Beans, beans good for your heart,the more you eat, the more you... well you get the idea LOL! Beans are little powerhouses of nutritional goodness, all wrapped up in a convenient package.
Although you can obviously buy beans in tins at the stores, I prefer to buy them dried in bulk and cook them myself. That way, you're not having to deal with any salt, sugar, preservatives or any other added nasties that might be lurking, and it's also much cheaper which can't be a bad thing! Stored in airtight canisters they can last for ages, although the longer you have them the longer they will take to cook as they will be drier.
To use dried beans, firstly pick through and discard any bits of grit, dust and pieces of broken beans. Usually I then soak the beans overnight, replace the water out the next morning, then bring to a boil and simmer until the beans are soft. (adding more water if necessary). How long they take depends on the size of the bean you are using - chickpeas which are larger will take a few hours, while split peas and lentils will next next to no time. If you want to add salt to the cooking pot, wait until the beans are tender or it will harden the outside of the bean and prevent them from softening.
Half a pound of dry beans, when cooked, will yield just over 1 lb and will keep for a few days in the fridge, or they can be stored in freezer bags and frozen.