Frugal Tip of the Week: Crockpot Beans

Spring break will be over on Tuesday, so now I don’t have an excuse not to get back into the swing of posting. This weeks frugal tip is simple, make your own beans instead of buying canned. I generally keep several kinds of dry beans around in the pantry. Black, pinto and kidney are the staples, but white and pink are good for soups in the winter. I usually buy my pinto beans at Sam’s club for the cheapest price at about $0.65/lb (I think if I bought the giant 50lb bag it would be cheaper, but we don’t go through quite THAT many!). For the other beans I aim for $1.00 or less per pound.

Cooking beans from scratch may seem a bit daunting at first. You can rinse them, soak them and cook them in a pot for a few hours on the stove. Personally, I don’t like to babysit a big pot of beans, so I do mine in the crockpot. I rinse them up, throw them in the crockpot and cover them with hot water so there is twice as much water as beans. Now you can go to bed, run errands, go to work or do whatever you need to while your beans cook!

I can do a 1 lb bag easily in my 5 qt. crockpot. You really don’t want to overload it too much. Now, the time can depend on the bean size and if you do them on high or low. I like to do mine overnight while I sleep. For pinto beans on low it takes 10 hours or so. Kidney beans take about 12. Black about 8. If you cook on high, cut that time in half. Just cook until nice and tender. You can season at this point if you like.

I divide mine into 2 cup portions with a little of the juice and freeze. Just like a can of beans, but you can control the extras like salt and seasonings to your taste! Pull it out when you need them. I also make my own refried beans as well. After the pintos (or black beans) are cooked put them on a skillet and mash with a potato masher or fork. Add some garlic, onion, salt and whatever other seasoning you like and cook a bit until thick. Portion out and freeze. I cooked up some of these for my freezer as part of my freezer cooking for the month of April. Later this week I will be posting my monthly meal plan, my freezer cooking plan as well as my recipes and results, so be on the look out for those.

I can get the equivalent of about 6-7 cans of beans for 1 lb of dry. That make for cheap beans. They are excellent with my Whole Wheat Tortillas with cheese and brown rice you have a complete protein and a cheap, healthy meal!

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: April Freezer Cooking Results and Recipes Part 1 « Coby's Corner
  2. Trackback: Monthly Menu Planning: June’s Menu « Coby's Corner
  3. Trackback: Monthly Menu and Freezer Plan Cooking for April « Coby's Corner

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