Cooking heirloom beans from scratch is almost as easy as opening a can. It just takes a little planning ahead. The key is to soak the beans overnight in filtered water with salt added. The salt brines the beans so they hold their shape. The water is filtered because minerals in the water could keep the beans from cooking evenly.
We use an Instant Pot to pressure cook the beans. It’s fast and easy and takes less energy than the stove or a crock pot.
Beans can be made a couple of days ahead, so they are ready when you need them. They can also be cooked in broth and with onions and garlic (just nothing acidic like tomatoes, which will keep the beans from cooking).
There are a huge variety of dried beans available – a much bigger selection than you will find in a can. Dried beans are easy keep on hand, since they don’t take up much room and don’t require refrigeration, so they are a good pantry item. They also don’t cost much, making them a good way to stretch the food budget.
- Instant pot
- Check the beans for debris by pouring them onto a white plate.
- Soak the beans overnight – 1 cup of beans to 4 cups of filtered water and 2 teaspoons of salt. (The water is filtered to remove minerals that might keep the beans from cooking evenly. The salt is added to season and to brine the beans so they hold their shape.)
- Drain and rinse well, throwing away the water. Soaking and rinsing is done to remove as much of the gas causing quality of beans. There is conflicting evidence for this, but we have found it to be true.
- Put the beans in the Instant Pot and add 4 cups filtered water and 2 teaspoons of salt. Use the pressure cooking setting on high to cook for 20 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 20 minutes before opening.