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RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
12/2/13 11:18 A

Thanks everyone. The bag says to cook for 1.5 - 2 hours. I did the 1 hour " soak ", now just need to cook them.

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
12/2/13 11:03 A

I don't know if that's an old wives tale...but waiting has worked for me.

You can also cook then with garlic, onion, celery, rosemary, ham hocks, etc. for the beans to absorb more flavour. The acidity in tomatoes can impede cooking (softening), so add them at the end.

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
12/2/13 10:24 A


if you add salt too early, it can cause the outer membrane to toughen up. so you don't want to add it until the beans are already softened.

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
12/2/13 9:54 A

I've always subscribed to the "do not salt until the beans are 3/4 of the way cooked", but there are so many different methods, you need to experiment what works best for you. A slow simmer does work best; beans boiled are beans spoiled.

Some people also suggest salting the water for the overnight soak (if you go that route) to brine them.

This week I am working with dried split peas and dried lentils, but neither of those require soaking.

EXOTEC Posts: 3,327
12/2/13 9:40 A

I have a batch of beans (mixed varieties) I'm planning to precook in my slow cooker. I read somewhere that either adding or not adding salt to the precooking water will make the beans more tender. I wish I could remember which way to go! Does anyone know?

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
12/1/13 5:51 P

You would need to cook them for probably about an hour (at a simmer, not a boil). It's hard to give an exact time to cook them, as it can be quite variable. Drain off the water, replace with fresh water to cover the beans by an inch or two, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, set your timer for 45 minutes. Then test one... is it squishy and soft, easily mashable with a fork? Tastes like a cooked bean? Then it's done. If it's still hard or chalky or raw tasting, leave for another 15 minutes and test again. Repeat until desired level of doneness is reached. Great northerns will be done somewhere between 45 minutes and 90 minutes, most probably. NOW they are ready to be added to your chili or stir fry or salad or whatever.

It's a simple process, but a LONG process. Honestly if I were you, I'd batch-cook these, then freeze whatever you won't be eating over the next couple days into individual serving-sizes for quick-and-easy use later. It's hardly worth taking all that time for just one serving (not to mention not very energy efficient).

NIRERIN Posts: 14,275
12/1/13 5:49 P

do you have any cookbooks? i have a ton of vegetarian cookbooks and all of them have bean cooking charts. when i was learning to cook beans, this was the best place to start as it broke down everything rather neatly.
after using that as a guideline, i generally cook beans this way. i dump half a cup into some warm water to cover before i go to work and leave them on the counter. this takes the place of the boil and let sit an hour. the great part about this is that you can wait til the next morning if you need to. either way you choose you drain the water from the first soak. then dump the beans into a pot, cover with water and boil until tender. that is the cook. the bean chart is the best place to start with how long that's going to take, but i find that beans just have a done smell and are tender. it's at this stage that beans are going to be like beans from the can. once you get the hang, this is where you want to freeze the beans or use them as if you had just opened a can.
until you get the hang of cooking with beans, don't throw rehydrated but uncooked beans in a recipe that doesn't call for them that way. you want fiber, but not that way. and unless your recipe has a ton of extra water and a really long simmer time your beans will end up uncooked and nearly inedible.
the bean chart in the first cookbook i grabbed says that for the actual cooking [not the soak], 1 cup of great northern beans should be places with 3.5 cups of water and should be cooked for 1.5-2 hours. the book has water listed as between 3 and 4 cups and cooking times from 35 minutes to three hours. so great northern need a little more water than some beans and they need to cook for a little longer. i will say that when you cook smaller amounts, the time does go down a little, so start to check the beans at the halfway mark if you aren't using the full cup.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
12/1/13 2:35 P

I planned to just use a 1/4 cup dry serving. Along with some vegetables, and 2 chicken thighs. Kind of a stir fry.

After my one hour "rinse ", would I need to cook them for another hour in more water, or can I proceed like I do canned beans, just cook them in the dish I am making? If they need to be cooked MORE separately, what would I cook them in ( water ? ), and how long. I'm guessing until tender, which may necessitate cooking them separately? So it is arbitrary, not a set time?

I was planning to use them to get more fiber, so a serving every day. One 1/4 cup has 15 grams of fiber, which would push my fiber to 27-28 grams a day. I don't think I could handle 30 g of fiber at one setting. Plus this pushes my daily carbs to 80 grams, which is a big step for me.. not ready for 100 yet.

I may cook up a cup at a time, and keep it in the fridge for those 4 days, in 4 small bowls. This is dry weight , which is how it is measured on the label. Hopefully that comes up to about 1/2 a cup cooked for each serving.

Once I get the hang of cooking them, I will see if I can freeze larger quantities for easier meal making.

Canned beans are a lot, but I was surprised to see 15 grams of fiber per serving. Is this from not being canned, or just this one kind of bean has more. Canned kidney beans have 7 g of fiber per 1/2 cup, or about half the fiber. The other option is that the label is in error. Hopefully that isn't it.

12/1/13 1:51 P

I never trust labels on beans, popping corn, and pasta---always so confusing.

It depends somewhat on the type bean. An estimate:
1 pound dry = about 2-3 cups dry = 5-7 cups cooked
Do you plan to have a 1/2 cup cooked portion or a 1 cup portion?
The cooked beans will be good for about 1 week in refrigerator. You can also freeze for months and use in soups, stews, etc. So use that to determine how much to make based on how you plan to use them.

Hope this helps some
Your SP Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
12/1/13 1:41 P

Sorting the beans just means taking a look over them and picking out any bad ones. I rarely find anything untoward in my dried beans but... just glance over them and remove any non-bean bits or shrivelled nasty ones, if there are any.

Ok if you boil for 2 minutes and cover for 1 hour - that does NOT cook the beans. This is just a "quick presoaking method" (an alternative is to soak overnight in cold water). The measurement of water in this step is not crucial in any way. The idea is, enough water to cover the beans AND allow for soaking-into-the-beans. As long as your beans are covered by a couple inches of water when you set them to stand, it's fine. And then once this hour has gone by, you drain off that water and proceed to cook the beans (probably another hour of simmering, at a rough guess).

I don't have any comment on the measurements. I usually just try to measure by dry weight, wherever possible.

Edited by: BUNNYKICKS at: 12/1/2013 (13:41)
RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
12/1/13 1:28 P

I got myself a bag of great northern beans, and it says 1 serving is 1/4 cup. At 12 servings, this adds up to 3 cups ( 1 lb ).

The instructions say to rinse, and sort beans.. what do they mean by sort beans?

Then it says to cook 2 cups of beans ( 1 lb. ) add 6-8 cups of water, bring to a boil for 2 minutes, then cover and let stand for an hour.

Now 1 lb is only 2 cups? The servings for the bag, and the number of cups in a lb of beans don't match.

Anyways, if I go with 1/2 cup as 2 servings, can I cut water down to 2 cups, or should I add a little extra just to make sure I have enough water.

I don't know how long the beans are good for after cooking, so don't want to have 12 servings cooked. How many days will they be good for?

Any help with these questions would be greatly appreciated.

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