When you replace canned beans with dried beans from the Mill City Farmers Market you’re supporting local and sustainable farmers, reducing packaging waste and saving money all while getting a fresher, higher quality food compared to canned beans. The trick is knowing how to cook them–and if you can boil water, you can cook dried beans.
Rinse beans in a strainer and remove any dirt or debris. Place dry beans in a large pot or bowl, and add three times the volume of water to beans (3 cups water for 1 cup dry beans, which will yield 3 cups cooked beans–the equivalent of 2 cans). Cover with a lid or towel and soak 8-12 hours.
Quick-soak method: put beans and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes, then remove from the heat and let stand for 1 hour. Quick soaking can result in more splitting and less even cooking, but it does the job!
To use freshly cooked beans in your favorite recipes, remember: 1 15-oz can is 1 ½ cups cooked beans, which is roughly 4 ounces or ½ cup dry beans.
Drain the soaking water. Put soaked beans in a pot large enough to hold four times their current volume. Add water to cover by three inches. Add bay leaf, peeled garlic cloves, quartered onions and herbs, if desired, and bring to a boil.
Lower heat to a gentle simmer and cook until beans are tender. Cook uncovered for firm beans (meant for cold salads and pasta dishes) or cover partially for creamier beans. Beans will take between 1 to 2 hours to cook, depending on size and freshness. Add salt when beans are tender but still too firm to enjoy eating (2-3 teaspoons salt per pound dry beans or 1 to 1½ teaspoons salt per cup dry beans).
Chef Tip: Freeze cooked beans on a lined sheet pan so they freeze faster and don’t stick to eachother. After beans are frozen, transfer into portioned containers.
Instapot Directions: Combine 1 pound unsoaked beans, 8 cups water and aromatics (garlic, bay, etc.) and seal. Cook beans for 25-40 minutes on high, depending on size of beans (25-30 for black and pinto or 40 for larger beans like chick peas). Allow natural pressure release for 20 minutes. Season with salt. Note: presoaking beans will reduce pressure cooking time by 10 minutes.