Tag Archives: legumes

Slow cooker black beans

When last we left, I had set a few goals, including coming up with new recipes and posting them.

I’m counting this one, because I did not search out recipes in advance to see if it would work. The beans had been sitting around in my cupboard for far too long and I thought it would be nice to prep a batch and have them on hand. Freezing them for future use means I can make a small meal with beans and not have to worry about trying to eat a huge amount before they go bad.

Frugal, nourishing, and delicious!

Making beans in the way takes some advanced planning and just a little active worth and has a big payout. The store where I get beans sells these in bulk for $1.95 a pound, so even if my plan did not work out it would not be a bit waste of money.

Why soak the beans?

I mentioned a similar process before when I posted my tutorial on sprouting lentils. Soaking beans is a traditional method of preparation which makes the beans more digestible and the body can more easily absorb the “enhanced by impressive stores of minerals, including magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron and molybdenum, as well as B vitamins such as folate and thiamine. All legumes contain both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, with kidney and pinto beans particularly high in omega-3. (from the linked article)

If you want to boost the nutritional content further you can cook the beans in homemade bone broth as well.

While the soaking does take time, putting everything together to soak takes minutes and can be left to its own devices. Using a slow cooker also means not having to tend to a pot and worry about scorching. A win-win arrangement if you ask me.

I was inspired to use apple cider vinegar to soak based on my friend Lindsay’s recipe for black beans. A fruit-based acid will impart extra flavor on to the beans and add character to any dish.

What I did with this batch was freeze portions in quart bags and cover with enough liquid to keep the beans themselves from getting freezer burns. Now they are ready to be defrosted at any time! And the best part, they taste great!

You can use these beans as is for a side dish, or you can try one of the following recipes:

Black bean soup from Thankful Expressions

Another black bean soup from The Homesteading Hippy

Black bean cake from Blue Viola Farm

Tortilla soup from Don’t Waste the Crumbs

Pizza black beans from The Granola Mommy

Or you can take the soaked, uncooked beans to make a variation of traditional natto.

Slow Cooker Black Beans

(to soak)
2 cups black turtle beans, dried.
Water to cover.
2 tablespoons of acid, like apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice

(to cook)
One onion
5-6 garlic cloves
8-10 cups water, broth, or a mix of both liquids

1 bowl
1 colander
1 slow cooker
Sharp knife
Cutting board

Total preparation time: 24-36 hours
Active preparation time: 10 minutes

1. 12-24 hours before you plan to cook, place beans in a bowl with room temperature water to cover and acid for soak.

2. After beans finish soaking, drain and rinse.

3. Place rinsed beans in slow cooker with water/broth, one whole onion cut in half, and crushed garlic cloves.

4. Set slow cooker on low for 12 hours and leave to cook.

5. To store, freeze in bags with enough cooking liquid to cover from freezer burn. Remove onion and garlic before freezing.

Happy eating!

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How to sprout lentils

Sprouts? Isn’t that some weird hippie thing?

Hardly. Sprouting of beans, seeds, and grains was a common practice in a wide range of cultures throughout the world. Why sprout? It makes the food item much more nutritious. The process of sprouting increases the amount of vitamin C available, as well as vitamins B2, B5, and B6*. The process of sprouting also eliminates phytic acid, which prevents the absorption of nutrients when ingested. This is great when seeds are blowing around on the wind and looking for a home, but not helpful when someone wants to consume the item for food.

Sprouting does require planning, since it takes a few days for the sprout to form. If you don’t have time to sprout your lentils (or beans or seeds), you can also soak them to break down the phytic acid.

Just about anyone on any type of diet can utilize this technique. If you’re on a primal or paleo diet, or just cannot easily digest legumes, then this would probably not help you. Otherwise, this is a great frugal way to get nutrients in your diet. Dry legumes are much cheaper than any canned sort and you don’t have to worry about what other stuff is going into the mix. Plus, a lot of metal cans contain the hormone disruptor Bisphenol A.

Do note that sprouted legumes are bigger than dried, so if you are using a specific recipe which does not call for soaking or sprouting in advance, you don’t need quite the same amount of dried legumes. Cut down and experiment.

What can you do with the sprouts? Anything you might do with the legumes otherwise. Include them in soups, salads, make legume burgers, the sky is the limit!

You’ll need:
Dry lentils
A jar with a sprouting lid or a colander with small holes
A towel, if you’re using the colander

To sprout:
1. Put the desired amount of lentils in the jar or colander.
2. Rinse with water and allow it to drain. Keep covered if you’re using the colander method.
3. Continue to rinse 1-2 times per day.
4. Keep watch over the legumes. When sprouts begin to pop out, they’re done!

Have you sprouted? Do you want to try now? What do you regularly make with your sprouts?

*Source: Nourishing Traditions, p.112.

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