Rehydrating beans at home vs buying the canned version is very much worth the (minimal) effort – like homemade chicken stock, they will elevate any recipe that calls for beans. For some, this practice is age-old… for me, well I am proud to say that I finally tried this on my own and please, it couldn’t be easier. And again I must reiterate, so much better. You know that gag-inducing soupy-starchy mixture that accompanies canned beans? It’s a non-issue here.
Plus, this is more economical (hit up the bulk bins or look for dehydrated beans on the shelf under the canned at any grocery store) and dehydrated beans are lighter to carry which makes a difference when you are stocking up and have lots of heavy items. That may seem minimal, but frankly as I try to get through each day peacefully with energy for more heady tasks, a load of unwieldy groceries can be an enemy. The little things work both ways!
Like the chicken stock, ‘homemade’ beans can be made ahead and saved for when you need them. We often make a batch during down time early in the week to incorporate into dinner a few days (or weeks, if frozen) later. Since many cold-weather recipes include various beans, I wanted to share the steps here.
Total Time: Overnight or eight hours
Hands-On Time: 20 minutes inc cleanup
Special Equipment: Colander
– Dried beans, any kind you plan to use
– 2 Bay Leaves
– 1 Onion, peeled and quartered
– Pinch of salt
Phase 1: Rehydrate the Beans:
– Set the quantity of beans you’d like to rehydrate in a bowl large enough for the beans to be covered by about two inches of water.
– Cover the beans with approx two inches of water.
– Let hydrate overnight or all day, at least eight hours.
Phase 2: Cook the Beans
– Drain the rehydrated beans in a colander in the sink, rinsing once or twice to help remove any starchy residue.
– Place the beans in a pot and add the bay leaves, quartered onion and pinch of salt.
– Cover again with 2 inches of water, and set to boil.
– Upon boiling, you may notice a foamy substance form at the surface. Simply wipe away any thick foam and discard.
– Leave the beans at a low boil over med-high heat for 40 minutes. At the 35-40 minute mark, check for doneness. If the beans are still al dente, cook for 15-20 minutes longer, checking intermittently. You’ll notice that the beans will start to peel – this is a good indication that they are done or close to done.
– Once the beans are cooked to a soft, but not smooshy consistency, drain into the colander again. Remove and discard the bay leaves and onions.
– Rinse the beans once more and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days or in the freezer for two months.
Stay tuned for plenty of uses for beans in wintery soups and stews!