Monday, October 3, 2011

How To Cook Dried Beans

It's Monday morning so I thought I'd start the week with something simple... How To Cook Dried Beans. And I've included some basic recipes below for oats and wheat too to help you rotate your food storage items.

I'm sure that some of you think you just open a can or throw dry beans in water, but for good results (not chewy in the middle beans) here are some guidelines.

The longer your beans have been stored, the more baking soda they will require and the longer soak time they need. Beans stored for less than 5 years are usually fine with the directions given but I've cooked beans from 1972 and had them come out just fine with an overnight soak and 3/4 tsp baking soda per cup of beans. Old beans just need a bit more love, that's all.

First, sort and rinse the beans. For each cup of beans, bring 3 cups of water to boil, add the beans to the boiling water, and boil for two minutes. Next, add 3/8 teaspoon of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) for each cup of beans, cover, and soak for 1 hour or more. Overnight usually works for me. Next, drain and rinse the beans thoroughly, cover with water, bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer 1-2 hours or until tender. You can also do this is a crock pot or slow cooker or on top of your wood stove but allow extra time in a slow cooker. Do not add salt or other ingredients until the beans have softened adequately because this can cause them to become tough. I want to experiment with a pressure cooker to see how much it can reduce the cook time as this would be more energy efficient. Has anyone tried this?

Once you have cooked beans you can proceed to add them to your favourite recipes or spice them and eat them alone. I'll include a few recipes below. One suggestion for some basic energy food is to just simply season the beans with chili seasoning and simmer for 15 minutes. You don't have to add meat and both chili seasoning and beans are easy to store and transport.

Beans can also be canned so that they are ready for use but in this way they take up a lot more shelf space.

Here are some basic recipes for using whole wheat, oatmeal and beans. Hope you find them useful. The best thing to do is to experiment now, before you are forced to eat your food storage, so that you know what you like and you can tweak your recipes to how you like them. And make sure you have other ingredients on hand. It doesn't do to store a lot of wheat and then forget that you need sugar and yeast to make bread or a sourdough starter. I killed mine while moving...neglect will do I'll have to start another.


1 tablespoon yeast Mix the first 2 ingredients together and let sit 10 mins,
1⁄4 cup warm water adding 1/4 tsp sugar to get the yeast growing.
21⁄2 cups hot tap water
7 cups whole wheat flour (or any In a large bowl add the rest of the ingredients, reserving
combination of whole wheat half the flour. Mix together well and add the yeast mix.
and white flour) Add the reserved flour until the dough pulls away from
1⁄2 tablespoon salt the sides of the bowl and knead for 10-12 minutes on a
1⁄3 cup oil lightly oiled counter or in your mixer if you have one.
1⁄3 cup sugar
Divide into 2 portions and let rise until doubled. Shape into loaves and place in well greased pans. Let it rise until doubled again and then bake at 350 f. for 30-35 minutes until the loaves sound hollow when tapped. Take loaves out of pans, turn pan upside down and then stand the bread on it's pan to cool. Makes 2 loaves.


1 cup water
4 tablespoons oil
22⁄3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
21⁄3 cups whole wheat flour
Mix together water, oil, sugar, and salt. Add flour. Stir well and roll out dough to 1⁄4-inch thickness. Cut into 2-inch squares and poke several holes in each square with a fork. Bake 35 minutes at 350o F. Makes approximately 20 crackers that keep well.


1⁄4 cup wheat berries (whole kernels
of wheat)
1⁄2 tablespoon oil
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet. Add wheat berries and pop like popcorn. They don’t expand as much as popcorn, but they will pop. Swirl around in the pan to prevent burning. Sprinkle with salt while hot. Makes 1⁄3 cup. You can also add a 1/2 tsp sugar for a sweet treat.


1 cup uncooked cracked wheat
3 cups water
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 cup powdered milk
4 tablespoons sugar
Prepare cracked wheat by using a wheat grinder or a blender. Add dry milk to water, whisk, and bring to a boil at medium high temperature. Add wheat, sugar, and salt; cover and reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until water is absorbed. Makes 3 cups cereal.


1 cup wheat
2 cups boiling water
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
Preheat a thermos by filling it with hot tap water. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add salt. Empty the tap water from the thermos. Place the wheat in the thermos and add the boiling water. Screw the lid tightly onto the thermos and allow the wheat to cook for about 8 hours or overnight. Drain off any water that has not been absorbed. Serve with milk and sugar or raisins.


11⁄4 cups dried pinto beans
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
61⁄4 cups water
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
3⁄4 cup powdered milk
Sort through beans and discard rocks and any beans that are discolored or damaged. Add 33⁄4 cups of water to the beans and soak overnight (about 10 hours). To cook the beans, drain them, rinse them thoroughly, and cover them with water. Bring the water to a boil; then reduce heat and simmer for one or two hours or until the beans are tender. Adding one tablespoon of oil to the water will reduce foaming during cooking. Do not add salt or other ingredients until the beans have softened adequately. Drain the cooked beans. Add the flour to the oil and blend. Stir all remaining ingredients into the beans and cook on low heat until thickened. Makes 6 cups.


1 cup uncooked rice
4 cups water
6 tablespoons powdered milk
1⁄2–3⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
Combine rice and 2 cups of water. Bring to boil; lower heat; simmer 15 minutes, covered. Turn
off heat; let stand 30 minutes to steam. Add remaining water and other ingredients. Bring to boil
and cook until it starts to thicken, stirring constantly. Rice will thicken more as it cools. Makes 3 cups.


41⁄4 cups water
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
2 cups uncooked oats
1 tablespoon powdered milk
1 tablespoon sugar
Bring water and salt to a boil. Stir in oats and reduce heat. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Increase or decrease water for thinner or thicker oatmeal. Add powdered milk and sugar and stir well. Makes 4 cups cereal.


  1. Arg. Still cant post from laptop. Had a great refried beans without the refry using dried beans and thr slow cooker. So good!

    When do you purchase your dried beans? I find walmart has then at decent prices, but the grocery store in mcneill is VERY expensive.

    I had something else to say but forgot it in transition to tablet. Oh well


  2. We pick them up in bulk either from Dandy pack or from our church who run a wholesale dry-pack cannery in Vancouver. The price for 25lbs of white beans is $16 currently. Definitely on the rise over the last 24 months. Wal-Mart can be good or the ethnic aisle at Superstore often has larger packages and a good selection of quality beans including red kidney and black. You can grow drying beans too.