Cooked beans can easily be placed into pre-portioned freezer bags for easy storage. Be sure to date the plastic bags with a permanent marker and consume within six months.
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Remove your frozen bags from the freezer and place directly in a saucepan with warm water. You can also run the bag under warm water in the sink. Toss some of the frozen beans into soups and stews, as they will immediately defrost due to the dish's high temperatures.
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Dried beans come in all different colors, shapes, and sizes, though their storage methods stay consistent across the board. Beans should be transferred to a food-safe container with a sealing lid. If beans are left in their original packaging, they'll dry out faster. Place the container in a cool, dry place that is away from any sunlight. You'll want to cook them within a year for ultimate freshness, though some beans have known to last for years.
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Bacon is most commonly cooked on the stovetop or in the oven. If you’re opting for the former, start with a cold pan with the bacon strips touching, but not overlapping. Set the burner on low and allow the bacon to slowly release its fat. As it begins to cook, use tongs to flip the strips and fry them on their opposite sides. Continue to flip and turn until the bacon is browned evenly. Let the cooked bacon drain by carefully placing them on paper towels or a newspaper.
To cook bacon in the oven, simply line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange the bacon strips on its surface. If your baking sheet does not have grooved edges, be sure to fold the aluminum corners upwards to catch excess grease. Bake at 400°F for ten to 20 minutes (depending on your texture preference), remove, and place bacon strips on paper towels or a newspaper. The bacon will crisp as it cools.
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Pre-packaged bacon has an impressive shelf life, but not once it’s opened. While it’s best to freeze uncooked bacon, the slices can be tightly wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in a ziploc bag for up to a week. The same storage technique should also be applied to fresh bacon purchased directly from the butcher.
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Next: How to Freeze Bacon
Bacon actually holds up quite well in the freezer, though its peak flavor quality will only last one to two months. To freeze, you may keep the bacon in its original packaging, but wrap around it with another layer of aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or freezer paper. Just be sure to keep your freezer at a consistent zero degrees for optimal freezing results.
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Next: How to Freeze Beans
Baked beans are comforting, satisfying, and a great side to grilled or barbecued meats. While they’re usually baked in the oven, it’s even easier to throw everything in the slow cooker instead. Smoky bacon, navy beans, onion, and a few sweet ingredients like molasses, ketchup, and brown sugar are stirred together and slow-cooked until the beans are tender and the sauce thickens. The beans taste better the longer they sit, so make them a day or two ahead or freeze for later.
What to buy: There are various intensities of molasses available, from light to blackstrap. Dark (sometimes marketed as robust) tastes best in this recipe. Molasses can be found in the baking aisle at grocery stores.
Game plan: The beans can be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw in the refrigerator before reheating over low heat. Be sure to soak the beans the night before you plan on making the recipe.
We tested this dish cooking the beans for 6 hours on both high and low settings, with excellent results for both. While you’re waiting for the beans to cook, learn How to Cook Zucchini with our easy recipe.
To add some veggies to your crock pot routine, try our easy crock pot collard greens.