Budget Meals: Cooking Dried Beans or Peas in a Slow Cooker

Garbanzo Beans

Cooking your own dried beans or peas in a slow cooker is super easy.  Beans/peas are a a great source of protein and are super cheap.  If you cook them yourself, then they are even less expensive, and you don’t have to worry about what else is in that can besides beans/pea.  Many people think it is just too much trouble to cook them yourself, but it you plan it right and use a slow cooker, so that you don’t have to stay home with them, it is almost effortless.  You just need a game plan.  **Please note:  Do not cook kidney beans lima in the slow cooker.

Most dried peas and beans need to be soaked before cooking.  This can be done in one of two ways.  First, sort your beans to make sure you just have beans  – rocks, etc.  Then wash them thoroughly   Place them in a bowl and cover with water.  The water needs to be one to two inches above the beans.  Then just let them sit over night.  You can do this in less than five minutes the night before, and the steps you will take in the morning will also take less than five minutes.  If you are like me, and fell asleep neglecting to do this, you can use this alternate method.  After you sort and wash the beans, place them in a pot with water covering them.  Bring to a rolling boil and let boil two to five minutes.  Then, turn off the heat, cover them, and let them sit for an hour.

Next, put them in your slow cooker and again cover with water (one to two inches above the beans).  Depending on the your preferred texture and type of bean/pea, the beans/peas should be should be done in 2 to 4 hours on high or 4 to 8 hours on low.  The garbanzo beans beans in the picture were cooked for three hours on high.

Now that you have the beans/peas, what should you do with them.  Cans contain about two cups, so you can use them in any recipe that calls for canned beans/peas.  You can freeze them in portions.  Or you could add other ingredients to the slow cooker as they cook to make a soup or stew.  Basically, anything you’ve done with beans or peas before!

**Kidney beans and lima beans both contain a toxin (not the same one) if not cooked properly.  In my research, I have seen conflicting information about what is meant by cooked properly, so please cook them on the stove top and make sure they boil and are cooked thoroughly.  

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