While canned beans are all well and good, once you try freshly cooked it’ll be difficult to go back to canned. Freshly cooked beans are full of flavor—not chemicals. As many cans contain Bisphenol A (BPA), it’s hard to know which beans are free of this endocrine disruptor (unless you purchase brands with cans marked non-BPA, which are few and far between).

Beans are a healthy source of protein, antioxidants, fiber and B vitamins, yet many of us shy away from cooking dried beans. Why? Who has time to plan ahead these days! Soaking is often the preferred prep method and should be done at least 12 hours ahead of cooking time.

Here’s a handy shortcut

Place 1 pound of dried beans in an oven-safe pot with a lid (such as a Dutch oven) and cover them with water until the water level rises 1-inch above the beans. Bring to a boil on a stovetop and continue boiling, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Then transfer the pot with the beans to an oven preheated to 325˚ F. Cover the pot and cook for 75 minutes. Test one of the beans for tenderness. If not yet cooked to your liking, continue cooking at 15-minute increments until done.

*Note: While soaking is not necessary with this method, you can opt for a quick soak to yield an even tenderer bean. Simply cover dry beans with water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow the beans to soak for an hour. Drain the water and then proceed with boiling and cooking the quick-soaked beans as per the instructions above.

Photograph by Warren Price Photography