Cooking with Beans

January is sugar withdrawal season. When the weather is below zero and the snow is blowing,  it makes me want to cook soup and lots of it.  And making comforting soup almost always means cooking with beans.

I have a friend from Germany who loves soup. She could eat soup every day. I know of a couple who adopted 6 children from Russia and they complain that their parents do not serve them enough soup. Throughout history soup or stew has been a mainstay. Soup can feed a crowd and has high nutrient value since the vegetables are usually cooked in the same broth that is served.

My oldest son recently decided to make white chili with white beans (not pictured), roasted peppers and chicken. (Yes, I taught him well.) He decided he wanted 4 cups of beans in his soup. So he poured 4 cups of dried beans in the crock pot. Any of you who have ever cooked dried beans can imagine what happened. As the day went on the beans kept growing and growing eventually he had a huge amount of beans.

My tip for the day: 1 cup of dried beans will yield 3 cups of cooked beans.

The following is a yield chart from the Bean Institute. Many bean tips can be found on this web site.

Bean Yield Chart

½ cup cooked beans, drained equals 1 serving of beans
one 15-oz. can of beans equals 1 ½ cups cooked beans, drained
one 15-oz. can of beans equals 3 servings of beans
one pound of dry beans equals 2 cups dry beans
one pound of dry beans will yield 6 cups cooked beans, drained
one cup of dry beans will yield 3 cups cooked beans, drained

– See more at: Bean Institute Bean Chart

The most prominent soup on my mind is Ham and Bean soup especially since most of us have ham during the holidays and have a lovely ham bone which we are wondering what to do with it.

My solution SOUP. I cook my beans in a pressure cooker. This may cause fear and anxiety in many people. Thanks to my crazy Brazilian friend I learned to use a pressure cooker. Her specialty was black beans of course. Thank you my dear friend!

Cooking beans


Rinse dry beans to remove field debris. Remove any pebbles or shriveled beans present.

Method #1 Pressure Cooker

After rinsing and sorting, I do not soak my beans. I put the dry beans in the pressure cooker with the water and cook. I am going to refer you to the instruction on your pressure cooker at this time because it can be best explained there. I recently bought an electric pressure cooker which takes all the guess work out of this step. The pressure cooker method can take about an hour.


Method #2 Stove top

After rinsing and sorting, soak your beans.  Put 1 cup beans and 6 cups water in pan bring to boil, boil for a few minutes, turn off heat, let rest one hour. Drain beans, rinse. Cook for several hours.

OR Put 1 cup beans and 6 cups water in a pan and let them sit overnight or at least 12 hours.  You don’t heat them first with the overnight soaking.

Once soaked, simmer several hours testing occasionally for tenderness. This can vary according to the beans and your home environment. Refer to Bean Institute for cooking times.

Method #3 Buy Canned Beans

That would be Annette’s method.  It’s a cheater method, but a real time saver.  Caution:  canned beans are high in sodium content, get lower sodium versions when possible.


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