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Old 01-11-2015, 09:18 AM   #1
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Bean Cooking Method Comparison

The subject of cooking beans has come up numerous times here. Some say to soak overnight; others say you shouldn't. The decision on whether or not to salt the cooking liquid also seems to be controversial.

I stumbled across this article in the LA Times. The author took the time to experiment with different bean cooking methods. It's a few months old now, but I thought I'd post a link for those who are interested.

Don't soak your dried beans! Now even the cool kids agree - LA Times

FWIW, I made up a pot of beans every week for almost 20 years. I always soaked, and I always used salt. Soaking seems to make for softer beans, and I liked my beans to be somewhat mushy. I could see where some might prefer them a little more al dente, though.

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Old 01-11-2015, 04:40 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Kroll View Post
The subject of cooking beans has come up numerous times here. Some say to soak overnight; others say you shouldn't. The decision on whether or not to salt the cooking liquid also seems to be controversial.

I stumbled across this article in the LA Times. The author took the time to experiment with different bean cooking methods. It's a few months old now, but I thought I'd post a link for those who are interested.

Don't soak your dried beans! Now even the cool kids agree - LA Times

FWIW, I made up a pot of beans every week for almost 20 years. I always soaked, and I always used salt. Soaking seems to make for softer beans, and I liked my beans to be somewhat mushy. I could see where some might prefer them a little more al dente, though.
First question - Who are the "cool kids"?

Second question - Do we care?

What commercial canners of beans do is somewhat irrelevant to the rest of us home cooks.

I soak for economy. Putting beans in cold water the night before I need them is no great effort, doesn't cast anything and I don't have to stand and watch them soak so they don't impinge on my time - I'm sleeping! Soaking cuts down the cooking time and if you've ever looked at the disc on your meter (if you have one) when the stove is lit you'll do about anything to cut down what you have to pay the gas or electricity company.

Still, it's up to you. Do what you like, I do.
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Old 01-11-2015, 04:43 PM   #3
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Incidentally, the way to avoid flatulence is to throw away the soaking water and to cook the beans in fresh.
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Old 01-11-2015, 05:05 PM   #4
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I never soak my beans, but I'm retired and have plenty of time to enjoy letting them cook as long as it takes with regular checks to stir and evaluate their progress.

I've found that waiting until they are done to salt them means they will be more tender. I like them mushy.

i do, however, soak large lima beans (butterbeans) overnight so that I can remove the hard shells. This results in a cream of butterbean soup which is my favorite.
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Old 01-11-2015, 05:10 PM   #5
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I soak for economy. Putting beans in cold water the night before I need them is no great effort, doesn't cast anything and I don't have to stand and watch them soak so they don't impinge on my time - I'm sleeping! Soaking cuts down the cooking time and if you've ever looked at the disc on your meter (if you have one) when the stove is lit you'll do about anything to cut down what you have to pay the gas or electricity company.
It's interesting that several members from the UK in the last few months have specifically mentioned being concerned about cooking times, asking how long certain methods take or what long oven roasting or braising would cost. Here in the U.S., I doubt anyone who can afford Internet access gives it a thought at all.
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Old 01-11-2015, 06:40 PM   #6
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I put them in a pressure cooker, then prepare.
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Old 01-11-2015, 06:47 PM   #7
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It's interesting that several members from the UK in the last few months have specifically mentioned being concerned about cooking times, asking how long certain methods take or what long oven roasting or braising would cost. Here in the U.S., I doubt anyone who can afford Internet access gives it a thought at all.
Lucky you. You don't have our gas and electricity prices!

Anyway, what's wrong with practising practical home economy? I, and many of my compatriots who post here, were brought up in the aftermath of the privations of the second world war (and food rationing didn't end in the UK until 1954) by parents who had learned the hard way not to waste resources and to make do and mend.

The world is going to hell in a handcart because of what the human race is wasting today.
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Old 01-11-2015, 07:11 PM   #8
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I didn't say there was anything wrong with it. Just that I thought it interesting that it was brought up several times by UK members. We are indeed lucky in that regard. There are always tradeoffs.
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Old 01-11-2015, 07:33 PM   #9
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I've done beans in the CP, rinsed, no soaking, and they turned out great.

Regarding electricity charges, I know in Mexico and some parts of the Caribbean where we've been, rent may be cheap, but the electricity charges can more than double the cost. Crazy.
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Old 01-11-2015, 08:08 PM   #10
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Mad Cook et al, I remember watching old British movies and sometimes a person needed to put a schilling in the gas meter for heat or cooking; noted because sometimes they needed to borrow that shilling Also, after WW2, the UK continued to ration until 1952, which is a long time.

--

I use the quick soaking method, bring to a boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat and cover and let sit one hour. Change water and proceed.

I do this because Mostly I don't plan ahead to soak overnight. Works fine.

I do not add salt (if any) until near the end of cooking, esp if using a ham bone or ham hocks.
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