A bag of bean tricks to help you buy, soak, cook & store dry beans.
Canned beans do not require additional cooking since they have been thoroughly cooked in the canning process, but there are several ways of preparing dry beans for cooking. All start with a thorough inspection for damaged beans and foreign material, then washing in cold water. The next step, which is highly recommended, is soaking the beans. This not only helps make the beans cook faster, it also improves flavor, texture, appearance and digestibility. For maximum improvement of these factors, it is recommended that the soak water be discarded and the beans rinsed and cooked in fresh water.
Soaking Tips: Hot-soak (preferred) and Quick-soak method.
For every pound of dry beans, any variety, add 10 cups of hot water. Remember beans will rehydrated to at least twice theri dry size, so be sure to start with a large enough pot. (Note: up to 2 teaspoons of salt per pound of beans *may* be added to help the beans absorb water more evenly.) Heat to boiling, let boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and set aside for at least 1 hour (quick-soak method), but *preferably* four hours or more. The longer soaking time is recommended to allow a greater amount of the gas-causing properties to dissolve in the water, thus helping the beans to be more easily digested and lessening the aftereffects. Whether you soak the beans for an hour or several hours, remember to Discard The Soak Water.
Cooking Tips: (for each pound of dry beans)
Standard method: Drain and rinse soaked beans; put into a good- sized kettle. Add 6 cup of hot water, 1 to 2 Tablespoons shortening and 2 teaspoons salt. Boil gently with lid tilted until desired tenderness is reached.
Savory Method: Use standard method (above), but use 2 teaspoons onion salt and 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt instead of plain salt. Add 1 Tablespoon chicken stock base or 3 to 4 bouillon cubes and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper.
* Simmer beans slowly. Cooking too fast can break skins.
* Acid slows down cooking. Add tomatoes, vinegar, etc. Last.
* Add 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (no more) per pound of beans when cooking in hard water to shorten cooking time.
* At high altitudes, beans take longer to cook. A pressure cooker helps, but follow manufacturer's directions. [Personal note: Tom says 1/2 hour in the pressure cooker at 15 lbs pressure is equivalent to cooking them overnight. Don't put too many beans in the pressure cooker, as they expand: you don't want to plug up the vent hole.)
* Refried beans are made from freshly cooked pinto, pink, red or kidney beans, mashed and cooked in a skillet with bacon drippings, lard, oil, butter or margarine.
[ California Dry Bean Advisory Board ] Posted by Shelley Rodgers. Courtesy of Fred Peters.