We’re not here to tell you to never use canned beans again, but we do believe that expertly cooked dried beans are unequivocally better. Dried beans have tender skins, interesting textures, and complex flavors. They soak up liquid as they cook– which means any aromatics, herbs and spices you add will infuse your beans. You also get the bonus of a pot full of magical bean broth.
The fresher the beans, the more quickly and evenly they will cook and the better they will taste. Old beans that have been sitting around (> 2 years) need some extra attention.
In this case, we recommend an overnight soak or brine. Cooking authorities like Cook’s Illustrated and J. Kenji López-Alt are advocates of the brining method. To try, soak beans in salted water (2 tbsp coarse kosher salt per 3 quarts of water). The beans will look very wrinkly at first– this is normal. Before using, drain and rinse the beans. While little salt is absorbed during the process, decrease the amount of salt you use to cook by one-third. Expect to reduce the cooking time by 25% or more.
Swapping out dried beans for canned in a recipe? Yay! One pound of beans will give you ~7 cups of cooked beans, or ~4 15-ounce cans.
The Primary Beans Way #1: Electric pressure cookers (ehem the Instant Pot), may have been one of the best things to happen to dried beans. They bring the cooking time down by about one-third compared to the stovetop. Beans are typically tender in 25-45 minutes (and no pre-soaking). Plus, the sauté mode is particularly handy– you can sauté aromatics in the same pot beforehand, and finish your beans with a simmer to thicken the broth.
This button defaults to a high pressure for 30 minutes. Feel free to use it if your target cooking time is 30 minutes. Otherwise, adjust the time manually.
If your beans are a little undercooked, no problem. There are many factors that influence cooking times like bean size, bean age, water hardness, and other ingredients added. Here’s how to troubleshoot:
- If beans are slightly firm in the center, but mostly tender: Simmer on low until completely cooked through, usually 10-15 minutes. Watch the liquid levels to make sure beans are submerged.
- If beans have significant hard spots and are partially tender: Bring your device back to high pressure and cook for another 5 minutes. Then, manually release the pressure (aka rapid release).
Pressure cookers have two methods for releasing their pressure: natural and rapid. Natural release means that the device releases its pressure naturally over time. Food continues to cook during this process, which is well suited for beans. Rapid release is when you manually open the pressure valve and quickly release the pressure. This method is good when you're pressed for time, or when you don't want the contents to cook any longer.
There’s no hard rule on the best way to flavor your beans. Quantity wise, for 1 pound of beans figure:
- 1-3 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
- 2-3 herb sprigs
- 1-3 sage leaves
- 1-2 bay leaves
- ½ to 1 fresh chile, halved lengthwise
- 1-2 dried chiles, left whole
- ½-1 carrot, chopped into a few pieces
- ½ celery stalk
- ½-1 onion or shallot, peeled and halved lenthwise (the root end holds everything together)
- Pinch of spices or dried herbs
We love the Instant Pot first and foremost for its pressure cooking capabilities. If you want to try the slow cook function, just keep in mind that not as much liquid escapes compared to a traditional slow cooker. You can try thickening up the liquid by following with a simmer (lid off).
The Primary Beans Way #2: We say don’t bother– soaking requires unnecessary pre-planning and only marginally reduces cooking time. According to our own research, an 8-hour pre-soak only reduces cooking time by about one-third. Plus, we have found that soaking doesn’t make a difference in digestibility and the soaking water contains valuable flavor, nutrients, and color. Mexican cooks skip the pre-soak. We trust them :)
Acidic ingredients, like tomatoes, vinegar, citrus juice or wine, can toughen beans and make for loooong cooking times. Add these ingredients once your beans are tender. Tomatoes are not too acidic and a 14-½ oz can shouldn’t make much of a difference, but do play at your own risk.
The Primary Beans Way #3: If you don’t salt early you risk ending up with salty broth and under-seasoned beans. Adding salt at the beginning of cooking allows the salt to pass through the beans' skins and bring out their flavor. Conventional wisdom dictating that salt draws moisture from and hardens beans is simply not true.
Bacon, pancetta, and other fatty meats contain flavorful fat that is just begging to be paired with beans. We like to keep slices/pieces whole, and use the same pot we'll eventually cook the beans in. To render, lay the meat in an even layer and cook over very low heat for 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally. A low and slow render will give you lots of fat to work with and lean, crispy pieces of meat. Set the meat aside (on paper towels). If you have any left after snacking, we suggest chopping it up and folding it into your beans upon serving.
First thing's first: a bouquet garni is nothing more than a cute little bundle of herbs tied up with kitchen string, used to infuse stocks, sauces, and of course, beans. The standard bundle consists of parsley, thyme, and bay leaf, but lots of variations exist– including the addition of rosemary, chervil, tarragon, or fennel fronds. Quantity wise, try 3 sprigs or so of each herb, and 1-2 bay leaves.
Absolutely! Simply chop up the vegetables and sauté them in the fat you are using to give them a chance to start releasing and building flavors. Just know that certain vegetables will virtually disintegrate with long cook times (and pressure cooking), so the onions you chopped up might not be there when the beans are tender.
We include harvest information (e.g., Fall 2020) so you can keep track and keep those beans rotating! Beans are harvested once a year during different months depending on the growing region and that particular season’s climatic conditions. In traditional, commodity supply chains, beans from different sources are mixed together, packed, stored and shipped to brokers, wholesalers, and retailers. The origin is lost and so is the timing of harvest– beans on supermarket shelves can be years old :( We choose to do things differently!
Our farms and facilities do not grow, store, or process nuts, dairy, eggs, soy, gluten or peanuts, so there is very little risk of cross-contamination. However, if you have a severe sensitivity, please use caution– none of our beans are certified by a third-party as being free from these allergens.
Okay, okay we all know that beans can occasionally have an unwelcome side effect. We think this blip is worth the trade-off for one of the most delicious, satisfying and health-supporting foods out there.
Here’s what’s going on: Beans contain certain fibers that play an important role in our digestive system. Oligosaccharides in particular can be difficult to digest. Once they reach the colon they can cause...er, a little trouble.
The good news is that your body can get used to your bean-forward lifestyle– if you’ve experienced issues, you may not have been used to the influx of fiber. We’ve also found that undercooked beans create extra work for the digestive system. For the best outcome, eat beans regularly and make sure they are fully cooked :)
Like most pantry items, beans are sensitive to temperature, oxygen and light. Always store your beans in an air-tight container at room temperature (50-70 degrees), and out of direct sunlight.
If properly stored, beans can last up to 2 years from harvest, without too much of a difference in cooking time or flavor. After 2 years, beans lose enough moisture to affect the way they cook– not as quickly or evenly. Plus, they can experience some flavor loss. After 2 years, beans are still perfectly safe to eat, just know that they may not provide the exact experience we intended. For more information on how to cook beans that are >2 years old, visit our cooking guide.
The simple answer is yes, our bags are made with 100% recyclable materials. However, soft plastics (aka flexible packaging) are difficult for material recovery facilities to handle without the proper set up, so please check with your local department of public works or recycling program before adding them to your recycle bin.
As a side note, we’ve also looked into the very limited compostable options, but found that these materials require special processing as well, and the majority of composting facilities do not have the ability to accept them.
We pledge to continue to research this important issue. For now, we figured the best thing we could do is offer a sturdy, high-quality bag that you can reseal, reuse and (if possible) recycle.
Orders and Shipping
We charge $6 flat rate shipping for any number of items up to $70 total. After $70 shipping is free.
If, by chance, you received the incorrect product or a damaged product, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll gladly replace it ASAP. Otherwise, because our products are food items, we do not accept returns or exchanges.
We currently ship within the contiguous US. If you’re wondering about placing an order to other locations, including outside of the US, please email us at email@example.com and we'll explore the options with you.
Orders are processed Monday through Friday (excluding holidays). Orders received by 12:00 pm CST typically ship the same busines day. Once we’ve shipped your beans, you’ll receive an email with tracking information.
If you need to make any changes to your order please email us as soon as you can at firstname.lastname@example.org, referencing your order confirmation number. We will do our best to make order changes while the order is still processing. Once it ships out, we can no longer adjust order items or re-route shipments.
Please double check your shipping address before placing your order. Once shipped, we are not responsible for lost packages due to an incorrect address entered. You can try contacting the carrier directly to intercept the package.
We’d be happy to help you plan a bulk bean order! Please email us at email@example.com to elaborate on your bean needs and we’ll get back to you ASAP.
We’re sorry– mistakes do happen! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your order number and a photo for reference (if relevant) and we will make it right.
Of course! Feel free to enter a note in the area provided in your cart and it will be printed on the packing slip. We do not include price information on the packing slip.