Dried beans are a frugal staple.
But do you ever feel that cooking from scratch just takes too much time?
Who has time to soak and cook beans, right?
Well here’s a method of cooking dried beans that takes only 3 minutes cooking time and less than 6 minutes hands-on prep time, some of which you can do while the beans are cooking!
Less than 10 minutes a month cooking and freezing some beans can save you big bucks on the groceries.
How do you save time, save money and save electricity?
The secret is thermal cooking.
how to cook beans in the thermal cooker
You can cook just about anything in a thermal cooker, but it’s best to start with something easy like rice or beans.
If you didn’t see Monday’s post on how to make your own thermal cooker and how to use it, check out that article first.
Here’s how to cook your beans using a thermal cooker.
1. SOAK YOUR BEANS
You can either soak your beans overnight and put them on to cook in the morning or if your mornings are too hectic, you can soak your beans in the morning and then cook them overnight.
To soak your beans simply throw them in a pot, cover them with cold water and put the lid on. Too easy.
Leave your beans to soak for around 8 – 10 hours. It doesn’t need to be precise, but the bigger the bean, the longer you soak it for. I’ve left Pinto beans to soak for around 18 hours and they turned out perfect. Too long though, especially if it’s hot, and they can go mouldy.
Hands-on time: 30 seconds
2. DRAIN AND RINSE YOUR BEANS
After your beans have soaked, drain your beans, give them a quick rinse and then throw them back in your pot and cover again with cold water.
Hands-on time: 1 minute
3. BRING THE BEANS TO THE BOIL
Bring the beans to the boil and boil for a couple of minutes.
While the beans are coming to the boil, prepare your thermal cooker: place a blanket or old pillow in the bottom of a laundry basket or cardboard box. Place a towel in the box so that you can fold the towel over the pot. Gather more towels or blankets to cover.
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Hands-on time: 2 minutes
4. PLACE YOUR POT OF BEANS IN THE THERMAL COOKER
After the beans have come to the boil and have boiled for about 2 minutes, put the lid on your pot, turn the stove off and place the pot directly into your laundry basket/box aka thermal cooker and fold the towel over to cover the pot.
Place towels or blankets down the sides of the pot and over the top to make your pot snug as a bug in a rug.
Put your thermal cooker aside for at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours. I leave my beans in the pot overnight, so about 12 hours. They turn out perfect.
Hands-on time: 1 minute.
5. DRAIN COOKED BEANS
The next morning, or in the evening depending on your schedule, drain the beans. They will be tender, perfectly cooked through and still steaming hot, so beware of burns!
If, after 3 or 4 hours, you decide to check your beans and they’re not cooked, simply bring back to the boil on the stove and put them back in the thermal cooker for another few hours.
Hands-on time: 1 minute
The total direct cooking time for the beans is 3 minutes, saving you electricity. Hands-on time is less than 6 minutes, around 10 if you count putting the towels back in the cupboard and freezing the beans for later use.
Beans are a nutritious frugal staple, and cooking them in a thermal cooker makes them quick and easy as well. If you’re wondering what to do with all those beans once you’ve cooked them, then check out Kitchen Stewardship’s The Everything Beans eBook. There’s a whole bunch of bean recipes (including a chocolate brownie recipe made with beans!).
Melissa Goodwin is a writer and the creator of Frugal and Thriving who has a passion for living frugally and encouraging people to thrive on any budget. The blog is nine years old and is almost like her eldest baby. Prior to being a blogger and mum (but not a mummy blogger), she worked as an accountant doing other people’s budgets, books and tax.