Sure, buying cans of beans is convenient, and I definitely do it from time to time. But buying dried beans and soaking them? Sooooooo inexpensive! One two pound bag of dried beans will cost you roughly what one 15-ounce can of soaked beans will. And, figure in that the dried beans will expand to roughly double the weight and size and you've got a serious bargain on your hands. I happened to have half a bag of dried navy beans left from when I made navy bean and ham soup last winter. You read that correctly -- they practically keep forever!
Full disclosure -- I was once a dried bean hater simply. I tried a few times to soak black beans for tacos or non-soup dishes, and I just couldn't seem to get the beans soft enough. And then I read somewhere, I wish I could recall where exactly, about preparing dried beans in a slow cooker. It sounded logical. And easy. Very hands-off. I tried it and all I have to say is WOW! I won't go as far as saying this discovery changed my life, but it will save me a few bucks for sure :) Note: this method works with any dried bean.
How to soak and prepare dried beans in a slow cooker (Crock Pot)
1. Rinse beans in a colander, discarding any broken pieces.
2. Put beans in a large pot and fill with water, covering beans by at least 2 inches of liquid.
3. Allow to soak 8 hours or overnight.
4. Drain beans.
5. Put beans in bowl of slow cooker and cover with water by at least 2 inches.
6. Cook on low for 8 hours.
7. Drain and use immediately. If not using immediately, can keep sealed in refrigerator for up to 4 days. Also, they freeze well: bag one cup portions in a resealable plastic bag and freeze. When needed, thaw in refrigerator a day before using.
In a completely unrelated to beans note (because honestly, how many things are related to beans?), this weekend is shaping up to be a blast! Bar exam celebrations, hockey games galore (come onnnnnn Penguins!), brunch with visitors, and last but surely not least a glorious garden wedding of two dear friends :) I feel like we've all been looking forward to this wedding for eons and it's finally here -- the ceremony is at Phipps, so hopefully I'll have some gorgeous pictures to share with you on Monday. Have a glorious one, y'all!