Heirloom Beans Recipe made in an Instant Pot
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This is a really simple recipe for making heirloom beans in an Instant Pot. Almost as easy as opening a can – but so much better. It just takes a little planning ahead.
Heirloom beans are traditional varieties of beans that are not associated with large-scale commercial agriculture. There are hundreds of varieties of beans, but only a few commonly available in the grocery store.
Fortunately, heirloom beans are easily available from Rancho Gordo. They have a huge variety of dried beans available – a much bigger selection than you will find in a can. Pictured here are Eye of the Goat heirloom beans and pinto beans. We use heirloom beans because we like the taste, quality and variety. Rancho Gordo also has traditional Mexican varieties from their project called The Rancho Gordo-Xoxoc project which helps small farmers continue “to grow their indigenous products in Mexico, despite international trade policies that seem to discourage genetic diversity and local food traditions.”
These are the Rancho Gordo-Xoxoc project Ayocote Negro and Ayocote Morado beans. They are rare beans grown using centuries-old methods.
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Some beans have a tendency to burst. We often mash or puree the beans, so this doesn’t matter, but if you need them intact, the key is brining them. 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 a large canning jar with measurements on the side to make this really simple.
Beans contain a natural toxin (Phytohaemagglutinin) that is removed by soaking. Beans must be soaked for at least 5 hours, though overnight is better, and the water must be discarded. This will also make the beans easier to digest and less likely to cause gas.
HIERLOOM BEANS RECIPE FOR USING AN INSTANT POT
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. There is a setting for beans and the default cooks most varieties perfectly.
In this recipe, we cooked them in water, but they can also be cooked in broth and with onions and garlic (just nothing acidic like tomatoes, which will keep the beans from cooking).
BEAN STORAGE IN THE PANTRY
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 by eating less meat. We transfer them to jars when we get a shipment, and keep the label in the jar for identification.
WEEKEND MEAL PREP
Beans are one of the things we make during the weekend meal prep that make meals so much easier the rest of the week. They can be made a couple of days ahead, so they are ready when you need them.