How to cook
Trying to sort through all the “rules” and myths about cooking beans can make it seem like an intimidating kitchen task. Soak or no soak, salt at the beginning or at the end, drain/rinse or leave in their own water, the list goes on. While you can experiment with all of these, my preferred method is to soak (if I have time), combine with a mirepox and garlic, boil for 10 minutes, then cook until tender (anywhere from 1 to 4 hours). This technique came from Rancho Gordo. Occasionally I’ll add epazote to my beans as well.
If you’re looking for other methods of bean cooking, this article has quite a few examples.
How to buy
Buy Beans out of bins you know have quick turnover or from companies that go through inventory at a quick pace. Two of my favorites: Bob’s Red Mill and Rancho Gordo.
How to store
Store dried beans in an airtight container, away from light. I prefer to keep my beans in glass jars, kept in my pantry cupboard. While beans can last for some time, I try to make sure I don’t have any beans older than a year.
How to freeze
While I cook a pot of beans or two weekly, I also like to freeze black beans in their liquid for an emergency stash. Cook the beans as normal, stir in about a teaspoon of 1 ½ apple cider vinegar/pound of beans (a trick I picked up from the Kitchn), and divide into freezer-safe containers. Let cool before sealing.
Black Beans (or Black Turtle Beans) are one of the most-used pantry ingredients in my kitchen. They are my go-to legume for tacos, enchiladas, or a good, hearty black bean bowl. These smaller beans are easy to make flavorful and a pantry must-have in my book.
You can also pick up canned beans. I look for organic beans that have no salt added (because canned beans can still be fairly salty). For recipes that require the beans to be drained, save the liquid! It’s great in soups and stews.