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Old 09-25-2006, 06:19 PM   #21
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Something occured to me about the issue of hard beans. Maybe the salt added to canned beans allows them to absorb more water, much like when you brine chicken. Thoughts?
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Old 09-25-2006, 06:34 PM   #22
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I always use dried beans and then cook them myself. Canned just don't taste right IMO.
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Old 09-25-2006, 07:01 PM   #23
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For chili, I use canned beans...Bush's Chili Hot Beans, with the sauce. I wish some of you would try them, just once.
I also use canned beans for my Killer Baked Beans...pork & beans with sauce, and then butterbeans, baby limas, great northern, cannelli beans, and crowder peas, all rinsed. The liquid isn't bad, if you need more juice, but it's awfully starchy...kinda remenicent of wallpaper paste.

I don't like red kidney or black beans in anything.

I use dried beans for bean soups. The soup does cook faster if you soak the beans. The way I do it is to put the beans in a large pot with enough water to cover the beans plus 2 inches. Bring to a boil, give them a stir, then cover and remove from heat. This method can be done in the morning, as it only takes a couple of hours.
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Old 09-25-2006, 07:58 PM   #24
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What do you folks think about my salt water theory?
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Old 09-25-2006, 10:46 PM   #25
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The salt would effect the absorption of water one way or the other. It's just there for the flavor. The beans are cooked either before going into the can or in the can. That's why they are soft and moist.
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Old 09-26-2006, 03:32 PM   #26
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I use canned beans in chili, salads, & soups where the beans aren't the main ingredient. These days the quality & variety of canned beans is quite high, & all one needs do is pour them into a colander, rinse, & drain, before use.

However, when the bean is the main ingredient in a recipe - like Black Bean Soup or Cassoulet - I always use dried beans & do the overnight soak before cooking thing. Have never had a problem with "hard" beans.
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Old 09-26-2006, 03:41 PM   #27
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Maybe I should ask what brand of dried beans you use, and how do you tell if they are fresh? The Navy beans I plan to cook have been floating around the cupboard for some time now.
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Old 09-26-2006, 04:07 PM   #28
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The general advice on buying beans is to get them from stores where there is likely to be a good turnover or that has bulk bins. My most recent favoritest kitchen pot is my pressure cooker. Absolutely love the ability to have a stew in 25 minutes--or a pot of beans in 20. I would go ahead and try yours--I've cooked some pretty old ones. Do the overnight soak however. It at least gives you a fighting chance.
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Old 09-26-2006, 04:18 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretchen
I would go ahead and try yours--I've cooked some pretty old ones. Do the overnight soak however. It at least gives you a fighting chance.
Thanks!
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Old 09-26-2006, 07:09 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking
I use canned beans in chili, salads, & soups where the beans aren't the main ingredient. These days the quality & variety of canned beans is quite high, & all one needs do is pour them into a colander, rinse, & drain, before use.

However, when the bean is the main ingredient in a recipe - like Black Bean Soup or Cassoulet - I always use dried beans & do the overnight soak before cooking thing. Have never had a problem with "hard" beans.
I've ususally preferred soaking and cooking dried beans. But this weekend we made a red beans and rice dish that called for two cans of red or kidney beans. I was skeptical, but it came out tasting great -- even better than my old stand-by that calls for dried beans.

One thing, though: I bought organic canned beans. They didn't have anything in them but beans and salt, unlike the other brands. I don't know whether that made the difference or not, but we were pleasantly suprised at the tasty results.
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