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Old 01-04-2005, 12:43 AM   #1
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Soaking beans before cooking....

Is it really needed? Or can I just cook my soups longer??

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Old 01-04-2005, 12:53 AM   #2
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According to Cook's Illustrated, soaking beans is not necessary. I have always soaked my beans overnight, but I have a ham bone that is just crying for me to make some soup with and I am going to try not soaking my dried beans and see what happens!
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Old 01-04-2005, 01:40 AM   #3
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I always have either soaked the beans overnight in cold water or used the quick soak method - bring the beans to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes. Then cover the beans and set-aside for at least 1 hour.


This website below maybe of some help.

http://www.calbeans.com/BEAN%20BASICS.html
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Old 01-04-2005, 01:44 AM   #4
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Gas issues aside... It depends what beans you're using and how old they are.

A small bean such as a lentil or a split bean (such a split pea) - those don't require soaking as the water penetrates those fairly easily.

As dried beans age, they lose moisture. The older they get, the more dense/impenetrable the center of the bean becomes. Soaking helps water reach the center of the bean. If the center isn't moist, it won't cook/soften for quite some time. If the bean is old enough, that could be indefinitely.

Another facet to this picture is that skins get tough the longer they cook, so if it takes 2, 3 hours to get the center soft, chances are you're looking at a tough skin.

If you buy your beans from a supermarket that you know has good turnaround and cook them up immediately, sure, you might get away with not soaking them. Otherwise, it's a good insurance policy for beans that may/may not be old. If you cook the beans and 2 hours later the center is still hard, that will be an indication that the beans shoud have been soaked.
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Old 01-04-2005, 11:24 AM   #5
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I second Scott on all that he said, but will add that soaking beans and changing the soaking water often helps cut down on gas. The sugars (? ogliosaccharides??) in the beans dissolve some in the soaking water.
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Old 01-04-2005, 01:40 PM   #6
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From my email files, another discussion on soaking beans.

There is no purpose. I've read that soaking takes the farts out of
the beans, but I have found in real life, it just isn't so. I've also read
or heard that it speeds up the cooking time. Let's see....Soak the beans
overnite (8 hrs) then simmer for two hours. That's 10 hours total. Or...simmer unsoaked beans for 2-3 hours until done. That's 2-3 hours
versus 10. Whatcha think?

Bean info
http://missvickie.com/howto/beans/bean-categories.html
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Old 01-04-2005, 02:16 PM   #7
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I'm with the pro-soakers. I find when I want to cook with dried beans, I have to cook them quite a long time to get them dish-ready. (But I cook them on the low setting in a crockpot, so that extends the cooking time.)

My concern about your thought to cook the beans in the soup is that if you end up having to cook them for a long time to get them tender, the other ingredients in your soup will have turned to mush. And if you plan to add the other ingredients later ... well, you're essentially back to cooking the beans to soften them as an initial step.

Incidentally, if you're wanting to save time by eliminating the pre-cooking stage, you might think about doing them in the crockpot, if you have one. That's why I do it. I can set the thing on low and forget about it. I soak the dried beans overnight, then rinse them and dump them in the crock with fresh water to cover, turn it on, and eight or so hours later, they're ready for me to do whatever with them.


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Old 01-05-2005, 03:40 PM   #8
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I go with the quick-soak method Sierra Cook mentioned. Made both some outstanding red beans rice and our traditional New Year's Day black-eyed peas using this method. Doesn't seem to fail.
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Old 01-05-2005, 10:52 PM   #9
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I'm with Cats, I love my crockpot for cooking beans. I try to do this whenever possible. But using my crock pot, I don't even bother presoaking them. I just rinse and toss into the pot and turn it on. I have a real cheap crockpot, just has on/off switch. (Best $5 investment I ever made. :) ) I do this before I head to work and by the time I get home, my beans are cooked perfectly.
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Old 01-07-2005, 09:25 AM   #10
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Soaking beans does not eliminate the sugars that cause gas from beans, but it will reduce them. However, it reduces flavor also. For gas problems use Beano. I do soak my beans, I get a more desireable texture from beans that were soaked overnight but I use the soak water to cook the beans to retain the flavors leeched into the water and for me personally gas usually isn't an issue. It may add 8 hours to the time from when you started them, but that can be 8 hours while you are sleeping, they are just sittiing there in water, not cooking or anything so they don't need to be tended to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainee
From my email files, another discussion on soaking beans.

There is no purpose. I've read that soaking takes the farts out of
the beans, but I have found in real life, it just isn't so. I've also read
or heard that it speeds up the cooking time. Let's see....Soak the beans
overnite (8 hrs) then simmer for two hours. That's 10 hours total. Or...simmer unsoaked beans for 2-3 hours until done. That's 2-3 hours
versus 10. Whatcha think?

Bean info
http://missvickie.com/howto/beans/bean-categories.html
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