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NIRERIN Posts: 11,921
1/3/12 9:17 P

i do not know why this worked, but i started using the guides in one of my vegetarian cookbooks on soaking and cooking [i'm pretty sure it was vegan planet]. i had awful results to start with, but i followed those and starting checking at about 20 minutes and i just got the hang of it after a month or so and going through most of the beans that i keep on hand. and after doing that stint, i can cook most of them without measuring or paying too much attention to recipes or time. because just like you know to check the pie or the pizza or things in the oven when you can start smelling them, beans have the same thing. when i start cooking them, i hit a certain smell and know to go check the beans. and it's worked pretty much since. and i no longer measure out the beans and measure out the water, just toss the beans in water to soak before i leave for work or go to bed [depending on if i am cooking them after work or when i get up in the morning], drain them out, put in fresh water, toss on the stove and let go til i smell them. then i start checking and just go from there. a little weird, but it seems to work well.

also, if you do have water issues, dealing with those first is going to be your best bet.

VICSAC Posts: 418
1/3/12 7:24 P

It sounds like you are cooking them too long and also possibly too high of heat.

I do not know how long I cook mine, I have never gone by time. I keep an eye on them and cook until done. Actually since to usually let them sit in the hot water for a while to cool off before I divide them up for freezing I cook them to an "el dente" stage and then take them off the burner. The heat of the water finishes cooking them.

VICSAC Posts: 418
1/3/12 7:19 P

Double post

Edited by: VICSAC at: 1/3/2012 (19:25)
CHEETARA79 SparkPoints: (75,977)
Fitness Minutes: (54,226)
Posts: 3,507
1/3/12 6:21 P

I find it helps to let them cook and not disturb them. In other words, let them simmer and don't mix them at all. That usually keeps the skins on.

SONI51 Posts: 491
1/3/12 5:13 P

Take your beans and soak them in water with a bit of baking soda to help release the gas. Soak for about 4 hours. Drain and rinse 3 times. Put them in a pot and cover with water at least 3-4 inches above the beans. Add seasonings. Bring beans to a boil and once they are rapidly boiling reduce heat to medium heat and cover with lid until they are at the right consistency. You should probably let them cook for about 2 hours covered.

Taste to ensure that they are not mushy and that you can bite through them.

I sometimes will boil for 2 hours and let them sit to soak up additional water. Kinda like pasta - Al-Dente'

GEEKLING Posts: 601
1/3/12 2:47 P

Yes, after the initial 10 minutes of rapid boiling to make sure they reach an inside temperature to break down the Phytohemagglutinin. You really only want to simmer them gently.

An other thought, and this is pure speculation, are you on limestone? What pH is your tap water?

You know that old wives trick of adding bicarbonate of soda to the cooking water to make peas extra mushy, for mushy peas. Or how you shouldn't add acidic things when cooking peas and beans until close to the end, as that can mean your legumes don't soften as they should.

High pH helps peas and beans to soften and go mushy, low pH hinders that process.

Theoretically, if you're in a high pH zone, such as on limestone... It could be that you need to do just that, add a splosh of vinegar, lemon juice, or other acid in your cooking water to neutralize it when cooking legumes. Or you'll always end up with mushy beans.

Edited by: GEEKLING at: 1/3/2012 (14:50)
UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
1/3/12 1:16 P

Maybe it's not the cooking but the soaking. If they're going mushy and skins coming off, sounds to me like they're too wet. Try soaking them a bit less before cooking.

IRISHCONTESSA Posts: 17
1/3/12 1:00 P

Thanks for the replies.

I've tried both black and kidney beans. I've tried both the overnight soak and the "quick soak" methods. I even went so far as to switch brands thinking perhaps the beans of the brand I originally bought were old. Nothing changed.

I guess I could be overcooking them though I've changed the timing for that as well. I'm wondering if maybe I'm cooking them on too high of a heat level. I have an electric stove and my setting for beans has been 2 (it goes L - 2 - 4 -6 -H) so maybe if I turn it down to L? I'll keep experimenting. As I said, I can still use them in taco and burrito filling, chili, etc so it's not like they're being wasted!

Thanks again!

BRITOMART Posts: 7,432
1/3/12 11:37 A

I bring mine to a boil, then soak for 1 hour. Pour off that water (helps minimize gas) then incorporate into my slow cooker recipes. With lentils, no need to soak. As pp says, otherwise, every bean type is different.

AD-SUM SparkPoints: (646)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 37
1/3/12 11:33 A

What kind of beans? I normally soak over night. I know there are quick-soak methods but I find the overnight soak gives the best results. Then I simmer "until done". I cook them until they are just a bit al dente as that gives them a little room to cook some more in soup or whatever. I don't really follow a recipe of how long to cook them because I find they almost always cook faster than what the recipe says they will. For canelini beans (for example) I start to check them after about 30 minutes or so of simmering.

IRISHCONTESSA Posts: 17
1/3/12 10:41 A

I'm hoping some of you Spark folks can help me out with this.

I have been trying to incorporate more beans in my diet for low fat protein and I want to use dried to cut out the sodium in canned beans. I have cooked several bags over the last couple months but they always turn out mushy and with the skins peeling away. I've tried varying the heat level, cook time, and soaking time based on reading some internet recipes but none of these things has helped. The beans are edible and I've mostly used them in chil, tacos, etc but can't use them to top salads and whatnot since they are so mushy.

Any suggestions on what I could be doing wrong? Thanks.

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