Slow Cooker Black Beans
Black beans are not easy to come by here in Switzerland. The local grocery stores don't carry canned ones so I have to make a special trip to a Mexican store in Zurich to find them. Recently, a store in my village started carrying dried black beans and this has been a saving grace. It is so easy to get three cans of cooked black beans from just one pound of dried! The cost savings is amazing, too. The 500 gram bag of dried beans (just over a pound) costs 2.70chf ($3.00). Each can of cooked black beans from the Mexican shop costs 6.00chf ($6.60). That's nearly $17 in savings for just three cans!!
I love the smell the beans create while cooking. My kids, not so much. And, I love the ease of these beans...No presoaking required! Simply sort the beans, rinse under the tap, add to the slow cooker with water and they're done in 4-6 hours! Here are a few tips, though:
-If you have hard water, like I do, use bottled water instead of tap water. It will make a difference in cooking time, as hard water will take longer to make the beans tender. The first time I did this, I used tap water and the beans took nearly 7 hours to get tender. With bottled water, only 4 hours!
-Although presoaking is not necessary, and I don't do it, I have read that presoaking will help in making the beans less gassy. I add a couple of pinches of baking soda to the water while cooking...That seems to work, too. Presoaking will shorten the cooking time.
-If freezing the beans, add some of the cooking liquid to the container (plastic or freezer bags) with the beans so they don't dry out.
Slow Cooker Black Beans
one pound of dried beans yields about three cans of cooked beans
- 1 pound (450 g) dried black beans
- 6 cups (1.4 L) water per pound of beans (if you have hard water, use bottled water instead)
Pour the dried beans into a colander or out onto a cookie sheet and sort through the beans, removing stones or other debris. Give the beans a quick rinse to get the dust off and put them in the slow cooker.
Add 6 cups of water per pound of beans. Place the lid on and set the heat to HIGH. Cook for 4-6 hours.
Once the beans are tender, allow to cool a bit, then divide the beans among containers with some of the cooking liquid (prevents the beans from drying out). Freeze the beans until ready to use (thaw to room temp, of course).