Quickie Bean Cooking Tips

Bountiful Beans!
A lot of the bases for these dips are beans and while they do take a bit of time to make, they are so worth the effort. They can be made in huge batches and frozen in pre-portioned containers (like freezer bags or containers) for easy cooking.

I usually cook dried beans twice a week to have on hand and trust me they get eaten up really quick! Not only are beans a great source of protein, they are a source complex carbohydrates, have loads of fiber, and are a great source of iron. They are also really cheap, which makes them a great value for all the nutrition you get!

Soaking Beans:
There is no need to soak lentils, black-eyed peas or split peas before cooking but it is a good idea to soak the other beans before cooking.

Dried beans can be soaked to re-hydrate the beans and shorten the cooking time and make them easier to digest. What I usually do is the night before or morning of the day I want to cook beans, I place beans in a large bowl and add triple the amount of cold water to cover them. Then I let them sit at room temperature for about 8 hours to really plump up and absorb most of the water.

If you don't have time to soak the beans, you could always cook them in a pressure cooker for about 20 minutes (from the time the pot start making a whistling chugging sound), use the quick soak method, or just boil in water that covers the beans by about 2 - 3 inches. When cooking soaked beans, boil them in water that is covering them by about 1 inch.

Quick Soak Method:
Place dried beans in a large pot with about 3 inches of cold water and allow to come to a simmer uncovered.  Let simmer for about two minutes and set the pot off the burner and cover for an hour. Drain and cook as you would any soaked beans.

Cooking Beans:
Place hydrated beans in a large pot with cold water that will cover it by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to low and let them simmer covered until they are soft. But be careful! They sometimes have a tendency to boil over (which I have experienced many a time!) so be by them and watch to make sure the foam doesn't overflow. And any foam you see rising to the surface, just skim off with a large spoon and throw out. That is gas from the beans coming up (because we don't want to have any flatulent episodes!).

IMPORTANT! : When cooking beans, don't add any salt! Salt added during the bean cooking process doesn't allow the water to enter the beans cells to hydrate and make them soft, so they remain somewhat hard, no matter how long you cook them for.

To be more accurate on cooking times, here is a chart for how long to cook beans for according to what type of bean you are cooking.

Dried Beans (1 cup) Cooking Time  Presoak
40 minutesYES
Anasazi beans
50-60 minutesYES
Black Beans
50-60 minutesYES
Black-eyed Peas
30-40 minutesNO
Butter Beans
60-90 minutesYES
Cannellini Beans
1 1/4 hoursYES
Chestnut Beans
1 1/2 hoursYES
Fava Beans
1 hourYES
Flageolet Beans
1 1/2 hoursYES
Garbanzo Beans
1 1/2 hoursYES
Great Northern Beans
50-60 minutesYES
Kidney Beans
1 1/4 hoursYES
Lentils, green or brown
25-30 minutes NO
Lentils, red
10 minutesNO
Lentils, French or black
20 minutesNO
Lima Beans, baby
40-45 minutesYES
Lima Beans, large
40-45 minutesYES
Mung Beans
45 minutesYES
Navy Beans
50-60 minutesYES
Peas, split
50-60 minutesNO
Peas, whole
1 1/4 hoursN0
Pea Beans
50-60 minutesYES
Pinto Beans
1 hourYES
Red Beans, small
1 hourYES
2 1/4 hoursYES
source: Chez Bettay (she has great recipes to look at as well and a lot of basic information to make other great vegan staples!)

Well, I hope you enjoy the beans and reap their many benefits!


Vanessa <3

Bean Picture Source: www.photo-dictionary.com

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