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Old 07-15-2007, 09:30 PM   #1
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Need pressure cooker help!

I am going to be making freezer burritos tomorrow as I talked about in another thread, and I've decided to make my own refried beans for them. I want to use my pressure cooker. It is a large one, also used for pressure canning. Does anyone have experience pressure cooking beans? I've looked online for tips, because my manual says to not cook beans or grains in the pressure cooker. I'm sure this is a blanket statement for liability sake. Beans tend to foam alot when cooking, and their concern is that the foam, or loose skins from the beans may clog the steam vent, causing pressure problems.
As I said, I've seen directions online for it, but I would like to hear some personal experiences if anyone has them before I do this. My plan is to only fill the pressure cooker 1/2 full and add oil to prevent foaming. Can anyone help me?

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Old 07-15-2007, 10:16 PM   #2
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I've never done beans in the pc. I know the others here have. Just hang around, I'm sure someone will chime in soon!
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Old 07-15-2007, 10:28 PM   #3
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I believe you have to be careful of foaming when using a PC for beans. Don't some recipes call for oil in the water?
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Old 07-16-2007, 12:53 AM   #4
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Yep - for every cup of dried beans put 1 TBS of oil in the mixture and use 4 cups of water. You do NOT want the foam to clog up the escaping steam. Also, use the quick release method when cooling them down.
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Old 07-16-2007, 03:38 AM   #5
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I come from a long line of beans-in-the-pressure-cooker people. My mother would do this every other week or so, as did her mother before her. I've only made beans that way a dozen times or so.

For what it's worth, I've never heard of this being an issue. My advice: don't worry about it. I'd advise against putting oil in there either, unless you want oily beans. Family recipe:

Pinto beans
Water to cover, plus 4 inches or so
Whole onion, peeled
Red chile powder
Salt

There are a few schools of thought on preparing the beans (other than sorting them, which I highly recommend). One is to soak them overnight in salted water, then discard the water, rinse and cook. Another is to bring them to a boil, discard the water, rinse and cook. My mother confided in me that she always does one or the other, but she doubted it really made much difference.

Good luck on your burritos, let us know how they turn out.
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Old 07-16-2007, 08:50 AM   #6
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I make beans in a pressure cooker weekly and have done so for the past 10 years. I never add oil, but I also never, ever fill the pressure cooker to more than 2/3 full when cooking beans.

Refried beans are cooked until soft and then they are fried in a frying pan usually with lard (pig fat) or bacon fat. If you are going to fry the beans in oil or fat after softening them in the pressure cooker the it does not matter if you add oil to the water in the pressure cooker. Not all pressure relief valves are made the same and some oil may be a prudent ingredient to add just to suppress or reduce the foaming action of the protein in the beans.

I never use anything but fresh tap water to soak the beans before cooking. Your salt should be added to the beans after cooking and any other herbs, spice and flavors should be added during cooking.

Traditional refried beans are, I believe, pinto beans. I use a combination of pinto beans and black beans (4 to 1 ratio) because the black beans break down long before the pinto beans and provide a nice mushy gravy consistency to the mix.
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Old 07-16-2007, 10:13 AM   #7
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I cook all types of beans in my pressure cooker. Being Indian majority of our food includes beans of all kinds.

Here are a few tips to cook them without a problem or a big mess on your hand or ceiling

Soak the beans overnight in plentiful water. Next morning drain the beans and water in a colander. Ensure you put plenty of water to rinse the beans out.

Add enough water to cover the beans and then as KitchenElf wisely indicated add a tbsp of oil to the water. Don't worry your beans will not be oily. Beans have so much starch that the oil is all absorbed. The oil helps prevent sticking of the beans as well (they tend to do that as they cook down)

Finally cook the beans on medium low if you can and follow the directions of your cooker. For example I have a Seb (French) pressure cooker that indicates that I have to start my cooking at 1 and then move it to 2. I follow that closely but when I move it to 2 I reduce the heat lower and that avoids the steam from accumulating too fast.
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Old 07-16-2007, 10:30 AM   #8
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one of my favorite cookbooks was put out by the Michigan Bean Commission. It is a booklet on every thing you could possibly want to know about beans.

Yes, you can cook dried beans in a pressure cooker. Their recommendation is to soak the beans overnight in water. Drain water. Add beans to the pressure cooker. The cooker should be no more than 1/3 full. Add water to cover and add 1 tablespoon of oil to reduce foaming. Secure lid, cook at 10 pounds pressure for 20 minutes.
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Old 07-16-2007, 11:13 AM   #9
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Thanks so much for all your replies. I feel a lot better about doing this now. I'll let you know how they turn out, as this is my first time. Wish I could have you all over for burritos! :-)
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Old 07-16-2007, 11:54 AM   #10
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I use the pressure cooker all the time for beans. I made baked beans over the weekend and last weekend I made refried beans. I've never added oil in the 20 years or so I've been doing it.

Anyway, for refritos I cook up pinto beans and diced onion in some well seasoned liquid, then I mash them up and "fry" them with just a little oil, and add seasoning and maybe some extras like chopped cilantro or jalepenos, depending on my mood.
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