There’s an easy shortcut for almost all the recipes in this chapter: canned beans. If you’re pinched for time, you can buy a few cans of black beans, drain and rinse them well, and use them in all of the dishes that follow in this chapter. How’s that for flexible?
But the real magic of this chapter comes when you start using dry beans. Economically, it’s a no-brainer. One pound of dry beans (about $1) will cook over two pounds of finished beans, or about four cans. The cheapest I’ve been able to find canned black beans recently is 75 cents a pop, so you’re looking at a decent savings every time you use dried beans.
Of course, the main reason I like to cook beans from scratch is so I can customize them. While they are cooking, you can toss in all kinds of peppers and other ingredients to give them some really nice flavor that you’ll never get out of a canned variety.
Once they are cooked, they’ll store fine in the fridge for five to seven days. You can also freeze beans after you soak them but before you finish cooking them.
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