A bean pot is a variation on the crock pot or slow cooker, but it is not electric. It is usually a ceramic pot intended for slow cooking, and is particularly suited for bean cookery. Bean pots are really nothing new. In fact, colonial women would bring crockery pots of beans to the local baker’s to be baked slowly in his oven. You can cook beans by this old-fashioned, money-saving method using a modern bean pot.
How Does It Work?
Using a bean pot is very simple. For beans for dinner on Friday night, begin on Thursday evening by putting dried beans into your pot and covering them with water, at least 2 inches above the beans. In the morning, pour off this soaking water, cover the beans with fresh water (again about 2 inches above the beans), and add any flavorings you like (onion, garlic, herbs, ham hock, etc.)
Don’t add salt or anything acidic – these ingredients will prevent the beans from becoming tender. Cover the bean pot and place it in a cold oven, turn the oven to 300 degrees, and leave the beans all day. The design of the pot prevents burning, but you may need to add more water. Check on the beans periodically to be sure they are not drying out.
Another option is to bring the soaked, flavored beans to a boil on the stovetop, then pour the hot mixture into the bean pot, cover, and place in a preheated oven.
You can cook canned beans in your bean pot, too – more on that below.
What Are the Advantages of Using a Bean Pot?
- Beans are very healthy, full of fiber and nutrients such as protein, folate, and magnesium. Having a bean pot will encourage and enable you to prepare more of this healthful food.
- Dried beans are much cheaper than canned beans.
- Dried beans are generally healthier than canned beans. Canned beans often contain large amounts of sodium, and consumers are concerned about chemicals in canned foods, particularly BPA. BPA is a synthetic estrogen that can disrupt hormonal balance, and is often used in the lining of food cans. BPA has even been implicated in contributing to obesity. As noted above, you can cook canned beans in your bean pot, and if you prefer to do this, consider BPA-free canned beans such as those made by Eden Foods. There are also low-sodium canned beans available.
- Slow-cooking beans at a low temperature makes them more digestible, breaking down the starches and sugars thoroughly.
Bean pots are an old idea that is quite applicable to today. Beans are inexpensive, readily available, and versatile. A bean pot can help you to take advantage of this little nutritional treasure.