Sure, canned beans are convenient. But making your own is not difficult and you get to eat the product of your labor! That’s a win. But are you confused about exactly HOW to make beans from scratch? Read and watch – it’s as easy as chopping some veggies.
- Get your hands on some high quality beans. We love (and so we sell) Rancho Gordo Beans. RG are heirloom beans grown in California or Mexico. They are more expensive than grocery store beans, yes, but the difference is in how they cook and taste. Often dried beans sit on the shelf for far too long, which means you are fighting against time when you cook them. If they are older beans, they will take much longer to cook, and will benefit from an overnight soak. Rancho Gordo beans are super fresh, and though they are dried beans, they are so new that the soak is not necessary.
- Choose your aromatic vegetables and chop ’em up. Onion, garlic, celery, and carrot are must haves. But you can add peppers or fennel or shallots… choose what goes with your recipe! Here I’m making black beans, so I tossed in a poblano pepper and some cilantro, stems and all. If you are making Cassoulet Beans, fennel, parsley and thyme would be lovely. As long as you have onion and garlic you will be fine. Just think of it like this: the water will become the gravy. Flavor it with what you want to taste. Aromatic veggies and herbs. This will all cook into the beans, coaxing maximum flavor!
- Rinse your beans, look for little rocks or broken beans and discard.
- Toss all of it in a BIG, heavy bottomed pot. Use a little oil if you like, or skip it all together. We don’t use much and don’t think the beans need it.
- ADD LOTS OF WATER. I add at least 8 cups to a one pound bag of beans. You want lots of water and space for the beans to cook and steam and absorb. If your pot is too small, the beans won’t cook, they’ll be fighting for water and space (if you’ve ever seen a bean fight you know how bad it can get. hahahhah ) Basically, you don’t want to have to keep adding water – just go for it and put in lots at the beginning because it will definitely cook down!
- Bring the whole shebang to a boil – let it boil for five minutes. Then turn it down to a simmer, cover the pot with the lid at an angle to let steam escape, and let it cook for an hour. Just make sure it’s bubbling lightly. Check it periodically and give it a stir. At about 1.5 hours, the beans should be tender with just a bit of bite. That’s when you SALT. At least a tablespoon, probably two. It sounds like a lot, but you just made A LOT OF BEANS! Let it cook another 20-30 minutes until they’re soft.
Once the beans are cooked, enjoy! Use them in a recipe where you normally would use canned beans. Or separate into smaller portions to freeze. The bean broth is delicious, and depending on the beans you cook, can be incorporated into soup recipes and the like.
I hope you love making and eating beans, no matter where you buy them! Please, if you have any questions, let me know! I’M HERE FOR YOU!!!
xoxoxo – michelle