Dried beans are much cheaper than canned – I figure I get about 4 cans’ worth of beans out of 1 pound of dried beans… at the same price as 1 can of beans! What do you do with 4 cans’ worth of beans that aren’t in cans? Pop them in Ziploc bags in 1 ½ cup portions (about what you’d get out of a can after draining the liquid) and freeze. They thaw nicely in the microwave whenever you need them.
For someone who works full-time (or just has better things to do at home than cook beans), however, soaking beans for hours or overnight and then boiling for at least an hour hardly seems worth it. But if you have a crock pot, all you have to do is rinse, toss beans and water in the pot, and turn it on high. I don’t use my crock pot much – mostly because the one Mom gave me a couple of years ago for Christmas is much, much too big for a single girl (6 quarts – do you think that’s a hint??) – but perfect for dried beans.
A pound of black beans plus 6 cups of water is done after 3 hours on high in the crock pot. And I’m free to wander off and blog and surf the internet do laundry, clean house, and run errands while they cook!