I may have gone a bit overboard on the first major dry bean purchase.
Well, my local wholesale club has forced my hand to do something I've been meaning to do for a long time now: buy more dried beans. I rarely do this because canned beans are so easy! But, dried beans are healthier and much cheaper. It just takes a bit of a time investment to prepare them. I used to buy canned black beans by the flat at the wholesale club, so it was relatively cheap. But, alas, they stopped stocking them! I have no clue why as I'm sure I could've supported a few employees on my black bean purchases over the years.
So, when I made Black Beans and Rice with Sausage, I used up the last of my precious cans of black beans. Here we go, I thought, buying a can at a time at the grocery store. And then I remembered dry beans and wanting to make the switch.
I learned the technique I use over at Crockpot 365. It's really easy and all it takes is a little forethought. You can get about 3 15-oz. cans worth of beans out of a 16-oz. bag of dried beans. Go to Stephanie O'Dea's site for more detailed instructions, but the bottom line is, soak the beans overnight in the crock-pot (with the heat off). In the morning, dump the bean-colored water out. Put the beans and about 2-3 inches of water back in the crock-pot and cook on low for 8 hours. So, it's a day-long process, but it's really beneficial. Freezing and storage instructions are also detailed at Crockpot 365 as well.
I'm off to soak by black-eyed peas in preparation for my New Year's Day dish.
For even more about cooking dried beans, check out this Stolen Moments post.
This post is linked at Tip Day Thursday.
UPDATE: I've found with a few beans, rinsing, then immediately skipping to the cooking process (without the 8-hour soak) yields better results for us. This is particularly true with garbanzo beans/chickpeas, which get super squishy if you do the soak and cook. I definitely prefer the texture from skipping the 8-hour soaking process.