As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

How to Cook Beans (on a budget)

It’s been a while since my last entry–I have been nothing but busy (unfortunately not in the kitchen or garden)! I hope to have several entries soon after this one, however.

One way that I manage to continue to eat fresh even during my busy times is having real food ready to eat. I usually keep cooked beans in my freezer for a quick bean burger, burritos, bean salad, etc. Not only are beans very budget friendly, but they are one of the healthiest foods nature has to offer.

Buying dried beans and then cooking them yourself has several advantages. First, dried beans are cheaper than canned beans. Additionally,  dried beans that you cook taste better (in my opinion) and do not have the sodium-laden syrup that canned beans have. It might seem like they are a hassle to prepare, but really, once you get into the habit, it is super simple.

Disclaimer: There are LOTS of ways to cook beans. Some people do not soak beans, but rather cook them for several hours (to me, this is not practical because it is rare that I can be near the stove for such a long period of time, not to mention the energy to cook something for 3 hours); others cook beans in less than 20 minutes with a pressure cooker–I don’t have one; others use their crock pot (again, I don’t have one, but it’s on my want list). So, I share with you the way I have successfully learned to cook beans.


  1. Place beans in large bowl; cover generously (the beans will soak up A LOT) with boiling water and let sit 8 hours, or overnight (I usually soak them the night before I have downtown the following morning).
  2. Drain water and rinse beans.
  3. Place beans in large stock pot and cover with water. Do not cover with lid.
  4. Cook on medium high heat for 35 minutes – 1 hour (time will depend on size and type of bean). Most beans should take no more than an hour to cook. Garbanzos might take slightly longer, but not much.
  5. *I usually don’t season my beans so that I can use them in various dishes once cooked.

The beans are done when they are split open slight and can be easily smushed between your tongue and mouth (careful not to burn yourself). You want to make sure the beans are cooked enough so they can be digested.

I let the beans cool and then place them in ziplock bags and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months. Easy Peasy!


Boiling hot water poured over dried beans


Beans have soaked up water


Draining soaking water from beans


Beans are done


Cooled and packed up for the freezer




One response

  1. Pingback: Summer Bean Salad with Tomatoes « joyfulinthekitchengarden

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