The life and times of the Redding family.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Looking Beans

I am often surprised when asked how to cook beans or asked for a recipe to cook beans. Beans have always been a part of my diet. I never knew there was a recipe for cooking beans.

So here goes:

Take a package of beans from your favorite grocery store or buy your dried beans in bulk. There are many kinds of beans and they can be used in so many wonderful ways. My family's favorite are what West Virginians call brown beans. What are brown beans? Pinto beans.

1. First look the beans.
What are you looking for? Many times you will find small rocks or clumps of dirt or debris in the beans. Once you have looked your beans then rinse them.

2. Soak the Beans.
To soak the beans place them in a pan of water. The water should be at least 2-3 inches over the beans. Why? Beans increase in volume as they absorb the water. There are two or three ways you can soak these.

a. place in a covered pot of water overnight (at least 2-3 inches above the level of the beans). In the morning either drain the water and add fresh or use the same water and begin to simmer on the stove top until done.

b. place in a covered pot of water and quick soak them by cooking until boiling for 2-3 minutes and then turning off and covering for one hour. There are two thoughts about what to do next. Drain the water and add fresh or keep the water and simmer on your stove until done. You can tell they are tender by taste or you may want to put one or two in a spoon and blow on it and the skin will split when done.

c. you may place the clean rinsed beans in your crock pot or you may do this step after either of the previous steps. Or you may look, rinse, and then place them in the crock pot on low. I usually do this the night before and they are ready by morning to be seasoned and eaten or used in a recipe. You might want to start them on low in the morning if they are to be eaten for your evening meal.

Most of my life I used one of the first two ways of soaking the beans and cooking beans. In recent years I discovered how easy it cook beans with the use of the crock pot.

Now after your beans are done you may season them. For me this is not an exact science. I tend to add a small amount of cumin, chili powder,onions or onion flakes, sometimes small pieces of chopped green bell pepper, garlic, salt and pepper. Start with small amounts and season to taste. ****Make sure if you are going to use tomatoes in your beans that you do not add them until the beans are completely done.

There. Now you know how I cook beans. Brown beans are one of our favorite meals with corn bread and a slice of onion.
If you have questions about how to cook beans please let me know.


Marie said...

Thanks so much for coming to talk to our MOPS group today! I am very excited to try some of your ideas for once a month cooking! Marie

From Redding Mountain said...

Thanks Marie! I enjoyed being there today. I loved seeing all the babies too!
Send me your address and I will send you the book.
My email is

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