How to cook white beans
My preferred method is to soak (if I have time), combine with a mirepoix and garlic, boil for 10 minutes, then cook until tender (anywhere from 1 to 4 hours). This technique came from Rancho Gordo.
If you’re looking for other methods of bean cooking, this article has quite a few examples.
How to buy beans
Buy beans out of bulk 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 beans
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 in my pantry.
How to freeze beans
While I cook a pot of beans or two weekly, I also like to freeze white beans in their liquid for an emergency stash of beans. 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.
I love white beans for their versatility as they can work in place of almost any type of bean, in any type of dish. I first realized this when my uncle made hummus from white beans instead of chickpeas. The result was tan amazingly creamy hummus that didn’t have quite the earthy flavor chickpeas come with.
I’ve become a bit picky on which type of white bean depending on the dish. For a recipe where the beans should blend and become apart of the overall texture, I prefer smaller navy beans. For dishes where I want the bean to be the star, I tend towards the bigger/creamier cannellini bean. Great Northern are a great in-between, but it’s rare that I use this bean as it’s texture isn’t as smooth as the cannellini.
Purchase White Beans
Navy Beans from Bob’s Red Mill
Cannellini Beans from Bob’s Red Mill
Great Northern Beans from Bob’s Red Mill
No-salt Added Canned Cannellini Beans
No-salt Added Canned Great Northern Beans
No-salt Added Canned Great Navy Beans