Cooking your own dried beans…

As regular readers might have noticed, I’ve taken to cooking my and freezing dried beans myself, rather than buying canned. Yesterday it was the turn of a bag of Judion de la Granja “giant” Spanish butter beans – not cheap at 8 quid a kilo, but they taste great even if the giant aspect of this batch was rather lacking. And they were 6 months past their BBE date which matters little – they just take a tad longer to cook. Since they normally take a long time, this is hardly noticeable.

The problem was, including a chopped onion and carrot, the full kilo filled my 3.5 litre slow cooker right to the top – seriously over-filled – so I had to keep moving the beans around, bringing those on the bottom to the top, and pushing those on top down. It all worked out nicely in the end.

A kilo of dried beans, after a 24-hour soak in cold water, followed by 10 hours in the slow cooker, plus cooling overnight in the cooking liquor, yielded 2.432kgs of cooked beans – three 800g+ portions** – and 833ml of rather good stock. Only one portion, sadly, if I want it to make its presence felt.

Both beans and stock are packed in Lakeland’s 1litre Soup ‘n’ Sauce bags – very robust and easy to fill and seal.

And even at the exorbitantly high price of the dried beans (ordinary butter beans cost £2.18/kg at Sainsbury’s and, to be honest, cooked the same way, the difference in taste isn’t huge, but the Spanish beans are much heftier), plus the bags (25p each), they still work out cheaper, and taste better, than canned beans. Chemical-free too.

And while this is not, strictly speaking, a recipe, it gets one Spoonie spoon for being very easy and undemanding, and the return on the minimal effort invested is huge.

spoonie spoon

All I have to do now is find room in the freezer…

**Portions – I normally use 3 cans of Napolina beans, which give me 720g drained weight. Depending on the recipe, 800g+ might not fit, so any left over are the cook’s treat, lightly fried in butter and seasoned with sea salt flakes and white pepper.