Preparing Great Northern Beans for the Slow Cooker

Presoaking beans removes the enzymes that make them difficult for some people to digest. Some claim that this method of soaking the beans is more effective at removing those enzymes than the quick-soaking method. The biggest advantage, however, is that the overnight soaking method results in beans that cook more evenly.

INGREDIENTS | YIELD varies according to the recipe

  • Great northern beans
  • Water
  1. Rinse and drain the amount of beans called for in the recipe and then add them to a bowl or saucepan. Add enough water to cover the beans by 2 inches. Cover and let soak overnight or for 8 hours.

  2. Drain the beans, then rinse and drain again. Add them to the slow cooker according to the recipe instructions unless the slow cooker recipe calls for tomatoes or sugar. Do not add salt to the slow cooker until the beans are cooked through either.

  3. If the recipe calls for tomatoes or sugar, speed up the slow-cooking process by cooking the beans together with enough water to cover the beans by 2 inches in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce the heat and simmer the beans for 40 minutes to an hour or until they just begin to become tender. Drain, reserving the amount of cooking liquid to equal the amount of water called for in the slow cooker recipe, and add to the slow cooker. Continue to cook according to recipe instructions.

Cooking Beans Isn't an Exact Science

The amount of time it will take to cook (or slow-cook) beans depends on the size and variety of beans used and, due to the age of the beans and other factors, can even vary from bag to bag of the same variety of beans.

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