How to cook Dried Beans

Beans are a great food: full of protein, rich in nutrients, a good source of fiber and they act as natural chelators. They are also an economical food…which sometimes get them a bad rap and are dubbed a “poor man’s food”. More unfortunate than that, is many people don’t know how to cook beans. In fact, the only beans that some people ever eat come from a can. And as you know, most foods coming from a can bear minimal resemblance to their fresh or dried versions. So it is with beans.

Beans also get a bad rap for causing intestinal disturbances. They especially do this when they’re old or not prepared with care. Beans are natural chelators, high in fiber and great for scrubbing the colon. Since health begins in the colon (and recent studies confirm that poor gut health is linked to dementia and Alzheimer’s) it’s a good idea to learn how to cook beans so you can enjoy incorporating them into your diet.

You can purchase bags of dried beans at your local grocery store. Before cooking, you’ll want to rinse them…three times for good measure. Soaking them before cooking, then pouring off the soaking water, will also minimize their digestive disturbances. After soaking, the beans may double in size. Beans can be boiled on a stove top for 1 ½ to 2 hours. You’ll have to closely watch the pan, adding water as needed so they don’t boil dry and scorch. When the beans are soft and almost done cooking you can add onions, vegetables, salt and seasonings.

My absolute favorite way to cook beans is in an Instapot. A friend of mine rightly boasted of this method a couple of years ago and my daughter gifted me one. First and foremost, the beans never scorch! I can start them cooking and walk away…even forgetting them until the wonderful aroma fills the house as they complete the cooking cycle. This method also yields the creamiest of textures.

My family’s favorite beans are pinto beans, so of course that’s what I cook most often. Their preferred way to eat them is “refried”. This term is very deceiving as they aren’t refried, in fact they aren’t even fried a first time! Instead, they are blended smooth with an immersion blender and look like refried beans. These beans are good…so good that “beans and rice” have been requested for birthday dinner.

Come into the kitchen with me, and we’ll walk through the simple preparation of pinto beans. I’ll share some tips with you and show you how easy it is to enjoy this power packed food.

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