How to cook dry beans

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Before Cooking ============== There are several accepted ways of preparing dry beans for cooking. All start with a thorough washing in cold water and inspection for damaged beans and foreign material. If you have time to cook the variety you have chosen until it reaches the desired tenderness, soaking is not essential. However, most cooks prefer some method of soaking to shorten cooking time and to improve either flavor, texture, appearance or digestibility. In either of the soaking methods below, it is recommended that the soaking water be discarded and the beans rinsed and cooked in fresh water.

Soaking Tips ============ Recent studies have shown that bringing beans to a boil, then soaking for 12 or more hours makes them more digestible. Therefore, the revised method for traditional soaking is given here. The quick method is acceptable for occasions when time is limited.

Traditional Method: Wash one pound dry beans. Add to 10 cups boiling water; boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and soak 12 hours or overnight. Drain, rinse and cook.

Quick Method: Wash one pound dry beans. Add to 10 cups boiling water; boil 2 to 1 minutes. Cover and soak 1 to 4 hours. Drain, rinse and cook. Be sure pot is large enough to allow beans to expand 2-½ times.

Cooking/Storage Tips Cooking Method: Drain and rinse soaked beans; put into large kettle. Add 6 cups hot water, 1 to 2 tablespoons shortening or oil and 2 teaspoons salt. Boil gently with lid tilted until tender. Cooking time will range from 30 to 60 minutes, depending on variety of bean.

* Simmer beans slowly. Cooking too fast can break skins.

* Cook enough beans for more than one meal at a time. For storing a day or two, cover and refrigerate. For longer storage, freeze in airtight plastic bags or freezer-proof containers.

Bean Equivalents ================ One pound of dry beans equals about 2-¼ cups dry or 5 to 6 cups cooked beans. One can (15-½ oz.), drained, equals about 1-⅔ cups.

Copyright IDAHO BEAN COMMISSION P.O.Box 9433...Boise, Idaho 83707<Electronic format by Karen Mintzias>

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