Okay, it's time to tackle dry beans. I was inspired by my sister-in-law in Seattle who asked for vegetarian freezer meal ideas. Plus, everyone's trying to find easy ways to stretch their food budget dollars. I can't think of a better way than to incorporate dry beans into your meals! They're inexpensive, readily available, and have an almost eternal shelf life! :) Of course, now we need to figure out how to use them. So all of us have used canned beans before, right? I've spent the last few weeks figuring out how to make our dry beans as convenient and easy to use as the cans, without the expense. I got started with the book Make-A-Mix by Eliason, Harward, and Westover. Then I adapted the ideas for crock pot, and created my own kidney bean recipe. So pull out your crock pot and a few simple pantry items, and you'll be ready to go. It takes a little time, but your crock pot does all of the work. You just need to throw it all in and let it cook.
Freezer White Beans
2 lbs Great Northern Beans
10 cups water
1 cup dried chopped onion (or one large onion, chopped)
1 Tbsp garlic (or more if you like it a lot)
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp. Black Pepper
Wash, sort, and rinse beans. Soak beans overnight. Drain and rinse beans. Combine all ingredients in crock pot. Cook on High 2 hours. Then cook on Low 8-10 hours (until tender).
Turn off crock pot. Let beans cool 1 hour. Label freezer containers (you can use mason jars, ziploc freezer bags, or plastic freezer containers available in the canning section at the grocery store) with contents, date, and quantity. Measure beans into containers, close, and freeze. To use, thaw in refrigerator or microwave. Use in recipes that call for canned white beans.
I like to measure the beans into 2 cup measures. That's about the right size for my family, and pretty close to a 14.5oz can.
So, yep, you guessed it! You can do this with ANY bean. The only thing that changes is the quantity of beans and seasonings in the recipe, since each dry bean will inflate to a different size after soaking, and each bean needs different levels of flavor to not taste chalky.
Freezer Kidney Beans
6 cups Kidney Beans
10 cups water
1 cup dried chopped onion (or 1 large onion, chopped)
3 Tbsp. garlic
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
1 tsp. black pepper
Wash, sort and rinse beans. Soak overnight. Drain, rinse beans. Combine all ingredients in crock pot. Cook on high 2 hours then on low 8-10 hours. Cool 1 hour. Measure into labeled containers, seal, and freeze. To use, thaw in refrigerator or microwave. Add to recipes that call for canned kidney beans.
Freezer Pinto Beans
6 cups dried pinto beans
10 cups water
2 cups dried chopped onion (or 3 onions, chopped)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Wash, sort, and rinse beans. Soak beans overnight. Drain, rinse beans. Combine soaked beans, water, onions, garlic, butter, Kosher salt, and pepper in crock pot. Cook on High 2 hours, then on Low 8 hours. Let cool 1 hour before putting in freezer containers. Measure in to labeled containers, seal, and freeze. Great subsititute for canned pinto beans, or use it in any Mexican dish...mash and fry them for great refried beans, or use them straight on your favorite burrito.