Cooking black beans from scratch is a simple process. While it’s true that it requires a lot of time, very little is actual hands-on cooking time. Dry black beans are available in the bulk section of many supermarkets or in a variety of sized bags at most supermarkets.

Black beans are an excellent source of fiber, folate, and the mineral molybdenum. A pot of freshly cooked black beans can be used in a variety of recipes and will keep for five to seven days in the refrigerator. Cooked black beans can also be frozen in an airtight container and kept for up to six months.

Sorting Beans

The first step to cooking the dry black beans from scratch is to measure out the beans and sort them. Measure one cup of dry black beans and pour them into a shallow bowl or tray. Sort out any abnormalities, stones, or withered, discolored beans. Discard these and continue.

Soaking Beans

Next, measure out three times as much water as beans, in this case, three cups. Place the sorted black beans in a large container and cover with the water. Allow the beans to soak for six to eight hours. Allowing them to sit overnight will work well. The beans can soak either covered or uncovered, results will be the same.

Drain and rinse the black beans. At the end of the soaking time, the water will be very dark, but won’t stain your hands the container, or the colander.

Cooking Beans

Beans that have been soaked will require about three cups of water for each cup of beans. Still, it is always best to add more water and drain at the end. Be sure to routinely check the water level during cooking, if you run out of water, the black beans will start to burn and acquire a burnt, smoky taste.

Next, you will need to decide if you will be seasoning your beans during cooking. Garlic, onion, chili powder, and cumin are all great options. Bring the water, beans, and any seasonings to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and let simmer. Pre-soaked black beans will take approximately 45 minutes to one hour to cook. Beans are done when they are tender. Drain and the black beans are now ready to be used in a variety of recipes.

Try serving black beans topped with sliced avocado and sour cream, in vegetarian tacos, or as the base for a delicious chili. They also make a great addition to salads.

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