How to Cook Dried Beans for the Best Results

Beans How to Cook Dried Beans
Photo Courtesy of Pexels – Marina Leonova

Some people dismiss using dried beans in their recipes because they seem like too much trouble compared to the canned varieties even though they are much cheaper. However, I use dried beans all the time for the healthy nutrition as well as a super ingredient to cook with for weight loss a few times a week. Along the way, I have picked up important pointers on how to cook dried beans for the best results that I want to share.

I am not going to argue that opening a can of beans is easier and faster than the extra steps that you go through for how to cook dried beans. After all, you have to sort the beans first to inspect for any small pebbles or other debris that may have found their way into the bag, soak them overnight, rinse the next morning before cooking them, which may account for some reluctance.

The reason these beans need soaking instead of adding them directly to your recipes to cook is because you want to return the moisture while eliminating the complex sugars that cause gas. In fact, this is why you also want to change that cold soaking water for your beans at least twice or three times because it also will further help prevent gas.

It is also important to use enough water. Soak dried beans with about four times their volume of water. Make sure to thoroughly rinse the soaked beans afterwards and use fresh water. If you don’t change that water to cook your beans in, then you will be removing more of the valuable complex sugars that want to remain.

A big mistake is thinking that if you add salt in the soaking water that it will help soften the dried beans. Instead, it will only toughen up the outer bean coat to make the beans harder.

Another ingredient that many people tend to add is baking soda to the soaking water. This may help flatulence, but this is not the way you want to help prevent a gas problem. According to an interesting research study, the reason is because the baking soda robs those dried beans of essential nutrients.

The timing of when you throw in certain ingredients to dried beans while they cook matters for how they turn out. For example, acidic ingredients like tomatoes, lemons or pineapple that may be in your recipe shouldn’t be added until those beans are the texture that you like. This rule also applies to when you toss in your salt. Otherwise, at whatever stage of those beans were in cooking will remain at that texture and no softer.

Something else that you should keep in mind is using the right level of heat. You don’t want to use such high heat to boil them. Always just simmer beans slowly over low heat.

If you’re never sure when your dried beans are finished cooking despite what a recipe says, here is a goof-proof method. Spoon up one of the cooked beans and press it against the roof of your mouth. If it crushes easily against your tongue, this is a sign they are thoroughly cooked.

One more thing that I would like to mention is in regard to repackaging the dried beans. I am talking about transferring them from the plastic bag they came in, especially a large size or if you bought them in bulk or a box. If you leave them in their original packaging, then they won’t keep as well storing them compared to placing in a sealed glass container to place in a dry, cool place. This way the beans stay drier from humidity and better preserved in your pantry.


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