Why did my beans take so long?

I made a big batch of black beans in the crockpot today, it it took waaay longer than it should have- 4 hours on low, and they weren’t softening at all, so I turned the pot up to high and it still took another 9 hours for the beans to become nice and tender. Googling the problem gave me several likely reasons why this could be the case, all of which are addressed below.

  • I soaked the beans overnight (about 18 hours, actually), drained the water, added fresh and dumped it all into the crockpot.
  • I did not add salt, or acid, or anything other than beans and water.
  • I do not live in a high altitude.
  • The beans were new- purchased last week, in a store and geographical area in which dried beans have a pretty high turnover rate, so I doubt they’d been sitting at the store for months or years.
  • Bean brand is La Preferida, and the crock pot is actual Crock Pot brand, 5 qt if it makes any difference.

I’ve never done black beans in the crock pot before, only pintos, but stove top methods for the two beans are pretty much identical, so why wouldn’t slow cooker methods be analogous? Why did my black beans for lunch not become edible until bedtime snack-time?

Your crock pot doesn’t get hot enough. Common problem, and I’ve had it with several machines over the years. Do them on the stove or get a new crock pot.

Try bringing them to a boil on the stove, then let them sit in the hot water, covered, for about an hour. Drain. Then put them in the crockpot with whatever else you’re putting in there. It has the added benefit of not having to soak them overnight.

A nice side effect of that approach is that much of the indigestible sugar (gas producing) gets discarded with the water.

A pressure cooker is a great investment. In mine, it takes about 40 minutes, to go from the bag to ready-to eat.

Reminds me of when I was 17 and went into the BWCA (Boundary Waters Canoe Area - a wilderness area in Northern Minnesota on the border with Canada) with a guy from CA and his 14 year old son.

Guy planned a meal of black beans. That’s it. Just black beans. We get to the site, the black flies were horrid, we try to cook the beans and… just not happening.

Asshole didn’t have a backup plan. We went to sleep that night without dinner (on a wilderness canoe trip, that was pretty rough to go without eating at the end of a long day!) and had them for breakfast in the morning.

You most likely had old beans. I can cook black beans in under three hours without soaking them first. Old beans or improperly stored beans take much, much longer to cook or sometimes don’t ever soften. Just because there is a good turn over at the store doesn’t mean there was at the warehouse or even before the beans made it to the processing plant.