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours on a low simmer.  Salt can be added to bring out their flavor.  I think other things can be added too, more to learn about preparing beans!

For my batch, I actually realized I also had some leftover dried black beans from last FALL - another item I didn't need to purchase (see I'm not very good at this yet!).  All that to say, my beans took quite a while to cook.  First I set the timer for 45 minutes...still crunchy...I added another 30 minutes...almost there but not quite...20 more minutes on the clock and that did it.  So 1 hour 35 minutes was how long it took me.  I decided to add in a little more salt at the 20 minute mark too. 

Step 4: So I lied, there is one more step.  I measured out the soaked and cooked beans and the 1 cup of dried beans made 3 1/2 cups.

So a full 16 oz bag would yield 7 cups - or 3 1/2 cans...a savings of about $1.35.  Not huge, but it's something.  I think I can find dried beans cheaper, but I'll have to figure that part out later.

Here's my batch that's going in to the fridge

It's a pretty easy and CHEAP process, just takes some time!  Next time I think I'll cook the whole bag at a time, or even a larger quantity.  I can freeze what I'm not going to use and save time in the long run.

That's all!

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