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Cooking Dried Beans

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Using dried beans can be much cheaper and healthier than using canned but they do take a bit more time to soak and cook. This is a guide about cooking dried beans.
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November 17, 2010

Most people love a great chili or baked beans, but most people don't know how to identify the beans in any dish. Beans are a great way to stretch your food budget and can feed a crowd.
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They are a great source of protein and when teamed with rice or other grains, meat, or cheese they make a complete protein. Beans are full of good carbohydrates along with being a great source for iron and calcium. With fiber galore, beans aid the digestion process. Beans are great for people who suffer from osteoporosis or anemia and because they slow the rise in blood sugar after a meal they are a good choice for diabetics. Beans are also high in antioxidants. This article is going to give you lots of good information on beans and what the different kinds are.

Bean Varieties

Adzuki: These beans are used in Asian cuisine and are popular in Japanese cooking for confections. These are small, reddish-brown beans, rounded in shape with a point at one end. They have a distinctive white ridge along one side. They have a strong, nutty, sweet flavor. Adzuki beans can be purchased whole or powdered at Asian markets and are used to make red sweet bean paste.
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Cooking Time: 3/4 to 1 hour

Anasazi: These beans are small kidney shaped purple and white beans in the same family as pinto beans. These heirloom beans are sweet, fast-cooking, and reputed to cause less flatulence than other bean varieties. They're great for making refried beans.

Cooking time: 2 hours

Black: These beans are small ovals with deep black skins they have a dark cream to gray flesh and have a mild sweet texture and taste. They are some times called Turtle beans. These beans are a staple of Latin American and Caribbean cuisine, where they're used to make side dishes, soups, bean dips, and salads. They have a strong, earthy flavor, so they're often combined with strong spices.

Cooking Time: 1 to 1 1/2 hours

Black-Eye: These beans are kidney shaped and they have a white skin with a small black eye and have a flavor all their own. These are used in Southern cooking and African cooking. They are also called cowpeas or black eyed peas. These small beans cook quickly and require no presoaking.

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Cooking Time: 1/2 to 1 hour

Cannellini These are large white beans, about 1/2" long, with a firm texture and skin and a nut-like flavor. They are also know as White Kidney beans and can be used just like kidney beans. Cannellini beans are used in Italian dishes but are also great in bean salads or soups.

Equivalents: 1 cup dried beans yields 2 1/2 cups cooked beans

Cooking time: 1 hour

Cranberry: These beans are usually white or cream in color with deep red or cranberry marks that are distributed in different patterns on the bean that disappear on cooking. The flavor of this bean has a nut like taste that is comparable to a chestnut. These are use in Italian, Spanish and Portuguese food.

Equivalents: 1 pound beans = 2 cups dried beans = 4-5 cups cooked beans.

Cooking Time: 3/4 to 1 hour

Garbanzo: These beans are beige to pale yellow but also can be green, red or brown. Garbanzo beans have a delicious nutlike taste and a texture that is buttery, yet somewhat starchy and pasty. They are also called chickpeas and are used in Middle Eastern, Indian dishes like hummus, falafels and curries.

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Equivalents: 1 pound beans = 2 cups dried beans = 4-5 cups cooked beans.

Cooking Time: 1 to 1 1/2 hours

Great Northern: These beans are a flat, kidney-shaped, medium-sized bean, that is white in color. They have a mild flavor that is delicate which takes on the flavors of other foods which they are cooked. They are used in French cooking in cassoulet, in soups and stews and are the beans used in Boston baked beans.

Equivalents: 1 pound beans = 2 cups dried beans = 4-5 cups cooked beans.

Cooking Time: 3/4 to 1 hour

Kidney (Light Red): These beans are large and kidney-shaped. They have a full bodied flavor which is robust and a soft texture. These beans are popular in Caribbean cuisine and often paired with rice.

Equivalents: 1 pound beans = 2 cups dried beans = 4-5 cups cooked beans.

Cooking Time: 1 to 1/2 hours

Kidney (Dark Red): These beans are large, kidney-shaped, deep reddish-brown in color. They have a robust full bodied taste with a soft texture. They are used in chili and 3 bean salad and are the beans used in red beans and rice.

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Equivalents: 1 pound beans = 2 cups dried beans = 4-5 cups cooked beans.

Cooking Time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours

Lima (Baby): These beans are flat shaped and creamy white in color and have a rich buttery flavor. They are used in southern cooking where they are a mainstay and in soups, stews and casseroles or can be cooked as a side dish cooked with herbs and spices.

Cooking Time: 1 hour

Lima (Large) : These beans have a flat shape and are ivory color in color. They have a smooth and creamy sweet taste. They are also called Butter beans in the south. They are a good substitute for potatoes or rice; excellent in soups, casseroles.

Equivalents: 1 pound beans = 2 cups dried beans = 4-5 cups cooked beans.

Cooking Time: 1 to 1 1/2 hours

Navy: These beans are small white ovals. They have a mild flavor and a powdery texture. They are also called pea beans and are used in pork and beans and baked beans but are most famous used in soups like Senate Navy bean soup.

Equivalents: 1 pound beans = 2 cups dried beans = 4-5 cups cooked beans.

Cooking Time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours

Pink: These beans are small, pale-pink and turn reddish brown when cooked. They have a rich and meaty flavor and a slightly powdery texture. They are a relative of the kidney bean and are used in southwestern chili and any where a small bean is desired.

Equivalents: 1 pound beans = 2 cups dried beans = 4-5 cups cooked beans.

Cooking Time: 1 hour

Pinto: These beans are medium ovals that have mottled beige and brown coloring that turn brown when cooked. These beans are used in Mexican cooking and can also be used to make pork and beans and refried beans.

Equivalents: 1 pound beans = 2 cups dried beans = 4-5 cups cooked beans.

Cooking Time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours

Small Red: These beans are dark red in color and they are similar to red kidney but smaller. They also have a flavor similar to red kidney beans. These beans are also called Mexican red beans. They hold both there shape and firmness when cooked. They are used in soups and salads and chili and creole dishes.

Equivalents: 1 pound beans = 2 cups dried beans = 4-5 cups cooked beans.

Cooking Time: 1 to 1 1/2 hours

This article can be printed out and put in a notebook for future reference. Hope you enjoy this article and I hope this helps you the next time you are in the store staring at all the different beans. Also try your health food or natural food stores they can some more unusual beans for you to try.

Comment Was this helpful? 1

June 8, 20041 found this helpful

Beans, beans, the frugal fruit, the more you eat them, the more you save money! Actually beans are a legume but there is no question that they are a frugal staple in any diet.

Using Dried Legumes (Beans and Peas)

The great thing about dry beans is that they can be bought in bulk and stored for a long time. They are also both healthy and versatile. For a profile of all the nutrition benefits of beans check out the Northwest Harvest Bean Association website: http://www.northarvestbean.org/html/chefsguide.cfm#beanhealthy

Cooked vs Uncooked

As a general rule, 1 cup of dried beans or peas will expand to 2 to 3 cups cooked.

Preparing Dried Beans and Peas

Spread the beans you plan to cook out on a cookie sheet. Remove any debris, empty shells or discolored beans. Then put the beans in a colander or strainer and rinse.

Soaking Dried Beans and Peas

You can reduce the cooking time of beans by pre-soaking them. The legumes that don't require pre-soaking are lentils, split peas, black-eyed peas and mung beans.

Quick Soak - Add 4 cups of water for every 1 cup of beans that you wish to soak. Bring the water to a rapid boil and then remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour before using. Don't boil the beans for too long or you may damage the skins.

Overnight Soak - Add 4 cups of water for every 1 cup of beans that you wish to soak. Soak beans overnight. Overnight soaking of beans will make them more digestible so less intestinal gas is usually produced after you eat them.

Cooking Beans and Peas

1. Discard the soaking water and rinse. You can always use it for plant water.

2. Add 3 cups of water for every 1 cup of beans. Add 1 tablespoon of oil or other fat to reduce foaming during cooking.

3. Bring beans or peas to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until tender. Simmer gently to prevent skins from bursting. Stir occasionally.

4. Beans and peas are done when they are tender and soft to the touch. They can take between 1 1/2 to 3 hours to cook depending on the size and type of bean. Peas take about an hour. Set a time timer and check them every 15 to 30 minutes. Hard water, altitude and the age of the beans may effect bean cooking times.

5. Drain beans immediately after they reach their desire tenderness to halt the cooking process.

More Cooking Tips from the NBGA

Source: Northwest Bean Growers Association

Storing Dried Beans and Peas

Store dried beans and peas in an airtight (covered) container. Store in a cool, dry area.

Comment Was this helpful? 1

May 5, 20091 found this helpful

Bulk beans are so much cheaper than buying canned beans, it always takes a little planning though, and in the past I'd always forget. Not anymore, I have a big yogurt container boldly marked "BEANS" that I keep filled with soaking beans in the refrigerator all the time.

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By 2 found this helpful
March 17, 2013

This tip is so simple, yet it has saved me many dollars and much time.

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June 4, 2012

As a southern gal, I must have pinto beans every now and again cooked by me and not from a can. Since I got old and my hands became arthritic, it was difficult to rinse the beans and lift the slow cooker or large bean pot to pour off the water used for washing.

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By 0 found this helpful
October 5, 2009

Always clean and soak your legumes overnight. The next morning rinse, add water and bring to a rapid boil for 5 minutes then lower the heat to medium and let it cook. It cooks well. Don't add salt while it is boiling, because its delays the cooking process.

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January 10, 20051 found this helpful

Cut the cooking time way down on dried beans by soaking overnight, then freezing them in usable quantities. Then cook them by boiling them until soft. The freezing breaks down some of the cell fibers allowing them to cook more quickly.

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By 0 found this helpful
June 12, 2012

Meat is a delicacy in our house. It's better for our budget. This is how I make my weekly pot of beans. The recipe is vegetarian, but still comes out thick and gooey.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

February 19, 2008

Can I pre-soak dried beans and then can them for later use? It takes so long to soak beans but I like to make chili often. I'm looking for a way to speed things up a bit and I think this might do it

imama2many

Answers

February 19, 20080 found this helpful

yes you can pre soak beans.I have cooked them and froze them for a quick meal for chilli.
Worked good.

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 19, 20080 found this helpful

I've also heard of dehydrating beans. It's quicker to reconstitute the dehydrated beans than to soak the dried beans. Check it out! Good Luck :)

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 20, 20080 found this helpful

What I do I saw in the Mennonite cookbook. Soak beans overnight and in the morning, drain them and place in canning jars, add boiling water, the lids, and the pressure can them. Do not fill way up to the top, as the beans will swell more as they cook in the canner. I have done several different kinds and now have beans whenever I need them without preservatives and salt. also saving the landfill of tins.

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 20, 20080 found this helpful

I never soak the beans. My mother told me a faster way. Put them in a pot with hot water and boil hard for about 20-30 minutes, adding water as needed, with the lid off. After that, add enough hot water to the pot, bring to a boil, put lid on. Cook about 2 - 2 1/2 hours. Much easier that soaking, and better flavor.

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 20, 20080 found this helpful

What I do when I go grocery shopping and buy dry beans. Once home the beans go to the freezer to stay until I am ready to use them. Then when ready I put the water on to boil. Once boiling I put in the frozen beans. It navy beans are done in less then a hour and the brown beans in 2 hours.

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 20, 20080 found this helpful

I soak mine overnight covered in a large bowl of water. Or you could soak all day and put in a crockpot or cook on stove.

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February 21, 20080 found this helpful

I've done them according to my canning book. It says to: Cover beans with cold water and let stand 12-18 hours in cool place. Boil 30 minutes. Pack hot beans into jars leaving 1" headspace (cover with water if needed). Adjust caps and process pints 75 minutes under 10 pounds of pressure, quarts 90 minutes under 10 pounds of pressure. When I did mine, I canned pinto beans, navy beans, kidney beans, and white beans at the same time. Now I have them ready to go whenever I need them, which is so convenient. I also made a huge pot of bean soup and canned it at the same time.

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 22, 20081 found this helpful

I don't bother with the presoak, because I seldom plan that far ahead. But to quickly have dry beans available, I put them in a pot with cold water, bring to a boil. I let them boil only 5 minutes, then turn off the stove and let them sit covered for an hour. In that hour, I prepare whatever I am going to use them in. At the end of the hour (and 15 minutes or so it took to bring them to a boil) the beans are soft and ready to add to your chili.

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April 9, 20080 found this helpful

I wash and sort the beans, cover them with water and bring to a rolling boil for 2 full minutes. Remove from heat and let them sit in the water for 1 hour. Drain and add fresh water to an inch above the beans and cook until tender.

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September 15, 20120 found this helpful

For the reasons you stated, I have started buying dehydrated dried beans from Harmony House Foods. They have a variety of dehydrated dried beans that cook in an average of 30 minutes without pre-soaking.

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By 0 found this helpful
December 10, 2011

I make a lot of soups that call for beans, all different kinds. It gets quite expensive to use the canned beans. I have tried dried beans and have never been able to get them to the consistency of the canned type. I have soaked them overnight and then cooked them. They seem to stay hard or fall apart. Does anyone have the secret for cooking dry beans?

By Rose from Malvern, PA

Answers

December 10, 20110 found this helpful

I've had the very same problem with attempting to cook dried beans. I soaked them over night and then the next day cooked them in my pressure cooker. And they were still tough. So I decided to go back to using the canned beans.
Sorry I don't have a solution.

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December 12, 20110 found this helpful

Try soaking overnight in a crockpot. In the morning, rinse beans and add lots of fresh (boiling) water. Cook them all day (on low); they should be "just right". If you're at home while the beans are cooking, you can cook on "high"; I prefer to cook on "low" when I'm away, since that temperature doesn't overcook items.

I've even skipped the soaking part, cooking on "high" for 4-5 hours; this might work, too, though the soaking is recommended, and it tends to reduce the "gas effect". I've heard that adding a bit of baking soda reduces gas, too. Good luck.

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December 12, 20110 found this helpful

What is expensive about canned beans? You can get them on sale all the time. If your recipe does not call for a full can just put the remainder in a baggy and freeze it until the next time.

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December 12, 20110 found this helpful

I wash them then soak in fresh water over night. Then the next morning I drain them and put fresh water to cover and bake in the oven in a roaster at 350 degrees for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Check them often adding water as needed. You can put ham with them if you want but I just cook them plain because I use them in different recipes.

Then when cool I put them in 3 cup containers and freeze them. Works perfect for me. They are just like the canned ones and I don't put salt in them either where canned beans have salt. Hope this is a help for everyone and works well for you as well.

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December 12, 20110 found this helpful

I quit soaking my beans. I wash them and put them in the slow cooker and I've never had problems with this remaining hard or falling apart. One thing I have heard; after they start cooking and you need to add water, do NOT add cold water. That makes them fall apart. So make sure any additional water you add is HOT.

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December 12, 20110 found this helpful

I have the same problem with trying to get my beans soft. I read on several on-line forums that the problem could be my hard city water - I get a lot of lime build-up inside my pots, so I know there are a lot of minerals in the water. The recommendation is to filter your water or buy spring or distilled water. I haven't tried it yet, but plan to try it the next time I cook dry beans.

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December 12, 20110 found this helpful

I too vote for the crock method. I rinse mine, don't bother to presoak, and like you, if I am going to use in a diff recipe, I don't season them, just put into small freezer strength zip bags, and freeze. If it will be for a meal, then I put in the chopped onion, celery, seasonings, etc.
Cook on low for about 6 hours.

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December 12, 20110 found this helpful

I always cook mine in the crock pot overnight, with a ham hock, and enough water to last all night, but if I get up in the night, I will check the water level. I cook them on high.

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December 13, 20110 found this helpful

My mother always told us never add salt until the beans get soft. Otherwise it takes for ever the beans to get done, and most of the time they stay hard. Also the older the beans the longer it take for them to get done.
As TXBetty said use hot water when adding water. It also cuts the cooking time.

I just starting cooking beans in the crock-pot. So much easier and the beans seem to hold their shape better.

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By 0 found this helpful
November 23, 2012

I've been using them for years, but it seems lately, I can't get the beans to the right texture. I've been doing the quick soak method. Should I try the overnight method? Any other suggestions?

I've seen some recipes where you use the crockpot when you make a bean soup. It calls for overnight soak and then cooking the beans with all the ingredients. I always thought that you needed to cook the beans separately until they were done and then add to the recipe. I make a lot of recipes with beans. Thanks!

By Mindy from Terrebonne, OR

Answers

November 24, 20120 found this helpful

How to Cook Dried Beans in a Crockpot Slow Cooker
Use a slow cooker that's at least 3 1/2 quart size to cook 2 cups of dried beans. You can increase the amount of beans for a larger size cooker.

Caution about red kidney beans:
Red kidney beans contain a natural toxin which may not be destroyed if your slow cooker doesn't reach a high enough temperature. To be safe, red kidney beans should be pre-soaked, drained, and then boiled in fresh water for 10 minutes before cooking in the slow cooker.


Presoaked Beans:
Pick over the dry beans and discard any broken or shriveled looking ones. Put 2 cups dried beans into the slow cooker crock and soak overnight in cold water, enough to cover by several inches. The next day, drain the beans and discard the cooking water. Put soaked beans back into the slow cooker and add enough water to cover beans by 2 inches. Turn cooker to HIGH and cook beans until they're tender and cooked through, about 3-4 hours for soaked beans. (You can also cook the soaked beans on low, which would take about twice as long.) Drain beans. (You can save the cooking water if desired, but I usually don't because this liquid will have the undigestible carbs that make beans cause gas.) Whether pre-soaked or unsoaked, 2 cups of dried beans will make about 6 cups of cooked beans. Beans can be frozen in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid for several months until you're ready to use them.


Unsoaked Beans:
Pick over the dry beans and discard any broken or shriveled looking ones. Put beans into the slow cooker and add enough water to cover beans by 2 inches. Turn cooker to HIGH and cook beans until they're tender and cooked through, about 5-6 hours for unsoaked beans. (You can also cook the unsoaked beans on low, which would take about twice as long.) Drain beans. (You can save the cooking water if desired, but I usually don't because this liquid will have the undigestible carbs that make beans cause gas.) Whether pre-soaked or unsoaked, 2 cups of dried beans will make about 6 cups of cooked beans. Beans can be frozen in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid for several months until you're ready to use them.

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December 17, 20130 found this helpful

Can I remove salt from a pot of cooked dry beans?

By Mavie

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November 30, 20120 found this helpful

Do you treat split dried pinto beans the same as you would regular pinto beans?

By Judy N

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