Soak Your Beans
Pick through the beans, discarding any discolored or shriveled beans or any foreign matter. Rinse well. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, cover 2 cups of dried beans with 6 cups water. Cover and refrigerate 6-8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse the beans.
Prepare Your Beans
Return the soaked, rinsed beans to the medium-sized heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cover the beans with 3 times their volume of water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender. The time will depend on the type of bean, but start checking if beans are cooking through after about 45-60 minutes. DO NOT boil the beans, as this will result in breaking the skins and destroying the beans’ texture. Add more water as the beans cook if the water does not cover them. Most beans will cook in about 1 to 1½ hours.
When the beans are tender, drain and use in recipes like fajitas or quesadillas, or just serve with rice. If you are not going to use the beans immediately, immerse them in cold water until they are cool, then drain well and freeze in 1- to 2-cup packages. One pound of dried beans will yield about 5 or 6 cups cooked beans.