Cooking Beans

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It is cheaper to buy uncooked beans rather than canned ones, but take into account that you will be using electricity (or gas) to cook them for several hours.  Storing uncooked beans is easier, however, and they do look nice in a jar in your cupboard . . .

Another advantage of cooking your own beans is that you can eliminate some of the chemicals that cause digestive disturbances, to some extent. 

The trick is to change the water a couple of times during the cooking process; this removes some of the offending chemicals but some of the nutrients as well—it’s a compromise.

Adding salt to the water is reputed to toughen the beans, so leave the salt for the final stage of cooking. Acids can also toughen peas and beans.

You can soften uncooked beans by soaking over night in water.† Rinse the beans first to clean them, then place in a bowl and add a large amount of water.† When youíre ready to start cooking them, drain and rinse, then add fresh water.† Also, adding savory is supposed to help make the beans more digestible; add savory to the cooking water, and if you can find Kombu Seaweed, try it.
Creole Chili with Shrimp!
Find the RECIPE INDEX page . . .
For a large bean like a kidney bean, 3 to 4 hours simmering on the stove should be enough to soften the bean, make it digestible, and split the skin.† When the skin splits down the middle, thatís a good sign that the bean is cooked.† Two or three times during this process, drain, rinse, and replace the water, bringing the water to the boiling point and then turning the heat down for an hour or two.† You can bring the water to the boil and then turn off the heat and leave the beans to cook this way, if you repeat a few times, but it will take longer (and save some energy). †A white or navy bean should only take 1 to 2 hours.† Using a pot with a broad base and a thinner layer of beans reduces cooking time and the amount of stirring required to cook the beans evenly.

To cook a bean medley, itís best to have a separate pot for each type of bean so that they can be cooked perfectly, rather than adding smaller beans to one pot as you go along and finding that some do not cook thoroughly.† An under-cooked bean has a grainy texture and is harder to digest.

You can reduce cooking time significantly when you use a pressure cooker, wich is an excellent method for beans because they even taste better cooked this way. The same technique applies for using short bursts of heat to raise pressure in the pot and then allowing slow cooling, draining, rinsing, and repeating until the beans are perfect.

Try our Shameless Bean Salad, Spicy Chickpea Spread, Chili Con Carne, Creole Shrimp Chili, or our Tomato and Chickpea Salad . . .


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