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How to Cook Black Beans

Few foods are more versatile, economical and flavorful than dried beans. They are rich in protein and fiber, yet low in fat. Black beans are also known as turtle beans, or in Latin markets as frijoles negros.

Selection & Storage
Bags of dehydrated black beans are sold dated for freshness in most supermarkets. Look for beans that are smooth and shiny with vibrant color.

Rehydrated and cooked black beans are highly perishable and must be refrigerated.

Dried black beans can be kept for 1 year in an airtight container at room temperature.

Dried beans are generally cheapest in price in the "bulk sections" of many supermarkets. So check out those bins for your favorite beans and compare prices before you buy.

Preparation & Cooking Tips
Dried beans must be pre-soaked to prevent flatulence. Place dried beans in a large bowl. Cover with 3 inches of water. Let stand at room temperature overnight, then drain and rinse well several times. Place beans in stockpot and cover with at least 1 inch of water above the beans.

Do not add salt or acidic ingredients, such as tomatoes, until the beans are cooked tender or the result will be tough beans.

Bring to boil. Reduce heat, skim off foam and simmer until tender, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

Bean Chart
Not all beans need pre-soaking, so I recommend visiting my "Bean Cooking Chart" to check out cooking times and whether to SOAK or not SOAK the beans of choice.


avocado
Avocados

Avocados in California are both thin smooth skinned and "alligator" skinned. Avocados are available year-round in markets in California and Oregon. There are many varieties and the flavor varies in each.

View each avocado variety:
Bacon
Fuerte
Gwen
Hass
Lamb Hass
Pinkerton
Reed
Zutano


Selection & Storage
Surprisingly, avocados ripen best off the tree. Speed the ripening process by placing avocados in a paper bag. Smooth skinned avocados prove ripe when it yields to gentle pressure. Rough alligator skinned avocados need to turn a deep black and yield to pressure before they are ripe. Once either type are ripe, keep avocados in the refrigerator for up to a week.

For a detailed view of selecting and handling avocados go to the Avocado Organization.

Preparation
Ripe avocados peel easily. Slice in half and remove one side. Stick a knife in the large pit and twist to remove.

Avocados discolor so make your slices or guacamole the same day you plan to serve it.

 

 

Vegan Dinners
Simply Mexican, Pinto Beans
Pinto beans are speckled reddish brown beans that are larger in size than other varieties.

Bob's Red Mill Dried Pinto BeansDecide on the amount of beans you want to prepare... for Rob-Art and me, I cook 2 cups of dried beans which yields 4 cups of cooked beans. This gives us three or four meals from one recipe.

Ingredients
2 cups dried pinto beans
3 large Mexican dried chilies, optional

Tools
large heavy bottomed sauce pan with lid
long handled spoon for foam removal
measuring cups
tongs for flipping dried chilies

Preparation
The Dried Bean Sort
Measure out the beans you will cook.

Use a white plate or bowl and sprinkle a few on the plate to search for dirt, stones or damaged beans that may be mixed in with the good beans.

Sort Beans For Debris or Damaged Beans


Place Sorted Beans In Large Bowl For Soaking

Remove any misshaped or damaged beans, dirt or stones.
Yes, you must do this step or you could have damaged teeth!

The Flatulent Bean Soak
If you experience abdominal gas "flatulence" from eating beans, this little step may eliminate that problem for you.

Cover Sorted Beans With Water To Top of Bowl

Place inspected beans in a large bowl and cover with cold water... water should be twice the amount of beans measured or more.

Soak the beans overnight... you'll see them double in size and most of the water will have been absorbed by morning.

In the morning, drain and rinse the beans in cold water three or four times till the water runs clear.

NO SALT
Add NO SALT until the beans are cooked completely. Adding salt during the cooking process will result in a TOUGH textured bean or beans not cooking properly.

Optional Dried Chilies
If you like the taste of smoked chilies, but not the heat, try purchasing some dried chilies from you local Mexican grocery store. I've even begun to see them in regular markets, but you'll have to hunt for them.

Dry roast two or three of the dried chilies in a heavy bottomed pan. Turn often to prevent burning. Once you smell a sweet aroma and the peppers are pliable, remove from the heat.


Pan Roasted Dried Chili Peppers, Turn Often To Prevent Burning

The Bean Boil
Add the rinsed pinto beans to the pan roasted dried chili peppers and cover them with water. Use enough water to cover the beans and have at least one inch above the bean level.

Chilies Added To Beans and Water

When the pot contents begin to boil, the surface will form a white foam from the gases being released from the beans. This is not a time to leave the kitchen!!! I have had this boil over many times and the clean-up is no fun! While the beans boil, skim off off the white foam that appears on the surface of the cooking water with a large spoon.

Skim The Foam Off The Top Once The Beans Begin To Boil


Cover The Simmering Beans With A LId

Turn the burner down to the lowest setting for a simmer and cover the pot with a lid... cook for 1 hour.

One Hour Taste Test
After one hour, taste a bean to make sure it is soft enough, if not, cook for another 30 minutes.

High Altitude HINT: Those who live at high altitudes will have to cook their beans longer. Make sure you make note of the cooking time so that you don't have to keep testing the next time you cook.

Once the beans are done to your taste test, turn the heat off, drain the liquid off, and serve.

Drained, Cooked, Great Tasting Pinto Beans

Presentation
Serve these little pinto beauties with organic whole wheat or organic corn tortillas and some homemade fresh salsa. The Perfectly Pickled Carrots add snap to this meal along with some fresh avocado slices or guacamole. Add some Mexican Rice and the meal will be a party!

Cook the beans and rice recipes this weekend and you can heat it for a  quick breakfast, lunch or dinner. Beans and rice is great for the gourmet tastebuds, the pocketbook and the waistline!

Try this recipe using black beans for another variation.

Related Recipes
Vegan Basics: How to Cook Dried Beans

Simply Mexican, Pinto Beans: Step-by-Step Recipe with Photographs of the Cooking Process

Mexican Rice

Perfectly Pickled Carrots

Alvarado Street Bakery Sprouted Wheat Tortillas

Salsa de Pico


A Fast Vegan Burrito


Simply Nachos

Betty Morgan, Chez Bettay, the Vegan Gourmet
Chez Bettay
 

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"Simply Mexican, Pinto Beans!"
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