Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How Do I Use it? Beans Part III: Cooking

Beans are a relatively common food, however many of us use the already prepared canned variety. Here is how to work with beans from a dried state.
  • Sort and Rinse- Spread beans out on a clean towel or pan. Remove any shriveled beans and/or pebbles. Rinse them in cold water.
  • Soak- Almost all dried beans must be soaked. This is vital for them to be digested properly. To soak simply put the beans in a pot and fill with enough water to be about 3 inches above the beans. This is about 4-5 cups of water per cup of beans. In really warm weather, it may be wise to soak in the fridge to avoid fermentation.
  • Short Soak/Boil method- Boil beans in water for 3 minutes (preferably a heavy bottom pot). Cover and set aside for 2-4 hours (longer does not hurt). Drain and discard water. Rinse beans and proceed to cooking.
  • Long Soak Method- Soak beans for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and discard water. Rinse beans and proceed to cooking.
  • Cooking- Using new water (not what you soaked it in), cook beans in a large, covered pot. Use 3-4 cups of water for each cup dried beans, which would be water about 1 inch above the top of the beans in the pot. Cooking time varies depending on the bean, but generally 1-2 hours.
  • Seasoning- Do not add salt or other seasonings until the beans have been cooked. You can season 30-45 minutes before the beans will be done. The sky is really the limit on how to season the beans, and how you are going to use them.
Average Cooking Times
  • Black Turtle- 1 1/2 hrs
  • Black-eyed Peas- 1-1 1/4 hrs
  • Garbanzo- aka chickpeas- 3 hrs
  • Great Northern- 2 hrs
  • Green Split Peas- 1 1/4 hrs
  • Lima Bean- 1 1/2 hrs
  • Navy Bean- 2 1/2 hrs
  • Pinto- 2 1/2
  • Red Kidney- 1 1/2
  • Soy Beans- 3 hrs
*Some beans can be cooked in a pressure cooker to reduce cooking time.
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