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Dried Beans

Dried Beans



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Add dried beans to your menu for a fiber and protein boost.

Dried beans offer the same fiber and protein as their canned counterparts, with the advantage of no added sodium. "And, if you buy quality, artisanal dried beans, you will taste the difference," says Cesare Casella, dean of the Italian Culinary Academy at the International Culinary Center.

"They're grown on a smaller scale, harvested more carefully, and likely to be fresher." Casella is so particular about dried beans, he imports Italian ­varieties for use in his restaurant Maremma in New York City, and sells beans online. We asked him for advice on selecting and preparing the best.

  • Look for beans with uniform color. Discoloration indicates aging.
  • Pass up packages with broken beans or shed skins. "Those are signs of careless processing," Casella says.
  • Store in a cool, dark place, and use within a year.
  • Before cooking, soak four to 12 hours, depending on bean size (the smaller, the less time needed). Dried beans swell as they absorb water. After draining, rinse thoroughly and proceed with cooking. Dried artisanal beans are available at ethnic markets, health food stores, and some specialty groceries, or at www.chefshop.com."

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Know Your Beans

Lentils
Qualities: Tender and savory. Because of their small size and thin skins, lentils require no soaking and cook quickly. Some varieties, like French green, retain their shape better than others.
Serving suggestion: Simmer with potatoes and seasonings to make a savory stew.

Cannellini (white navy beans)
Qualities: Versatile with a delicate flavor and texture. Cook gently to avoid mushiness.
Serving suggestion: Good choice for soups like pasta e fagioli; pair well with tomatoes.

Borlotti (cranberry beans)
Qualities: Creamy texture; earthy flavor; thin skin.
Serving suggestion: Season with sage and garlic, and serve as a side with steak or pork.

Corona beans
Qualities: Slightly mealy texture and meaty taste. Best in recipes that call for long, slow cooking.
Serving suggestion: Combine with tuna, onions, and olive oil in a main-course salad.

Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
Qualities: Nutty flavor. Their firm texture holds well when cooking.
Serving suggestion: Think beyond hummus; sauté with bitter greens, such as broccoli rabe or kale.


How to Cook Dried Beans (the Tastiest Beans of All, if You Ask Us)

Most people don't know how to cook dried beans. Their knowledge of legumes doesn't extend past that old playground rhyme. How’d it go? Bean, beans, they’re good for your heart. The more you eat, the more you…well, yeah. Which is a shame, because dried beans are the tastiest beans, and learning how to cook them is a total game-changer.

Cooked dried beans have better texture and more flavor than their canned counterparts. The beans’ skin has more resistance, which means each bean is a tiny package of chewy, pillow-y, bean-y, creamy flavor. The mushiness that’s common in canned beans is nowhere to be found. Plus, dried beans are almost always cheaper than the ones in the can. So, we’re going to teach you how to cook dried beans. Let us hold your hand. Figuratively, of course, because. the internet.

A visual representation of the magic of dried beans.


Recipe Summary

  • 1 pound dry great Northern beans
  • 8 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ham hock
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • ½ stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups chopped ham
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper

Rinse the beans, sorting out any broken or discolored ones. In a large pot over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Add the salt and the beans and remove from heat. Let beans sit in the hot water for at least 60 minutes.

After the 60 minutes of soaking, return the pot to high heat and place the ham bone, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, mustard and bay leaves in the pot. Stir well, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 60 more minutes.

Remove ham bone and discard. Stir in the chopped ham and simmer for 30 more minutes. Season with ground white pepper to taste.


Bring the water to a boil, then reduce it to a very gentle simmer. Cook the beans uncovered until they’re tender. Some foam might gather on top of the pot skim it off with a spoon as necessary. If the water level drops below the beans, add more water so the beans are covered at all times. The beans are done cooking when they’re all tender you can test this as they by smooshing a bean or two against the side of the pot with a fork — it should collapse easily, but not be mushy.

There’s nothing worse than cooking a big batch of beans only to discover that the next day they’ve dried out and hardened in the fridge. To avoid this, cool them in their cooking liquid and store the beans — cooking liquid and all — in an airtight container for up to four days.


Top Tip

Be sure your beans are tender before you stop simmering them on the stove-top. Taste test a couple just to be sure. You may think that the 6-hour oven time will further soften your beans, but in reality, if your beans go into the oven tough, they may still be that way even after 6 hours in the oven. Don't be afraid to simmer as long as needed, to make sure they are tender before baking.

How long will the baked beans keep in the fridge? Leftover baked beans will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days, though they are best eaten within about 2 days.

Can I freeze baked beans? Yes, BUT you can only freeze them once fully cooked. Baked beans will keep well in the freezer for 2-3 months.

Can I use Dark Brown Sugar? Yes. As dark brown sugar has more molasses in it already, reduce the added molasses slightly.

Can I use Cooking or Blackstrap Molasses? If you only have blackstrap molasses, you would probably be best to seek out a baked bean recipe written specifically for blackstrap molasses, as I don't have any guidance on how much you would use and quite honestly, I feel like the flavour would be much too harsh for these Boston-style baked beans.

If you only have Cooking molasses, which is a blend of Fancy and blackstrap molasses, you could possibly try reducing the amount of molasses in half and replacing the extra with honey or maple syrup. I haven't tested this myself.

Can I make these in a slow cooker/instant pot? As I often like to say, you can do whatever you like, but this classic recipe is written to be baked in the oven and that is the only way I have ever made them. As such, you might be better to seek out a recipe written especially for the slow cooker or instant pot for the adjustments that would be needed.


How to Store Them

If you&aposve gotten this far, then you&aposre sitting on a literal hill of delicious beans. You&aposve wrapped them in a burrito, sprinkled them over your salad, and simmered them with rice. Your household is officially waving the white flag, begging for a bean break. Don&apost toss them! Refrigerate cooked beans directly in their flavorful cooking liquid for up to five days. The freezer is another good option for preserving (also in their cooking liquid), though they might become a little too mushy for something like a salad once thawed. Don&apost stress, as there will be plenty of great recipes on hand for using them up!


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15 BEAN SOUP® Crock Pot or Slow Cooker Recipe

Cooking 15 BEAN SOUP® in a slow cooker or crock pot is one of the easiest and best ways to cook the soup. Try this easy to follow recipe and you will have a pot full of 15 BEAN SOUP waiting for you after a busy day. Works great with a leftover ham bone after the holidays! See cooking tips below the recipe for more info.

Most popular 15 BEAN SOUP® recipe all time on our site!

Prep Time

Cook Time

Servings

Ingredients

1 pkg [HamBeens® 15 BEAN SOUP®](/products/ham-beens-original-15-bean-soup)

8 cups water (use chicken, beef, or vegetable broth for added flavor)

1 lb. smoked sausage, ground sausage (browned in pan), ham hocks or diced ham. Our favorite is to use a leftover hambone with some meat on it.

1 tsp chili powder (optional)

1 can diced tomatoes (15 oz.)

Optional: Hot sauce or crushed red pepper to taste

Cooking 15 BEAN SOUP® in a slow cooker or crock pot is one of the easiest and best ways to cook the soup. Try this easy to follow recipe and you will have a pot full of 15 BEAN SOUP waiting for you after a busy day. Works great with a leftover ham bone after the holidays! See cooking tips below the recipe for more info.

Most popular 15 BEAN SOUP® recipe all time on our site!

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Ingredients

8 cups water (use chicken, beef, or vegetable broth for added flavor)

1 lb. smoked sausage, ground sausage (browned in pan), ham hocks or diced ham. Our favorite is to use a leftover hambone with some meat on it.

1 tsp chili powder (optional)

1 can diced tomatoes (15 oz.)

Optional: Hot sauce or crushed red pepper to taste

Cooking Directions

In a colander or sieve, rinse beans thoroughly. Sort and inspect for any unwanted debris and discard.

Drain and pour beans in a slow cooker with 8 cups of stock/water, onions, garlic, and meat or hambone. (Not tomato or lemon juice yet!). Use 9-10 cups of liquid if you like a more "brothy" soup.

Stir to combine. Set slow cooker on high and cook for 5-7 hours then check to make sure beans are tender. The soup can continue to simmer for several hours and will develop more flavor over time.

After the beans are tender, remove the hambone (leave any ham in the pot), stir in the can of diced tomatoes, our Ham Flavor packet, optional chili powder, and the lemon juice.

Cook for additional 30 minutes then keep warm until ready to serve.

We recommend to serve with a freshly baked slice of corn bread! You can also serve over rice as well.

Please keep in mind that every time the lid is opened, your cooking time will be longer.

For even more flavor, substitute beef, chicken or vegetable stock instead of water.

You can also try 1 lb. boneless chicken breasts or 1 lb. beef roast, then shred meat before Step 5 above.

As with all dry bean recipes, it's best to wait until AFTER the beans have become tender or fully cooked before adding any acidic ingredients like tomatoes, citrus, vinegars, etc.

You can add other vegetables like carrots & celery for even more flavor and nutrients

Remember that this is a NO SOAK recipe, but if you have already soaked the beans that's not a problem, just use 1 cup of water/stock less.

Variations on the recipe will work for almost all of Hurst's HamBeens items.

If you prefer a more "brothy" soup, add an extra cup of liquid when preparing


Recipe Summary

  • 1 pound dried beans, sorted and rinsed
  • 10 cups water, plus more for soaking beans
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs, tied with twine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large yellow onion, quartered lengthwise

Remove thyme, bay leaves, and onion discard. Stir in remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Cool to room temperature in cooking liquid. Place beans and cooking liquid in an airtight container refrigerate.

How Long to Simmer Each Bean Variety Cook the beans with the aromatics and 1 teaspoon salt for the first 30 minutes. Add the second teaspoon of salt, and cook for the suggested time or until beans are tender. Red kidney beans: 1 hr. Great Northern beans: 1 hr. 15 min. Black beans: 1 hr. 15 min. Cannellini beans: 1 hr. 45 min. Pinto beans: 1 hr. 45 min.

Stir in 1 teaspoon salt. Cover, and simmer another hour or more depending on the bean (see chart, below).


How to Can dry beans.

Gather Your Canning Supplies

  • pressure canner
  • canning jars
  • canning lids and rings
  • jar lifter and canning funnel
  • large pot
  • large spoons
  • towels and dish cloths

Next prepare your jars and start preheating water in your canner. The goal is to have the canner hot but not necessarily boiling when the jars are ready to go in.
(see pressure canning for more specific directions)

Rinse your presoaked beans. Using a colander is the easiest method. This rinsing is important as it removes all the soaking water from the beans. Discard any water from the soaking step you don’t want to reuse.

Place the beans back in the pot and recover with fresh water. Bring them to a boil reduce heat and keep them at a low boil for 30 minutes. Now you are ready to fill your jars.

Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt per pint or 1 teaspoon per quart jar, if desired. Salt is optional but I highly recommend it.

Fill jars with beans leaving a generous 1-inch headspace. A little more is even ok. Beans will tend to soak up more water as they process so leaving a little extra room for more water is fine.

In this picture you see the level of the beans. I still have not gone back and filled with the liquid.

Next you’ll want to add your hot water. You can reuse the cooking water or use fresh boiling water. I tend to use fresh water that I’ve heated up in my tea kettle. It makes it super easy to fill each jar without ladles. Much neater.

It is important that the liquid you add does come up to the proper 1-inch headspace. The beans will be fully covered.

Next you want to clean off the rims of your jar with a damp dish rag or paper towel. This is so there is no food residue to interfere with the seal of the lid.

Place the canning lids and screw bands on your jars and place them in your preheated pressure canner.

When all your jars are filled you are ready to process.

This day I’m doing pints. I have double stacked 15 pints in my All American Canner.

Canning Dried Beans Processing

Remember you MUST use a pressure canner. Canning dried beans with a water bath canner is NOT safe. If you are not familiar with how to use a pressure canner check out this page…

pints – 1 hour, 15 minutes
quarts – 1 hour, 30 minutes

Be sure to adjust processing according to your altitude. For more information see this altitude adjustments page.

Raw pack method for canning dry beans.

I get messages from folks who use a different method for canning dried beans. They measure out dry beans directly into the jar, add water and process them that way. It seems this is common. But it is all anectotal. Tested resources I’ve found always say to soak first. Time in the canner has not been tested from the dried state. Dried beans are far different from fully rehydrated beans.

So my suggestion is to follow the tested canning methods. Always soak and partially cook your beans, then process.

If you have a resource that has tested this method of canning beans from the dry state, I’d sure love to see it because I admit, it would make the process so super easy. I would love to be able to share it. Contact me and send me a link. Please note I would be looking for an official source that has tested this method. Not someone who just has done it successfully.

How do I use a waterbath canner for my dried beans?

I’ve been asked how to can dry beans the “old fashioned way” Meaning with a waterbath canner. I do NOT recommend canning beans or any vegetable or meat without a pressure canner. I do not have any information regarding “old fashioned” methods.

If you are not sure why, I recommend you read my section on botulism and canning safety.
Food safety is a very important part of canning. I simply can’t recommend something that I would not do myself.


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