I love black beans, and chickpeas. They’re so nutritious, and so versatile. When prepared from scratch, they’re really cost-effective, too. However, canned chickpeas vary in quality, firmness, size and taste, and canned black beans are difficult to purchase – the major supermarkets don’t stock them, and the organic brands from health food stores can be very expensive. Canned legumes’ broth is not always appealing, either – but when you prepare legumes/beans from scratch, you can add some chickpea cooking broth to your hommus if it’s too thin or to add richness without fat, or make a Brazilian Portobello and black bean Feijoada and use the black bean broth in that.
I have a combination electric pressure cooker/slow cooker, so the actual cooking time of legumes for me is usually around 12-25 minutes (and at the press of a button, too! Doesn’t that beat standing in a hot kitchen for over two hours, stirring chickpeas while you wait for them to cook?). Let me answer that for you: yes.
The only hitch is the soaking. What a pain. Ideally, this is around 4-8 hours. And sadly, it stops a lot of people from enjoying legumes. And I have a short attention span and often have no idea what I want to eat until I want to eat it, so planning isn’t always possible. And I know you can “quick soak” things in pressure cookers or pots, or even not soak at all and just cook longer, but that’s not ideal – soaking is important for a number of nutritional and cooking reasons, but also helps remove the “field dust” dirt and grime from your beans. And that stuff is scary and yick. And to be honest, quick soaking something still takes long enough/enough effort that I’d rather just soak for a day/night.
Enter a tip from Vegan Dad – soak dried legumes/beans when you have time, and then freeze the soaked legumes/beans in ziplock bags in portions that you usually use! Brilliant! 1 cup seems reasonable to me, and can easily be split into ½ after freezing. That way, when it’s time for cooking – you can just cook them straight away, And if you have a pressure cooker, you can have black beans ready in 12 minutes! Or chickpeas in 20ish! Perfecto! I have been advised that the beans might lose their shape a little bit when pressure cooking after being frozen.
Though you may prefer to buy beans as you need them, doing them like this can save you a few dollars, as you can buy heaps of dry beans at once (which is often much cheaper) rather than a few cups here and there.
Remember: eat simply, but use the best quality ingredients you can find/afford. It'll make such a difference to the meal!
Enjoy your Monday, everyone.