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Old 07-10-2006, 05:51 PM   #11
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I've read numerous times that it's best not to salt dried beans durring cooking as this can toughen them up. As a result I now only salt my dried pulses once they're done cooking. I do agree with the group here though, chances are they're just old beans that have passed their prime.
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Old 07-10-2006, 07:44 PM   #12
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Jess:

The salt story is actually false. You can salt your beans right away. That will ensure better tasting beans. The thing to avoid is acidic ingredients until the beans are softened.
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Old 07-10-2006, 07:47 PM   #13
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Thanks, Andy Good to know. I've heard it both ways, even from TV chefs, but I'll certainly take your word for it
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Old 07-10-2006, 09:00 PM   #14
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How old is too old? I just cleaned out my pantry cupboard yesterday, and came across some black beans I think I bought in December of '05. Is that too old?
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Old 07-11-2006, 11:26 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandyj
How old is too old? I just cleaned out my pantry cupboard yesterday, and came across some black beans I think I bought in December of '05. Is that too old?
Maybe.

It all depends on how long they were sitting on the store shelf before you bought them. It's good to buy beans at places with high turnover. I try to buy my dry black beans at hispanic markets or supermarkets with significant hispanic clientle. Also, health food stores generally sell better dry beans than the plastic bags in the supermarket.

And, Andy is right about salt. It's good.
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Old 07-11-2006, 12:24 PM   #16
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I agree with Claire. I, too, use canned beans now. I always rinse them to remove the gassy liquid and then they are instantly ready for any type of recipe. When I used to soak beans, I always used a small amount of baking soda in the water and then rinsed the beans before cooking to remove the soda and gases. Sure hope you have better luck with your next batch of beans!
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Old 07-14-2006, 08:04 AM   #17
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I ended up putting them in a crockpot with chicken broth overnight. They did soften but I didn't enjoy the amount of effort it took. I think I'll work with the canned most of the time from now on.
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Old 01-27-2014, 01:33 PM   #18
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I found the solution! I know that acids prevent the softening of the beans, so I wondered if some alkalinization would help. I added several tablespoons of baking soda to the beans while they boiled and within minutes they were soft. This produced a great deal of foam to skim off, which would indicate that they had previously been on the acidic side. (Volcanos with baking soda and vinegar come to mind). I checked the pH of the water after this procedure and it was off the chart, somewhere above 9. It worked!
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Old 01-27-2014, 02:46 PM   #19
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Baking soda works but adds kind of a weird taste, in my opinion.

Age of the beans aside, "Modernist Cuisine" claims the time it takes to cook beans also depends on the hardness of your water. If you have hard water and consistently have trouble getting beans to soften, they suggest using distilled water.
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Old 01-27-2014, 03:19 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by erinmself View Post
I always soak my beans overnight before cooking them.
I do the same thing. And would this step provide proof the beans were still good?
I am asking. If you soak them and they swell up, would that prove they are not old and viable for cooking?
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