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When it comes to how to cook dried beans there are two schools of thought: those who advocate soaking overnight and those who don't. Below we’ll explain how both methods work and which one we prefer.
In this method you’ll soak the beans in water overnight or for at least 6 hours. Put one pound of beans in a large bowl and cover with 6-8 cups of water. Set the bowl on a countertop or a safe spot in the kitchen before going to bed. The next morning just drain, rinse and cook as desired.
As the name implies, this method is shorter than the traditional overnight soak. Typically, you put a pound of beans in a large pot and cover with hot water. The water is brought to the boil for just two minutes then the heat is turned off. You cover the pot and let it stand for one hour. Drain and rinse. Now the beans are ready to cook in manner you desire.
WHICH BEAN SOAKING METHOD IS BEST?
Both the traditional and quick-soak methods yield more tender beans that cook up faster than unsoaked beans. However, we prefer the former and here’s why: although it takes a little bit more planning, soaking beans overnight helps break down the compounds in the beans that cause flatulence.
The longer you soak the beans, the more gas-producing compounds break down, according to the Bean Institute.
So if you want to avoid gas, or minimize it, commit to soaking beans overnight. The institute recommends a Hot Soak Method which is much like the traditional overnight soak but with a twist: put the beans and water in a pot, bring the water to a boil then turn off the heat, allow the beans to soak overnight.
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR HOW TO COOK DRIED BEANS
Now that you’ve chosen your preferred soaking method all that’s left is the actual cooking of the beans. Most dried beans cooked in simmering water will soften in about hour or an hour and a half. Of course, this depends on many factors including altitude, bean variety, water hardness and the age of the beans, according to the US Dry Beans Council.
Here are some tips and tricks you'll find helpful:
ALWAYS CLEAN DRIED BEANS
Inspect beans for debris and discard any small stones or broken beans. Thoroughly rinse beans before soaking.
HOLD OFF ON THE SALT
Don’t salt beans until they are softened, if not the beans will harden. The same holds true for acidic ingredients like lemon juice, vinegar, ketchup and wine.
AVOID BEAN SCUM
Ever notice scum rising to the top of the pot? It’s not dirt - it’s the protein of the beans coagulating. Adding a bit of oil to the pot of beans will prevent the water from foaming.
Cook with Seaweed
Add a sheet of nori or kombu to your beans as they cook. It may sound weird to thrown some seaweed in the pot but this will help with the pre-digestion of the beans and reduce gas, according to the Weston A. Price organization.