Navy beans, also known as pea beans, are one legume that even infrequent bean eaters have experience with. They're the traditional bean used in baked beans and in the classic French dish cassoulet. Navy beans are not only an inexpensive source of protein, they are also rich in essential vitamins and minerals, including riboflavin, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and choline. Navy beans are even healthier when you cook or prepare the dried beans at home because canned beans contain a high amount of sodium that home-cooked navy beans lack.
Place 1 pound of navy beans in a colander and rinse under cold running water, discarding any debris, stones and discolored or broken beans.
Place the beans in the stockpot and cover with 5 cups of cold water. Put the pot's lid in place and allow the beans to soak 12 hours or overnight.
Drain the beans. Return them to the pot and add 4 quarts of cold water. Add 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt.
Bring the water to a boil. Skim off any dark-colored scum or foam that accumulates on the top of the water with a large spoon. Cover the pot loosely with the lid and turn the heat to low so that the beans are at a gentle simmer.
Cook until the beans are tender, from one to two hours. Stir occasionally during the cooking time to prevent the beans from sticking to the pot's bottom. Drain the beans. Use them immediately, or store them in their cooking liquid for up to three days in the refrigerator or up to three months in the freezer.