Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Crock Pot Beans

Cooking beans in a crock pot is an easy and affordable way to prepare a large amount of beans. Here's how I do it:
  • 2 lbs of dried beans sorted and rinsed. Any kind of bean will do, except red/kidney beans. Here's why- "Kidney beans contain the toxin phytohaemagglutinin, which will make you extremely ill and in some rare cases has killed. The beans MUST be boiled for 10 minutes before cooking, and that includes slow cooking. These beans become five times more toxic when heated to the temperatures used in slow cooking than they are when raw, so never just add them to a stew or chili without boiling them first." excerpt from this article.
  • Room Temperature water
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda- This has the same effects as Beano. Don't add anymore than 1/8tsp though of the beans will taste "soapy"
  • 1-2tsp. salt
Put the beans in the pot and cover with water, just about to the top. Add baking soda. Cook on high for 4 hours. Reduce to low for another 4 hours. Add salt and gently stir. Adding salt in the beginning can make the skin on the beans a little tough. You can check for doneness after 3 hours on low. Lift the lid as little as possible, it'll just make it take longer to cook. 
Once cooked and cooled a bit, divide into freezer bags or containers. 1 2/3 cups cooked beans equals 1 can from the store (that's how much is in the can minus the liquid). Use thawed beans in recipes as you would canned. Place the frozen beans right in a pot of soup or chili. 
One pound of cooked beans will make you about 4 "cans" worth. A bag of beans costs about $1, and a can of beans costs about the same. You'll be saving 75% by making them yourself, plus you've "Beano-ed" them already and controlled the amount of salt. 

A few facts about beans:
-One serving of beans (1/2 cup of dried beans) supplies about 120 calories and lots of complex carbohydrates. 
-Beans offer a low-glycemic index value. In other words, the carbohydrates in beans do not cause as quick or as steep a rise in blood sugar as do many other carbohydrate-rich foods.
-Beans are a good source of B vitamins including folic acid. Beans also provide the minerals iron, potassium, selenium, magnesium and even some calcium.
-Dried beans are a good source of insoluble fiber, which promotes digestive health and relieves constipation. Beans also provide soluble fiber, which can help reduce fat levels in the blood.
-Beans provide little fat and absolutely no cholesterol.
-Beans are an incomplete protein, yet researchers believe that the particular amino acids in dry beans may help prevent various diseases. Complete proteins contain ample amounts of all essential amino acids. Combining grains and legumes gives you a complete protein, so eat some rice with all these beans you've cooked! (Source Source)