How to cook dried beans and legumes

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Where we live in Wales, we have no mains gas, so I do my cooking with calor. I experimented once with dried chickpeas. I soaked them overnight and set them boiling the next day in my Great Aunt’s marmalade making saucepan. I topped up the pan with boiling water on numerous occasions, and it bubbled away for five hours before I forgot it and boiled the pan dry. The aluminium pan cleaned up fine, but I was shocked to find that the chick peas inside were still hard. I tried a second time, even managed to boil them for more than eight hours, but they were still slightly crunchy. I gave up. What was the point of using so much time, effort, gas and electricity when the chickpeas I was aiming to produce (2 tins worth), I could purchase for 70pence?

And then we went into lockdown in the UK, and chickpeas were no longer abundant on the supermarket shelves. Our health food shop had plenty of dried ones though, so I bought some, having come across a photo I’d kept that I’d seen on Facebook last year.

I apologise that I can’t credit whoever posted it, as I didn’t keep a note, but I’ve been using this list and my slow cooker, and finding the best way to cook my beans and legumes, here in the UK.

Firstly, I soak everything, even the lentils, and I soak for 24 hours. Start at midday, say, and use twice the water to the dried bean. (I’m going to say bean from now on, but you know I mean legume too!) Before you go to bed, tip out the water and add fresh. The beans will already have begun to swell, so make sure they are covered in plenty of water.

This sheet tells you to cook the beans on the low setting on your slow cooker. I have a Crockpot and it doesn’t cook on the low setting. On the high setting, it works brilliantly! So far I’ve cooked chick peas, black beans (turtle beans when buying dry in UK) and brown lentils.

Without anywhere to go while we’re on lockdown, it’s been fun developing a routine of soaking and then slow cooking beans, ready for the dishes I want to cook. Check out all my plant based recipes by typing ‘plant based’ into the search bar on the home page.

Day 2 of lockdown on our little Welsh hillside, my cooker broke. My partner dismantled it. We managed with a couple of camping stoves for three days. My partner put it back together, giving us four cooking rings, but disconnecting the oven as it needed a part. It’s been over four weeks since we had an oven. Most lunchtimes we have lentil loaf https://wendysteele.com/2019/04/12/life-begins-at-fifty-healthy-life-11-hch-lentil-loaf/

We ran out of supplies of lentil loaf in the freezer in a week, so I began experimenting with burgers….I love burgers for lunch or dinner! Burgers have been my saviour without an oven. Because they freeze so well, when we come in after digging and pulling brambles on the riverbank, all I have to do is grab a bag of burgers and a box of special rice (I’ll post this recipe soon!) from the freezer and with a handful of salad leaves, a few walnuts and sunflower seeds, dinner can be assembled in minutes on the top of the stove.

Keep popping in for more recipes, health and fitness and musings from the riverbank. Stay home and stay safe xx

One response »

  1. Pingback: Plant based recipe of the week – Week 15 – Ikarian Stew | Wendy Steele

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