When you want to give your family a good hearty meal that is easy, economical, nutritious and tasty, fix a batch of beans in your crockpot. Many people think that it is too much trouble to cook beans so they buy them in cans instead, but it is really quite simple to cook them in a crockpot. You do not have to watch or stir them, and you can let them cook all day and dinner will be waiting when you come home from work.
· Pour the beans into a bowl of cold water, and remove any shriveled, broken or bad looking ones.
· You can learn more about sorting and cleaning beans on a You Tube video at Cook for Good 1: sorting and cleaning dried beans
· Drain the beans in a colander.
· Transfer the beans to a crockpot, cover them with water and add several extra inches.
· Cover and let the beans soak overnight or at least 6 hours. If your home is very warm, you can let them soak in the refrigerator so they will not spoil.
· Discard the water that the beans soaked in, and rinse them in cool water.
· Cover the beans with fresh water adding a few additional inches.
· Cover the crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours.
· Season with salt and pepper.
· Instead of soaking the beans overnight, boil them for 10 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let them sit for 60 minutes. Rinse the beans and put them in your crockpot with fresh water that reaches 2 inches above the beans, and cook for 8 hours on low.
· Put dry beans in the crockpot with water reaching 2 inches above the beans, and cook on low for 18 hours.
· Beans can cook on high for a shorter time.
· Add rice, sliced carrots, cubed potatoes, chopped onions and tomatoes to the beans for a delicious meal.
Bean cooking tips
· Some cooks say that beans may be tough if you cook them in hard water, so if you have a hard time getting your beans soft, it may be the water.
· If beans are old, they take longer to cook and get soft. In that case, boil them for 10 minutes before transferring them to a crockpot to finish cooking.
· A You Tube video about cooking beans in a crockpot can be seen at Cajun Red Beans and Rice Recipe.
· If you lift the lid on your crockpot, it will take longer to cook the meal because heat is lost every time you peek or stir.
· Cooking in a crockpot on high takes about half as long as cooking on low.
· Helpful hints about crockpot cooking can be found at The Cooking Inn: Crockpot Help.
Beans are a good source of protein, and you will have a complete protein with the amino acids that you need for good nutrition if you include brown rice or other corresponding grains in your meal. Beans do not have cholesterol, and they are very low in fat and high in iron. Beans have a high fiber content to help lower your cholesterol level and stabilize your blood sugar levels. Red beans are high in antioxidants to protect you from free radicals and lessen your chances of developing heart disease, cancer and other diseases.
There have been reports of illness caused by eating undercooked red kidney beans, which appear to contain a toxic agent that is killed by high heat. The Public Health Laboratory Services in Colindale, U.K., advises that you soak beans in water for 5 hours or more, and then dispose of the water. Cover the beans with fresh water, and boil briskly for 10 minutes or more to avoid the unpleasant symptoms of Red Kidney Bean Poisoning. For more information about the toxins in beans, see Food Reference: Red Kidney Bean Poisoning.