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Old 10-20-2011, 04:17 PM   #1
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ISO help w/dried black beans

Can;t get them to soften. What about using an alkali such as baking soda of lye as in making hominy? then rinsing thoroughly ...?? anyone tried these or other ways with success?

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Old 10-20-2011, 04:25 PM   #2
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If dried beans are old, they will never soften.
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Old 10-20-2011, 04:47 PM   #3
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Are they old? Because that has been my experience too - old beans are hard beans.
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Old 10-20-2011, 05:29 PM   #4
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Yes, it's most likely because they are old.
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Old 10-20-2011, 05:40 PM   #5
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Another vote for old beans. Stores sometimes don't swap out their stock, I try to check the expiration date, which can be hard to find.
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Old 10-20-2011, 06:17 PM   #6
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In my experience, old beans will eventually soften. The skins might remain a bit hard (chewy?), but the insides will soften eventually.
What I have found, is not to add salt or acid ( tomatoes, vinegar, etc) until after the beans are tender. I know those items are somewhat controversial as to if they really prevent beans from softening, but in my experience that is the case.
Baking soda does seem to help beans to soften, again, in my experience. I understand it destroys certain vitamins (B?) however.
Try to find the "freshest" dried beans you can. Hispanic markets generally seem to have a high turnover of black, and pinto, beans so they might be a place to go for fresher dried beans.
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Old 10-21-2011, 02:48 AM   #7
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Thanks to all! I surmised if acidic ingredients make them harder, maybe alkaline would soften them. So, before I got these replies, I added baking soda, a "base" or alkaline item, brought them to a boil, then turned down to simmer for over an hour, and they were now softened! Rinsed them thoroughly, and now can use them with onion, tomato, some garlic and maybe add a little brown sugar or honey.
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Old 10-21-2011, 11:35 AM   #8
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Wow! Good to know that trick :)
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