Originally Posted by AnthonyJ
I bought a 1 pound bag of black beans and I'm trying to decide if I wanna just pre soak the whole bag and save the extras or if I'm better off just soaking what I need for my meal and then saving the rest dry until next recipe. Also, if storing them after soaking, what are my storage options?
I wouldn't advise soaking all the beans and storing them uncooked as they won't keep well unless you freeze them, which somewhat defeats the object as they will take up valuable freezer space and defrosting time. The unsoaked dried beans will store well in a glass jar with a screw top lid (eg an old coffee jar) or in a Lock & Lock type plastic container. Make a note of the sell by/use by date as beans get hard and take longer to cook when they get old.
The better thing, if you want to soak the lot, is to soak and cook them. You can then freeze the ones you don't need, in useable amounts, for when you need want them. More economical than just cooking a few for one meal.
Some people on DC say you don't need to soak the beans before cooking but if you do it reduces the cooking time, and therefore the cost of cooking, by about 25%. There are two ways of soaking. Either overnight which is convenient or, if you forget, you can put them in a pan covered with 2-3 inches of water and boil for 2 minutes, then cover and leave to soak for an hour.
Incidentally, some recipes sugest that you cook the beans in the soaking water. Don't. Throw away the soaking water and cook in fresh. This avoids the worst of the "anti-social" effects of bean eating, If you get my drift ;-)
Another thing we have argued about on DC in the past is the advice that salt should not be added until the beans are cooked as it hardens them. Personally I have found this to be correct but others dispute this.
It's important to remember that, like red kidney beans, black beans carry a toxin (Lectin, IIRC) They should always be boiled fast for 10 minutes when you first put them on to cook in order to destroy the toxicity. This is especially important if you are going to cook them in a slow cooker.
I know you didn't ask for all this extra advice but it sounded from your post that you might be a "bean virgin" so I thought I'd give you the benefit of my 40-odd years experience with cooking beans. I'll now sit back and wait for the ensuing arguments