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Really basic bean question . . . .

 
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mangolassi



Joined: 09 Nov 2004
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 8:59 pm    Post subject: Really basic bean question . . . . Reply with quote

Ok, so I haven't been cooking a great many years and rarely cook with beans. When I have I've tended to use canned beans, but I know I'll getter better texture if I start with dried beans. It's the new year and I'm ready to turn over a new leaf, but I'm confused by recipes that say to soak the beans "overnight." I assume that means about 8 hours, but I'm not going to cook the beans when I get up in the morning; I want to cook them around dinner time. So do I leave them to soak in the morning? Will they get mushy if I leave them to soak overnight AND throughout the day that I'll be cooking them?
I've got a bag of cranberry beans right now, but I've run across the same imprecise instructions in recipes for all types of beans.
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just dealt with your situation today as a matter of fact. They are fine for longer periods of time, the overnight thing is really just a minimum. That is of course if you are not using a quick method. I started to soak some beans and forgot all about them for a few days and they were perfect. Just be sure to use plenty of cold water, and with certain types you will need to work the skin with your fingers. Have fun!
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Sarape



Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 583
Location: Anniston Alabama USA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is simply impossible to ruin beans. Soak, don't soak, soak for 1 hour, soak for 1 day, soak for 3 days.... It doesn't matter.

I've taken dry beans from the bag to the pot added water turned on the gas and cooked them. They take a little longer, but the heat accelerates the softening process. So, basically, you can't go wrong.

You can even put a small amount of water with dried beans for a few days and then they will sprout. And you can let the sprouts grow for a week and eat spouts without even cooking.

The only caution with beans is that if you leave them soaking in water and it is warm, you may get some fermentation and a lot of bubbles. So, just rinse them and add cold water and then cook.
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mangolassi



Joined: 09 Nov 2004
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2005 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great. Thanks!
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2005 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with Sarape. Beans are incredibly forgiving!

I put a tiny bit of ginger in the soaking water. It's supposed to cut back on the gassiness. I dunno if it's true but it's easy enough to do and doesn't impart a discernable flavor.

Recently, I've also discovered that I can do small amounts of beans incredibly conveniently by using canning jars. I simply soak in the jar and then, when cooking time rolls around, I replace the soaking water with clean, lightly salted water (about 3/4 full works for me) and pop the uncovered jar in the microwave. I heat it for 4 or 5 minutes at a time when I walk thorough the kitchen, leaving the jar resting in the microwave when I'm not. If they aren't sufficiently cooked next time I pass by and give them a taste, I nuke them another 4-5 minutes. When I'm happy with them, I put the lid on an put them in the fridge (in their liquid) ready to put on a salad or pop into some soup.

I've done garbanzos, cannelini, Christmas, kidneys and navy beans this way. They probably all have different cooking times. I've never made note of their preferences. I just follow the they're-done-when-they're-done method.
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Sarape



Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 583
Location: Anniston Alabama USA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the Rainey method using the beans in the canning jar and the microwave -- very compact!

The one big advantage about soaking the beans is that you then know how much water to use during cooking. My beans-out-of-the-bag-into-the-pot method requires a guess as to the amount of water.

The experts (if there are such things when we're talking about beans) recommend cooking the beans for a couple minutes then rising with fresh water to continue the process -- this to eliminate any worries of gas (in your body, not in the kitchen).
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know, I thought perhaps I should be clear. The beans don't cook in the 4-5 minutes that the microwave is on. It takes that plus the passive cooking time they sit in the hot water plus whatever additional nuking I do. Still, since it takes so little of my time, I like this method for small amounts.
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SWISS_CHEF



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 27
Location: Switzerland

PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have two rules for dried beans:
Discard the water you soak then in and don't salt the water you cook them in. Other than that they are almost bullet proof.
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