Tutorial: How To Soak And Cook Dried Beans
I had a jar of dried beans on hand for a Multi-Bean Soup, so I decided to soak some of the beans and cook them up. I will use some of them to make Chili and freeze the rest for soup.
In most cases, cooking Dried Beans is a two-step process. First you soak the beans and then cook them. You can cook beans without soaking, but it takes longer and many people think beans have a nicer texture and taste better after soaking.
Preparing the beans:
- Place dried beans in a colander. Pick through them and discard discoloured, broken, shrivelled beans and any stones, stems or other debris you may find.
- Rinse well.
Soaking the beans:
Lentils, split peas and black-eyed peas do not need to soak before cooking. They only take about 30 minutes to cook without soaking.
- Traditional Slow Soak: soak beans in three times their volume of cold water. As a general rule, the larger the bean, the longer they need to soak: and the longer you soak beans, the faster they cook but don’t soak them too long, or they may ferment. Cover tightly and refrigerate 6-8 hours or overnight.
- Hot Soak, also known as the Gas-Free Soak: put the beans in three times their volume of cold water, bring them to a gentle boil, remove saucepan from the heat, cover and allow to sit covered at room temperature for about 1-2 hours. Refrigerate cooled beans in soaking water for 6-8 hours or overnight.
The good news, after soaking for 6-8 hours, 75 to 90 percent of the indigestible sugars (gas-producing starches) will have dissolved into the soaking water. Drain and rinse soaked beans thoroughly before cooking. Rinsing beans after soaking and draining any water after cooking will help to reduce the gas-producing starches. Always discard the water in which beans have soaked.
Cooking the beans:
- After soaking, draining and rinsing beans, cover with fresh water in a heavy metal cooking pot or saucepan.
- NOTE: Do not add salt or acidic ingredients, like vinegar, tomatoes or tomato juice, as it slows the cooking process. Instead, add these ingredients after the beans have cooked.
- Bring beans to a boil, and then lower the heat and simmer for 45 to 90 minutes, or until the beans are tender. Cooking times will depend on the type of bean. Start checking after 45 minutes. If the level of the water gets low, add more.
- NOTE: When cooking beans, always simmer. A rolling boil can cause a messy boil over, as well as cause the beans to break apart and skins to separate.
- Beans are cooked when they are easily mashed between two fingers or with a fork. Do not over cook, or beans will become mushy and separate from skins.
Beans taste best when cooked a day ahead. Cover and refrigerate drained beans after cooking, or freeze in 1 to 2 cup portions.
Dried Bean Guide:
Use this guide to decide how many dried beans you need. As a general rule, dried beans will increase their volume by three times.
- 1/3 cup dry beans = 1 cup cooked beans
- 1 cup dry beans = 3 cups cooked beans
- 2 cups (1 pound) dry beans = 6 cups cooked beans
Cooking times vary depending on the type of bean. Start checking after 30 minutes for smaller beans, and 45 minutes for larger beans. Beans are cooked when they are easily mashed between two fingers or with a fork.
- Lima Beans, Large – soaked = 45 to 60 minutes
- Black Beans – soaked = 60 to 90 minutes
- Garbanzo Beans (Chick Peas) – soaked = 60 to 90 minutes
- Navy Beans or Small Whites – soaked = 60 to 90 minutes
- Pinto Beans – soaked = 60 to 90 minutes
- Red Kidney Beans – soaked = 60 to 90 minutes
- Black-Eyed Peas – NOT soaked = 60 to 90 minutes
- Lentils – NOT soaked = 30 to 45 minutes
- Split Peas, Green – NOT soaked = 30 to 45 minutes
There you have it. Soaking and cooking dried beans does take some planning ahead, but it is not something that’s labour intensive. More or less set it and forget it. I’m sure you’ll be happy with the end results.
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