Canned beans are a major convenience item in my house. But since I’m participating in the SNAP4aWeek Challenge, I’m reminding myself that it’s really not that inconvenient to buy dried beans and chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) and cook them myself.
And it certainly saves a lot of money.
The average one pound bag of dried beans costs between $1 and $1.50 and will make three cans worth of beans, which cost $1 – $1.50 per can. In other words – one-third the cost. If you eat a lot of beans and legumes like we do, that savings can add up quickly.
Before I discovered the slow cooker method of cooking beans, I could never get them right. And it took a lot of paying attention – which I’m not always so good about in the kitchen.
Now that I know how to cook them overnight, though, it takes me less than three minutes of work – about the same amount of time as going to my basement storage room, getting a can of beans and opening it!
Here’s the method I use:
Step #1: Dump the beans or chickpeas into a colander and wash them well, sifting through to remove any broken pieces or rocks (I haven’t found a rock lately, but it has happened on rare occasion.)
Step #2: Pour the cleaned and sorted beans into the slow cooker.
Step #3: Fill the slow cooker with water to about two to three inches above the beans.
Step #4: Turn the slow cooker on low and go to bed. In the morning your beans will be ready.
I don’t add any salt or spices to these – I do that when I am cooking depending on the dish I’m making.
Your cooked beans will keep in the fridge for about a week. Or, you can freeze them – I like to flash freeze them (just like I do with fruit.) Or you can also freeze them in 2-cup portions, which is about how much is in one can of beans. Again, label your baggie/freezer-safe container with the date, so you can use your oldest stock first.
Stay tuned tomorrow when I share how I used half of these cooked garbanzo beans. Here’s a pictorial hint!