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Making Beans in a Slow Cooker

This can be done over the course of 4-5 days.

According to CSA member, Kimberly Jenkins, slow cooker is best method for cooking beans.

“I generally mix 3 or 4 types of beans in one pot for variety of nutrients and flavors. I mainly use black beans and great northerns as my base and then add adzuki & mung beans. Recently though I added lentils instead because we got them in the share and wanted to try them out. Worked really well and I am quite pleased with the results, best pot of beans I've ever made!!!

If it is more than 1.5 lbs slow cooking will take 4 or 5 days. However, a large pot of beans will last a week or more if you make enough and properly store the finished product.

Follow general bean rinsing/soaking preparation.

Set slow cooker to low setting. If it is temp. based, pick 150 degrees. Leave them there all day and stir when you get home. At this time you will add powdered garlic and ginger (ginger is a digestive). Stir them into beans and leave on low.

4 or 5 hours later you can chop any fresh garlic, onions, shallots or mushrooms you would like to add. Sauté in your choice of oil, add to beans. Stir in and increase your heat setting by 1 (example: med, 3, or 200 degrees).

Leave them to cook over night, stir before bed and again in the morning, at this point you should begin to monitor your water level because of the higher temp. If needed in the morning, add about 8 oz. water for a small pot and 16 oz. for a large pot. You may also add less water and revert to original heat setting if you desire a thicker pot of beans. Leave all day and stir when you get home.

Now you may chop any root vegetables and peppers of your choice and stir into beans. Don't add potatoes, as this doesn't work well with beans. My philosophy is the more the merrier; each element adds its own flavor and texture and adds nutrients to the pot. Once added, stir occasionally and leave to cook overnight.

In the morning stir again and add any water you deem necessary, not too much though because you are nearing the end of your cooking cycle. The beans at this point have absorbed as much as they can and the veggies have released all their water.

At this point you may add whatever herbs you would like and any extra garlic or ginger powder, taste your broth to gauge your flavor preference. You may also add any softer veggies you might like at this stage. For example, I like to add fresh green beans for crunch; they hold their structure well and don't turn to mush. Stir them in and leave to cook all day.

When you arrive home that evening you may add as much salt and pepper, as you desire, again using your broth as a guideline. Stir them in and leave for about an hour for their flavor to cook into stew.

Good News!! Your beans are ready to eat at the end of that hour. Beans are not a complete protein by themselves so you will also need to serve a grain. I use this last hour to prepare my grain. Brown rice works really well. Kasha is also a favorite choice of mine because of its hearty, nutty flavor. Quinoa or millet would work also.

You can also add toppings to your bowl for a little something extra! I like yogurt, sour cream, tofutti, scallions, avocado, diced tomato, shredded cheese, etc.

I know this seems like a long process but it isn't much work and the reward is immeasurable when you taste your first bite of beans. All the love and care you put into your food comes back to you and your family ten-fold. When you invest your time and loving energy into the food you prepare, you are then feeding that love back to yourself and your loved ones every time. This makes your food even more nourishing and your family more healthy!!

Happy cooking to all! And throw away your microwave, I can't imagine a more disconnected and toxic way to prepare your food than to subject it to harmful radiation which restructures it at a cellular level and destroys all the nutrient value in your food!”