General information about beans 3

Yield: 1 info

Measure Ingredient
Cooking the Beans
Stove-Top Cooking
Baking Beans
The Versatile Grain
and the
Elegant Bean
by Sheryl and Mel London
ISBN 0-671-76106-4

* Beans should always be covered with water or unsalted stock while cooking. Sometimes aromatic vegetables (such as onions, carrots or celery) and herbs (such as thyme, parsley and oregano) are added for additional flavor. * Tilt the lid of the pot ever so slightly to prevent boiling over and to allow steam to escape. * Beans should always be simmered gently so that the skins don't burst. * If water level goes down, add boiling water as needed. * Stir only occasionally and never bring to a rolling boil or the beans will burst and become mushy. * Start the beans cooking in tepid water - not cold - the same rule that applies to soaking and rinsing. * If the water should foam, you might want to skim it off just once or twice. Occasionally the foam will coat the beans or make them gritty.

However, after just a few skimmings, don't pay attention to the foam.

It will sink to the bottom and disappear eventually. * Never add salt or anything acidic while the beans are cooking: tomatoes, vinegar, wine, molasses or citrus juices. Add salt only after the beans are almost tender. And if you're cooking with stock, make certain that it is unsalted. If any of these are added before the beans are tender, they will eventually get soft but the cooking time will be greatly increased. * Keep in mind that the older the beans, the longer they have been stored, the longer the cooking time. * To test for doneness, bite-taste a few beans, since some may be tender and some may not. They should be tender but not mushy. If they are not the proper consistency, continue to cook and taste them often. * When cooling, keep the beans in their cooking liquid to prevent them from drying out and so that the skins won't burst or split. * If you're reheating beans, add a tablespoon or two of water or reserved cooking liquid. As beans cool, they have a tendency to inhale any leftover liquid that may still be there. * Soak the beans overnight, covering them with tepid water about three inches over the volume of the beans. * Next day, preheat the oven to 325F. Rinse, drain and place the beans in an ovenproof casserole or bean pot. * Cover with fresh water to about three inches over the volume of the beans. * Put the casserole or bean pot on top of the stove, bring to a boil, then cover and place in the center of the oven. Bake forty to sixty minutes or more, depending on the size and age of the beans. Keep them in their liquid until ready to use.

Submitted By DIANE LAZARUS On 03-19-95

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