Cooking Dried Beans

Cooking Dried Beans

Bean There? Do This!

Our Cooking Guide For Dried Beans

by Catherine Dwelly - LifeSource Recipe Developer

Bean Science - Knowledge For Good Bean!

First Things First

Rinse and sort through beans, discarding any rocks, other foreign matter, shriveled, or split beans. Cover with about 3 cups water to 1 cup dry beans, give them a quick stir, and remove and discard any that float to the top. Allow beans to soak overnight. Drain and rinse.

There is no need to soak lentils and split peas, just sort and give them a good rinse.

To salt, or not to salt? 

A great deal of mystery surrounds the salting of dried beans. Some claim wholeheartedly that their grandmother’s great aunt’s sister in law swore that it would result in tough, partially cooked legumes. Others swear by it. I’m one of the latter. When I started this project, I was under the impression that salting beans before cooking would result in tough beans…until I actually tried it. Turns out it’s a myth! Soaking your beans in a sodium bath allows the sodium ions to exchange with the calcium ions in the pectin making up the bean’s cell walls. This destabilizes the pectin, breaks down the walls, and voila! Softer beans. So brine and season to your heart’s content!

 

Brining Dried Beans:

For each cup of rinsed and sorted dried beans, use 3 cups of water and 1 ½ Tbsp kosher salt. If using fine sea salt or table salt, reduce the amount to ¾ Tbsp. Allow to soak overnight, and rinse thoroughly before cooking.

What About Acid? 

Cooking with the addition of vinegar, acidic produce such as tomatoes or lemons, or citric acid can actually lengthen cooking time and cause unevenly cooked beans. An experiment done by Cook’s Illustrated found that a pot of black beans cooked with citric acid were still hard after 45 minutes. This is because the acid strengthens pectin coat around the dried beans, making it less able to absorb water. The takeaway? Add your acid after the beans are already cooked.

Quick Soak!

What if I forgot or am too lazy to soak my beans overnight? Quick soak to the rescue! And yes, this still involves SOME soaking, so you aren’t totally off the hook. Add your sorted and rinsed beans, water, and salt to a large heavy bottomed pot. Bring to a boil, and continue to boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and allow to soak for one hour. Drain and rinse, and continue the cooking process.

Old Beans

We all have that random bag of pinto beans crammed in the back of the pantry, just waiting for the perfect pot of taco soup. When you finally go to use them, the result is often a hard, unevenly cooked, unpalatable mess. So, what’s a thrifty chef to do? First, remember to soak your beans. Second, add a very small amount of baking soda to the cooking water! 1/8th of a teaspoon to every cup of dried beans in fact. Believe it or not, increasing the alkalinity of the cooking water can help speed up the breakdown process of the cell walls resulting in softer beans. Just take care to not add too much, or your beans will come out tasting soapy.

Cooking Technique

Cooking Beans

Place brined or quick soaked beans in a large, heavy bottomed pot. (Skip the soaking step if preparing lentils.) I use a 6 quart dutch oven for a pound of beans. Cover with about 2 inches of water. Add 3 tsp kosher salt, and baking soda, if desired. At this point you may also add aromatics such as bay leaves, dried herbs, onion, garlic, or dried chiles. Bring to a boil and partially cover the pot. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking until tender. Use the cook times on the chart as a guide, testing for doneness 15 minutes before minimum cooking time. Remember that cooking times may be longer for old beans.

Storage

Cooked beans, lentils, and split peas can be stored in their liquid or drained, it’s up to you! I’ve had good luck both ways. They may be refrigerated 3-4 days, and frozen up to six months in recipe sized packages. (2 cups of cooked beans equals one can of beans.)

Pinto Beans

Cooking Time  90 min-2 hours

Pinto Beans

Orca Beans

Cooking Time  45-60 min

Orca Beans

Cranberry - Borlotti Beans

Cooking Time  60-90 min

Cranberry - Borlotti Beans

Black Beans

Cooking Time  60-90 min

Black Beans

White Beans

Cooking Time  45-60 min

White Beans

Lima Beans

Cooking Time  60-90 min

Lima Beans

Red Beans

Cooking Time  60-90 min

Red Beans

Kidney Beans

Cooking Time  60 min-2 hours

Kidney Beans

Adzuki Beans

Cooking Time 60-90 min

Adzuki Beans

Mung Beans

Cooking Time 30 min

Mung Beans

Cooking Time 60-90 min

Black Eyed Peas

Cooking Time 45-60 min

Black Eyed Peas

Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas)

Cooking Time 60-90 min

Garbanzo Beans Chickpeas

Cooking Time 60-90 min

Cooking Time 60-90 min

Cooking Time 60-90 min

Cooking Time 60-90 min

Cooking Time 60-90 min

Cooking Time 60-90 min

Cooking Time 60-90 min

Cooking Time 45 minutes

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