Cooking beans from dry beans is the healthiest way to cook with beans. Dry beans are also the least expensive and take only a small amount of effort to make them edible. Canned beans look great, but the cans contain problem chemicals. See Concerns About Canned Foods.
Soaking the Beans
To reduce the amount of time and energy used to cook beans, put the beans in a glass jar or large glass container and fill it with water about twice the volume of the beans. Put it in the refrigerator overnight so the beans can soak up the water and begin to soften. You can also do this in the early morning and then cook the beans in the evening for dinner. In the meantime, if you notice that all the water has been absorbed, add more.
You can also just put dry beans in a pan on the stove and cook them without pre-soaking them, but it will take much longer and use much more energy than if they had soaking first
There is method that is purported to reduce the gas that results from eating beans, but we don’t know if it is an urban myth or not. We do it every time we cook beans. Here it is.
Once the beans are pre-soaked, put them a large saucepan and cover them with cold water just over the top of the beans. Turn on the burner to high heat and cover the pan. Keep an eye on the beans, and just as soon as the water begins to boil, dump out the water and beans into a colander.
Put the beans back into the pan, add more cold water to a level that is 2-3 inches over the beans and bring them back to a boil.
Cooking the Beans
Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer the beans for 45 minutes. Taste a bean. If too firm, cook them for 15 additional minutes. Taste another bean and repeat until they are soft. You do not want them falling apart, so drain them in a colander as soon as they are done to cool them. They’re ready to use.