Beans, Beans, Beans!  I’ve tried many a time to cook beans.  Most of the time I would give myself a big F.  Don’t even get me started on the time I wasn’t paying attention and I let the water cook out and my house smelled like garbage for a couple of days.  I had to put the pan OUTSIDE to soak for days because the smell was so intense.  Needless to say when I told my husband I was trying beans again he was a little…concerned.  I am HAPPY to report I tried it 2 ways and both worked!  Who knew the directions were so important!

I found these websites helpful when I researched how to do it right:

Most beans require a pre-soak before you can cook them.  I tried 2 different methods: overnight and quick soak.

Measure out your beans.  Rinse with water.  Next add 3 times as much water (ie 1 cup of beans, add 3 cups of water).  Put in your fridge overnight (8 to 10 hours).  I added HOT water from my tap.

Before I went to bed

The next morning when I was ready to cook

Measure your beans and rinse them with water.   Add the rinsed beans to a pot and add 3 times as much cold water as measured beans.  Bring the beans to a boil.  Take off heat and let soak 1-2 hours.  (I found that 90 minutes worked for me).

Now that you have soaked your beans you are ready to cook them.  There are a variety of ways: stove-top, crock pot, and pressure cooking.  I have only tried stove-top thus far and it has worked great.

For stove-top method drain off the soaking water from the beans.  I learned at class last month that this will help reduce the, um, “musicality” of the beans. Add beans and fresh water (same amount that you did pre-soaked measurement) to a pot.  Bring it to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer.  When the beans came from the overnight-fridge method I found that it took almost 2 hours of simmering but after the quick soaking method it took only 1 hour and 15 minutes for the beans to be soft.

Cooked Pinto Beans

Here are some tips and info I learned in my research and experimenting. 

  • Don’t add salt or acidic products (like vinegar or tomatoes) to your water when soaking and cooking beans.  This can cause the skins to toughen and your beans will have a hard time softening, if they ever do.
  • High-altitudes may experience longer cooking times to soften beans.
  • As beans get older they get harder to soften. 
  • You can grind beans into flour.  Use the flour to make great bean dips or a thickener for soups, sauces, etc.
  • Beans have many health benefits! The soluble fiber in beans help lower cholesterol.  Beans are high in protein, vitamins and minerals.  Beans can help with weight loss because they are low in fat and high in fiber and protein.
  • Cooked beans can stay in your fridge for a couple of days (or try freezing them too).
  • When I cooked pinto beans I found that 1 cup dry measurement came to about 2 and 1/2 cups cooked beans.
  • It is recommended that we eat 3 cups of beans per week!
  • Cooked white beans can be substituted as your oil/fat ingredients in recipes like cookies.  Try making a batch of brownies using cooked black beans instead of vegetable oil. 
1 cup dry pinto beans, 2 and 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans

Try making a delicious pot of Bean and Ham Soup or these yummy Veggie Burritos.  What method or recipe do you like best when making beans?

Happy Eating!