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Cooking with Beans

Cooking with Beans

Whether you are using dry-packaged or canned beans, the following tips from the Bean Education; Awareness Network (B.E.A.N.) will ensure the best tasting beans for all of your favorite recipes.

Soaking Dry-Packaged Beans
Before cooking, soak dry-packaged beans to help soften and return moisture to the beans and reduce cooking time. Most beans will rehydrate to triple their dry size, so be sure to start with a large enough pot.

Preferred Hot Soak and Quick Soak Methods — Hot soaking helps dissolve some of the gas-causing substances, making the beans easier to digest. For each pound beans, add 10 cups hot water; heat to boiling and let boil 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and set aside for at least one hour (Quick Soak), or up to 4 hours (Hot Soak).

Traditional Overnight Soak — For each pound (2 cups) dry-packaged beans, add 10 cups cold water and let soak overnight, or at least 8 hours.

Cooking Dry-Packaged Beans
Drain soaking water and rinse beans; cook in fresh water. In general, beans take 30 minutes to 2 hours to cook depending on variety. Check bean packaging for specific cooking times and instructions.
Spice up beans while they cook. Seasonings such as garlic, onion, oregano, parsley or thyme can be added to the pot while beans are cooking. Add acidic ingredients, such as tomatoes, vinegar, wine or citrus juices, only at end of cooking, when the beans are tender.
Add salt only after beans are cooked to tender. If added before, salt may cause bean skins to become impermeable, halting the tenderizing process.
To test for doneness, bite-taste a few beans. They should be tender, but not overcooked. When cooling, keep beans in cooking liquid to prevent them from drying out.

Cooking With Canned Beans

Canned beans are a great convenience since they are already presoaked and precooked. Always drain and thoroughly rinse canned beans before adding them to a recipe. It is not necessary to recook canned beans, just heat them if a recipe calls for it. Canned beans, like dry-packaged beans, absorb flavors from other ingredients in a dish because their skins are completely permeable.

Storing Beans
Uncooked dry-packaged beans can be stored in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry area. If kept for more than 12 months, dry-packaged beans will lose moisture and may require longer cooking times. Nutrient value is not lost with age.
Canned beans may be stored up to 12 months in their original sealed cans.
Cooked beans may be refrigerated, in a covered container, for up to five days.
Cooked beans may be frozen for up to six months.

Counting Beans
One 15-ounce can of beans = one and one-half cups cooked beans, drained
One pound dry beans = six cups cooked beans, drained.
One pound dry beans = two cups dry beans.
One cup dry beans = three cups cooked beans, drained.

Cooking with Beans