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My Sister’s Simple Trick for Cooking Beans

A Simple Trick for Cooking Beans

Somehow I had convinced myself I couldn’t cook beans. I had tried and tried and every time I tried to cook up some dried beans, they just didn’t have the flavor I wanted. I could make a great chili and soups with beans IN them, but I couldn’t manage to cook up plain old beans that were as good in flavor as the ones you buy in a can.

So I resigned myself to buying canned beans. Yes, I’m fully aware of the BPA issues in canned foods. I tried not to think about that.

At holidays when we were all up at my parents’ place, my sister would bring a little container of black  beans she had cooked up  and we would toss them on chips with cheese a microwave them for a quick snack with salsa.

Her beans were so good, I asked her what her secret was. And she told me.

Here’s the secret:

A bay leaf. That’s it. She puts the dried beans in a pan with a bay leaf, some chopped garlic, some water and simmers them (partially covered) until they’re done. She says the secret is you do NOT salt them till they’re tender.

Okay, so I tried it, first with black beans and it turned out wonderfully! Just like hers. Then I did pinto beans. Perfect! YES! … and this batch you see here was some Cannellini beans for my Cannellini hummus. Sometimes I have to add some water because it cooks off, but I have finally mastered the art of cooking beans!

It takes an hour or two for the beans to get good and soft, but when they turn out this good, who needs to buy canned beans?

(My sister says the salting rule goes for salty meat too … if you want to add bacon or ham or other salty meat, wait until the beans are tender, then add the meat. Cook them for 20 minutes or so after you add the meat to let the flavor soak in.)


(And by the way, you can freeze cooked beans. My parents insist that you can’t, but I do. I have even served some of the beans I cooked then froze and reheated and they couldn’t tell the difference. HA!)

10 responses

  1. Jill Ingalls

    This is true! I often use one of the small crockpots (3 cups?) and start it in the morning on low. They are done by the time I am off work! Just add salt and enjoy!

    October 2, 2011 at 9:23 pm

  2. Thanks for sharing this. I’ll have to try it next time I cook beans. We freeze them too…

    October 3, 2011 at 5:04 am

  3. I cook dried beans in the crockpot like Jill. I drain the cooking water and give them a rinse in the colander to make them gasless.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:35 pm

  4. Thanks for the tip…will have to try this next time I cook beans

    October 3, 2011 at 5:26 pm

  5. Pingback: Lovely Italian Bread Soup « Sumptuous Spoonfuls

  6. I’ve tried cooking beans, but they take so long. I think I’ll try doing them in the crock pot. Also, you can can and/or freeze them once they’re cooked. But, like I said, I’ve never had much luck with them.😉

    October 6, 2011 at 11:53 pm

  7. Thank you so much for sharing this amazing tip. What a wonderful Sis you have! I’ll have to make a pot soon with the bay leaves. Thank you so much for sharing on Thursday’s Treasures Sweetie! ❤ and Hugs!

    October 9, 2011 at 9:52 pm

  8. I will be having beans tomorrow after reading this. Thank you for the tip and for linking up at Savvy HomeMade Monday!

    October 10, 2011 at 9:28 pm

  9. Gail Fussell Latham

    I have a ham bone left over from a ham I cooked Sunday and was planning to cook some beans with it. I will definitely do it your sister’s way!! Thanks for the good tips you give us.

    May 16, 2012 at 10:09 am

    • Ann

      You’re welcome Gail! Thank YOU!

      May 16, 2012 at 10:20 am

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