Buying, Storing, and Cooking Black Beans

Many people are scared of beans because they don’t really know what to do with them. I took the following information straight from The Bean Institute, which is a great resource to learn all about beans from farm to fork including health benefits, the latest research, and cooking videos.

Black Beans

What are the best black beans to buy?

Beans are available in the grocery store in two forms: canned and dry.

Dry beans are much more cost effective and much lower in sodium. Canned beans are more convenient.

If you decide you want to try dry beans, don’t get a bag that is larger than what you can use in one year.

If you decide to go for canned beans, look for the ones that are low or reduced sodium. Per 0.5 cup serving, regular canned black beans contain about 460mg of sodium, Bush’s Reduced Sodium Beans contain 240mg, and Goya Low Sodium Black Beans contain 125mg. If your store carries a different brand, check the label to see how much sodium it contains.

How should I store my black beans?

Store dry beans in airtight containers and use them within one year of purchase.

Store canned beans in cool cabinets, away from appliances that produce heat and use them within one year of purchase. And never consume canned foods if the cans are rusty, bulging, or dented.

How do I cook black beans?

If you are cooking with dry black beans, you need to follow four steps:

1. Sorting and Cleaning: Clean your beans of any debris by placing them in a pie plate or bar pan. Discard any foreign objects like leaves, small stones or twigs as well as any broken beans.
2. Rinsing: After inspecting and cleaning your beans, place them in a colander and rinse them under cold running water.
3. Soaking: It’s important to soak your beans before cooking them. Soaking has two major benefits: It reduces the cooking time and it breaks down the compounds in beans that cause flatulence. Beans will double or triple in size, depending on which soaking method you use, so it’s important to use a large enough pot when soaking beans. There are three soaking methods you can use, the Hot Soak Method, the Traditional Soak Method, and the Quick Soak Method. The Hot Soak Method is the recommended method because it reduces cooking time and gas-producing compounds the most and it produces consistently tender beans.

The Hot Soak Method

    1. Place beans in a large pot and add 10 cups of water for every 2 cups f beans.
    2. Heat to boiling and boil for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
    3. Remove beans from heat, cover and let stand for 4 to 24 hours.
    4. Drain beans and discard soak water.
    5. Rinse beans with fresh, cool water.

The Traditional Soak Method

    1. Pour cold water over beans to cover.
    2. Soak beans for 8 hours or overnight.
    3. Drain beans and discard soak water (NOTE: cold water starts but does not complete the rehydration process so the beans will appear wrinkled after soaking. They will fully rehydrate during cooking.)
    4. Rinse beans with fresh, cool water.

The Quick Soak Method

    1. Place beans in a large pot and add 6 cups of water for every 2 cups of beans.
    2. Bring to boil and boil for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
    3. Remove beans from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour.
    4. Drain beans and discard soak water.
    5. Rinse beans with fresh, cool water.

4. Cooking: Now that you’ve cleaned, rinsed, and soaked your beans, you can cook them, which is as easy as simmering (not boiling) beans in fresh water. You can prevent your beans from foaming and boiling over by adding a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the water. Stir beans occasionally as they cook and make sure there is enough water to cover them. Black beans generally take 60 minutes to 90 minutes to cook. Bite into the beans to test if they are done – they should be tender but not mushy. Drain them immediately after they reach the desired tenderness to prevent over-cooking.

Canned black beans are ready to use in any recipe, however, draining and rinsing them reduces sodium content by about 40%.

What can I make with my black beans?

When I asked friends to share their favorite black bean recipes on twitter, here’s some of what I heard:

Black Bean Omelet

Perhaps a Southwestern Omelet like this one from Cooking Light ?

Asian black bean burger

And Lindsay isn’t a liar. Here’s a mouth-watering recipe she recently shared for Asian Black Bean Burgers.

Black Bean Lasagna

And I have to say this lasagna recipe looks tasty!

Black Bean Recipes

Their short link went here … a list of 135 recipes featuring black beans!

Black Bean Salsa

In addition to several recipes for salsa, The Bean Institute has a ton of recipes on their site that cover:

  • Appetizers
  • Soups and Stews (Perfect for this weather)
  • Salads
  • Easy (my favorite kind of recipe)
  • For a crowd (Think Superbowl)
  • Side Dishes
  • Main Dishes
  • Ethnic Cuisine (Mexican, Jamaican, Egyptian…)
  • Chef’s Creation
  • And don’t forget to check out their cooking videos
  • Or check them out on Pinterest where they also showcase recipes for breakfast and dessert!
Do you have a favorite recipe to share? Feel free to do so in the comments!

Disclaimer:  The Bean Institute has kindly offered to donate a prize for next week’s Eat Me Quiz. However, I was not compensated for this post, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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  1. thanks for the link love!! great post!

  1. Bean Bytes 22

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