How we nailed it at the Wall Homestead
It was over a year ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday: I grabbed the 12 pound bag of hard, dried black beans off the shelf at Sam’s Club. I hesitated at first, I even took a few steps forward, and then I just did it: I grabbed that big fat heavy bag and threw it in my cart. I was going to be THAT person. I was going to be the person that took dried black beans and made them into something edible for my family that they would approve of.
I felt empowered. I felt like Laura Ingalls Wilder and also the Pioneer Woman. I had never done anything like this before, and I hate food waste more than anything. So this was a challenge that I was taking seriously. I was going to do this thing, and I was going to see it through.
I had one major problem that I was aware of: I did not own an Insta pot.
I had been looking and shopping and comparing and thinking. But I was facing budget issues as well as commitment issues. A six dollar bag of dried black beans is one thing. A $100 appliance in an already overstuffed house is another.
Fortunately, time and patience and Christmas saved my decision making energy: my Grammy got me a crockpot instant pot for Christmas that year.
I was officially in heaven.
Still, the bag sat in my basement closet pantry for all that time, quietly waiting for me to clear up some brain space and take on a new challenge.
I remembered the promise I made to myself, and sometimes when I ran into that closet to grab paper towels or napkins or an extra jar of pasta sauce, they would sit there quietly mocking me, staring up at me like the cat that wants you to pay attention to them with those big round begging eyes.
After we adopted our two little ones and closed our home to foster care, I found myself with a little more time and a little more brain space. Not much, but it was enough to be able to stare that bag of black beans back in the face.
I lugged them up to the kitchen and set them on the counter, provoking myself to start doing something about my promise.
I read about black beans. I read about the instant pot. I read about soaking beans.
I scoured Pinterest. I reviewed Google until my eyes went crosseyed. I asked friends and family if and how they brought their dried beans back to life in a way that their family would accept them.
Before long, I was ready to try my own. After many tries and many fails and many practices on my crew, I have come up with my favorite way of making dried black beans a usable grocery item in our home. There is no soaking necessary, and even my pickiest eater has never noticed a difference with the swap.
And that says more than a million words.
Here is how I did it:
Take two cups of dried black beans and put them in your Insta Pot.
Add 6 cups of water.
Season your water with SOMETHING. I have two choices and ideas for you here, chunks of veggies thrown in so you can pick them out later, or simple powdered seasonings so you don’t ever have to think about it again.
Choose the “Beans/Chili” option on your Crock Pot or Insta Pot.
Override the time on the machine until it reads 40 minutes.
Lock and load.
I have seen blogs and Pinterest posts for as little as twenty minutes’ cooking time, but anything shorter than 40 for us was way too firm, even if I was cooking them a quick second time making our chili lime beans or throwing them into our favorite chili for dinner.
Use them for anything you’d like, and anything you would already use black beans for. You can be glad to know that these Insta Pot beans have SO MUCH LESS SODIUM than anything you could ever buy canned in the store. And two cups makes about five cups cooked, and stores easily in the fridge for a week.
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