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Old 05-19-2013, 10:30 PM   #1
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Cooking with dried beans

So I was trying to cook a baked bean recipe I had used before but with canned beans. The recipe calls for 3 cans of Great Northern Beans, but I wanted to used dried beans instead (less sodium). I tried soaking them which was a 7 hr soak, I put 2 cups of dried beans in about 6.5 cups of water at 9 am and took it out at about 5 pm. Made my recipe and put it in the over at 350 for 1.5 hrs. When I took it out the beans were not cooked, they were still hard, I mean they could be eaten but it was not very enjoyable. I put it in 2 more times totaling an additional hour and the beans still don't seem cooked to me. So let me first say that I think of cooked beans as being something like what you eat after eating Bush's beans, soft but not mush. So now the questions:
  • How do I properly cook the beans so that they get to that soft stage and are not still hard and undercooked?
  • Is it better to soak the beans overnight and then still leave them in the water until I cook that evening or is that too much soaking time?
  • Finally, after my first taste test I looked up dried beans and read that they don't even need to be soaked, what are people's experience with that and how much longer do the beans need to be cooked?

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Old 05-19-2013, 10:34 PM   #2
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Cook the beans till soft before using in your baked bean recipe. The recipe is for beans that are already at the soft stage.
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:47 PM   #3
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Far too little water for soaking. You need to check the water level and make sure the water stays above the level of the beans in the bowl. Then you have to boil them until the skin burst when blown upon.

Soak and keep covered with water, check often, drain, replenish water covering completely, cook with a busy simmer until skins burst upon blowing on them, then make your beans according to your recipe. Any questions only to happy to answer
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Old 05-20-2013, 07:20 AM   #4
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If your recipe had tomatoes or other acid in it, your beans will never get soft. That is why you cook them thoroughly before adding the other ingredients.
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Old 05-20-2013, 07:40 AM   #5
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Acid inhibits softening

Old beans sometimes never soften
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Old 05-20-2013, 09:13 AM   #6
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I cook a pound or two of beans at a time and then I freeze them in 1 1/2 - 2 cup containers so I have the convenience of canned beans without the added salt.

I follow the package directions and do not add anything to them when cooking.

I agree with the others that it is difficult to determine how long it will take to soften them. This seasons beans will cook much faster than old beans that have been sitting on the shelf for several years. I have good luck with GOYA brand dried beans and they are usually a few cents cheaper than other brands.

When I cook up a batch of beans I also make a small pot of soup using the extra been liquid, and whatever else I find in the back corners of the refrigerator!
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Old 05-20-2013, 09:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyema View Post
Acid inhibits softening
True. If you add a half a tsp of sodium bicarbonate(baking soda) it will neutralize the ph level and help the beans cook through. Try it with baked beans and they soften a lot quicker...
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Old 05-20-2013, 09:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyema View Post
Acid inhibits softening

Old beans sometimes never soften
Yes and yes. And I'll add one more to the list: hard water. Water that contains high levels of calcium or magnesium can also increase the cooking time.

I make dried beans at least twice a month, if not more. It's one of the most economical and nutritious foods you can buy. I just cook them up and keep in the fridge for lunches or adding to other meals and what not.

Great Northern beans are one of the fastest cooking varieties. They should never take longer than an hour and a half - two hours, tops - to cook. I reread the original post, and it sounds like jjomall did everything correctly. He/she soaked, and then cooked the beans before adding to the recipe (or at least that's how I interpreted it). I don't see where any acid was added. So, by process of elimination, the problem is probably old, tough beans.

I've had pretty good luck buying beans from the bulk bins at my co-op. They always seem fresh (for dried beans).
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Old 05-20-2013, 11:34 AM   #9
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A pressure cooker can speed cooking time. Depending on the variety soaked beans can be ready in as little as 5 minutes.

Cooking Beans | Central Bean

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Old 05-20-2013, 01:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aunt Bea View Post
I cook a pound or two of beans at a time and then I freeze them in 1 1/2 - 2 cup containers so I have the convenience of canned beans without the added salt.

I follow the package directions and do not add anything to them when cooking.

I agree with the others that it is difficult to determine how long it will take to soften them. This seasons beans will cook much faster than old beans that have been sitting on the shelf for several years. I have good luck with GOYA brand dried beans and they are usually a few cents cheaper than other brands.

When I cook up a batch of beans I also make a small pot of soup using the extra been liquid, and whatever else I find in the back corners of the refrigerator!
Me too AB. My supermarket has an aisle dedicated to the Goya Brand. Because of the large Latin population in our city, there is a constant turnover everday. There are always two workers stocking the shelves in the Goya aisle. The rest of the population are beginning to discover the Goya Brand for a lot of products. And for the same reason. They fly off the shelf. Hence they are fresher.
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