ThriftyFun News June 8, 2004 - Cooking With Dried Beans

ThriftyFun News

Volume Six, Number 23, June 8, 2004



Today's issue is about using dried beans.

This newsletter contains:

  • Cooking with Dried Beans (and Peas)
  • Bean Recipes Online

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Cooking with Dried Beans (and Peas)

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:


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

  • Onions may be added at any time during the cooking process. For a stronger onion flavor, add them during the last half-hour of cooking.

  • Herbs and spices like oregano, parsley, thyme and garlic may be added at any time during cooking.

  • Add salt only after beans are cooked to tender. If added before, salt may cause bean skins to become impermeable, halting the tenderizing process.

  • Add lemon juice, vinegar, tomatoes, chili sauce, catsup, molasses or wine after beans have been soaked and are fully cooked. Wait to add these and other ingredients rich in calcium or acids. They can prevent beans from becoming tender.

  • Do not add baking soda to beans at any time. Baking soda robs the beans of the B-vitamin thiamin and may affect the flavor of the cooked beans.

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.


Sources: Northwest Bean Growers Association, The Garden of Earlthy Delights Cookbook by Shea MacKenzie and the University of Illinois Extension.

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Bean Recipes Online

There are lots of great bean recipes online. Here are some links we found. Feel free to add your links in the feedback forum. If you have a crockpot recipe that you would like to share with the ThriftyFun community you can submit it here: Click Here

Northwest Bean Growers Association Bean Recipes

There are some fantastic recipes here for using beans.

Vegweb Beans and Legume Recipes

Great legume recipes.'s Bean Recipes

Recipes using dried beans, including lentils, lima beans, and black-eyed peas

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