An Easy Way to Cook Beans

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This post is by Bernie Carr,

Today we’ll take a look at a prepper’s staple:  dried beans.  It is an inexpensive source of protein, tasty and filling.   Many people settle for canned beans, thinking it is too hard to make it yourself.  It is actually very easy.

How Much Dried Beans to Use

1 cup dried beans = 3 cups cooked beans

Since I like to make a large enough batch to last for a few meals, I use about three cups of beans.

Preparing Beans

Before you cook any type of beans sort through them to remove any pebbles or any foreign matter.  You should also give the beans a quick rinse.

There are two ways to prepare beans:

  • Soaking method
  • Fast boil

Soaking method:

1.  Just measure three cups of beans and soak in a pan of water overnight.  The beans puff up the next day.

2.  Throw out the soaking water, then rinse the beans.

3.  In a large pot, add the beans and enough water to cover the beans.  Cook on medium heat and let the pot simmer.  You can add a peeled piece of garlic if you like.

A couple of tips:

  • DO NOT ADD SALT.  The salt will toughen the beans and will not cook properly.
  • Old beans may take longer to cook.  For tips on how to properly store beans, please see Survival Food Storage.

Add more water as it boils down.  If the water runs out, the beans will start to burn.  Allow the mixture to boil for 1 1/2- 2 hours until the beans are tender.  Once the beans are soft, add salt to taste.

Fast boil method

1.  If you forget to soak the beans the night before, do the fast boil method.  Add enough water to cover the beans in a pot.  Let the mixture boil for about three minutes.  Turn off the fire and remove from heat.  Place the pot in the sink and add tap water.  Pour the beans into a colander and throw out the water.  Rinse the beans one more time under the faucet.

2.  Now you are ready to cook the beans.

Follow Step 3 above.

Plain cooked beans are great added to plain white rice.   With a bit of salt and pepper, beans and rice make a great comfort food.  Even picky kids like it.

Another thing you can easily make is refried beans.

Refried Beans

You will need:

5-7 cups of cooked pinto beans (following the steps above)

1/2 cup lard, butter or vegetable oil

1 cup grated monterey jack cheese or your favorite type of cheese like grated cheddar cheese

Melt the lard, butter or if using vegetable oil, add to the pan.

Drain the beans leaving around 1/2 cup of bean water and add the beans and water to the pan all at once.  Careful you don’t get splattered.

Mash the soft beans with a potato masher.  Mix the beans and the oil very well.  If the beans look too dry, add 1/4 cup of water or chicken broth to the mix and keep mashing to your desired consistency. Some cooks like the beans to be on the dry side, some like it a bit more watery.

Mashing beans

Once the beans are mashed, add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle the grated cheese on top.  Allow the cheese to melt.  Serve with tortillas, tostada shells or tortilla chips.  You can even make breakfast burritos by mixing the refried beans with scrambled egg, more cheese in a large flour tortilla.

Refried beans
Refried beans with monterey jack cheese

© Apartment Prepper 2013


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    1. Actually, I still cook the beans the “normal” way after the quick boil-I just do it to prepare the beans and make the beans less “gassy” But this sounds like an easy cook method. Thanks for this tip.

        1. Hey P/P, Not a bad idea to let it sit after the 3 minute boil then, plus I won’t have to be so rushed. Thanks again!

  1. Using a pressure cooker greatly accelerates the cooking process for beans – especially old beans or at high altitude. This acceleration also reduces the amount of fuel required.
    After my cooker gets to pressure (15 psi) I keep it there for 7 minutes and then turn off the heat and let it cool to depressurize naturally.
    Hangtown Frank

  2. We have practiced “survival beans” ha ha. Had my kids pound them on a hard surface ( flat rock etc ) with a hammer and pillow case until they were pretty much powder. Then added boiling/hot water, then the add in’s. Did this as a homeschool lesson. Saved us water and was quick. My daughter and I made tortillas and before you know it, lunch was served. If you had a garden you could grow the necessary salsa ingredients and really have a feast. I am mexican and my family is from mexico. Learned a lot from my grandma. Anyway, that is what we did as an experiment.

    1. Hi Mary M, That sounds like a great project to do with kids. Educational – and you get lunch out of it 🙂

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