Beans are so cheap and easy to make in the crockpot it’s an affront to purchase them by the can. I used to see beans in a recipe and think “oh they must have a ton of money to eat beans all the time!”
Ahem. Yes, I am embarrassed to admit that.
Even if you can only purchase beans in the bulk bin, they are (almost always) less than $1.50 a pound. A pound of beans makes around 6 cups of beans. You can do the math yourself. Well, here it is if you don’t want to.
- 1 pound of beans = 6 cups of beans.
- 6 cups of cooked beans = roughly 3 cans of beans.
- all for 1.50 or less.
In Denver you can purchase beans in 25 pound packages from the LDS cannery in Aurora.
- 2013 prices:
- Black beans 16.80
- Pinto Beans 18.55
- White beans 16.00
You can also purchase from Vitamin Cottage. I bought 25# of lentils from them but you have to call for their prices. The point is that if you want to get beans for cheap you can. You have to be willing to store them – some people don’t actually use what they have in their food storage. You actually have to use them!
Ok. Onto the recipe.
Every crockpot is different. I suggest making the largest amount of beans your crockpot can hold – it takes the same amount of time and saves you time later as you don’t have to do it all over again. I have a 5 quart crockpot and use around 5 cups of beans.
- Clean your beans. Pick out rocks, etc. Give the beans a good rinse or two. Remember. Other people have been messing with your beans. Get rid of their cooties!
- The day before(at least 12 hours before, I like a good 24 hours): Fill your crockpot about half full with beans. Add enough water to cover the beans completely, plus 2 inches. The beans will “plump” while they soak and you want them to be covered completely the entire time they soak.
- When you are ready to cook the beans, pour out the soaking water and rinse the beans. Add the beans back to the pot. Add enough water to cover the beans plus 2 inches. They are going to plump up even more while they cook.
- Now you add spices according to what you have on hand: 2 Tbs dried onion or 1/2 onion roughly chopped, 1/2 to a whole carrot, a couple bay leaves, 6-10 peppercorns, and/or a couple cloves of garlic. You don’t have to add any of the spices. The spices flavor the beans with a lovely flavor though and I recommend using them if you are going to eat beans often. A sensitive palette can taste the difference (yes, I realize what I just said. Yes, it sounds stupid, but yes, it’s true! I’m leaving it in!)
- Put the cover on your crockpot and set to cook on low for 4 – 8 hours. Cooking time depends on the age of the bean, the heat of the water, the humidity in the air. I cook black, white, garbonzo and pinto beans in the crockpot. I feel perfectly fine putting them in the crockpot in the morning and coming home 8-9 hours later to cooked beans.
- I put my beans in plastic bags to freeze in 2 cup measures. I like to have beans on hand to pull out whenever I want to eat them. It makes cooking with beans fun and easy.
Pictures of the process:
**The beans in the crockpot with the spices ready to go.**