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Cooking Dried Beans


fifi
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Rachel, I would do that if I had the freezer space. Right now I am making do with just the little freezer over the fridge in this lousy apartment refrigerator. Then there is the problem that I get some hairbrained idea of a recipe I want to try. :biggrin: I just can't stand not knowing what is going on with these beans. I have two more jars, pintos and black beans, and I am tempted to cook them just to see if the same thing happens.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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weird stuff. i can't really tell you what happened with any degree of certainty. i can offer a couple of possibilities.

1) i don't think a month or two should have been enough to make all of the difference, though it could possiblyhave made some of the difference in combination with other factors.

2) oven temperature: how accurate is your oven? this, too, can change over time. ovens especially tend to be wobbly at low temperatures.

3) difference in lid? it sounds wierd, but having a tightly sealed top makes all the difference. i don't have my notes in front of me, but the difference between cooking time for beans with the lid on and with the lid off was something like 2 1/2 hours. i know you wouldn't cook them with the lid off, but if it was ajar, it might have made a difference.

4) water? one of the biggest factors in over-long cooking is the alkalinity of the water. and that changes all the time. from time to time, i've had split peas that absolutely refused to soften, no matter the cooking time. it might be that the alkalinity was slightly higher.

i guess the bottom line is that there are so many possible variables, i always allow for plenty of margin of error when i'm cooking beans. in fact, i usually do them in advance and then reheat them (they actually taste better this way).

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QUESTION:

I'm slightly embarrassed to admit, that, despite this thread I pre-soaked some supermarket white navy beans...

I let them soak for ~ 1 1/2 days rather than "overnight".

When I looked at them today, there were some bubbles, apparently looking like some slight fermentation occurred. They also have a slight fermented, yeasty type smell.

Are these safe to cook?

If safe, will they taste bad? good?

Thanks!

(it's easy to just throw them out, but I'm curious if any one know the answer to this).

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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weird stuff. i can't really tell you what happened with any degree of certainty. i can offer a couple of possibilities.

1) i don't think a month or two should have been enough to make all of the difference, though it could possiblyhave made some of the difference in combination with other factors.

2) oven temperature: how accurate is your oven? this, too, can change over time. ovens especially tend to be wobbly at low temperatures.

3) difference in lid? it sounds wierd, but having a tightly sealed top makes all the difference. i don't have my notes in front of me, but the difference between cooking time for beans with the lid on and with the lid off was something like 2 1/2 hours. i know you wouldn't cook them with the lid off, but if it was ajar, it might have made a difference.

4) water? one of the biggest factors in over-long cooking is the alkalinity of the water. and that changes all the time. from time to time, i've had split peas that absolutely refused to soften, no matter the cooking time. it might be that the alkalinity was slightly higher.

i guess the bottom line is that there are so many possible variables, i always allow for plenty of margin of error when i'm cooking beans. in fact, i usually do them in advance and then reheat them (they actually taste better this way).

You make good points but that is what makes this so weird.

1) The time difference was at most 2 months, in a sealed canning jar. I can't imagine that making a difference either. The only other difference from a bag of beans in the pantry is the exposure to light since the jars are out on the bar. I can't imagine a mechanism that would cause that to make a difference.

2) Unless the independent oven thermometer is broke, the temperature is the same, 250. Burbling rate is always the same when I do the water check at 1 hour.

3) Actually, the same pot, my 2 1/2 quart Le Creuset. Even opening the lid to check the water level is the same. I set the timer for 1 hour, check the water, lid back on. I set the timer and check again at 2 hours. (Note, I have never had to add water.)

4) Same water. Our water source doesn't fluctuate significantly as to pH or hardness. I know this because they send out the analyses periodically and I am interested enough in such things to actually read it. :wacko: We do get chlorine hits but only in the summer.

I still have the black beans and pintos in the same situation. I may just have to sacrifice them. If those two take an additional 45 minutes, I may just run screaming into the night. My curiosity is killing me.

I agree on the overnight sojourn in the fridge. The white beans with the hard spots were almost unpleasant. After a snooze in the fridge, they came out fine.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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  • 3 weeks later...

Anyone tried this method with Corona beans?

They are gigantic (around the size of a small thumb before they're cooked) and I am a little concerned that they'll take forever to cook and get all torn up on the outside if I don't soak them. The thing is that Corona beans are quite expensive, so I'm a little hesitant to do the trial and error thing.

--

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Anyone tried this method with Corona beans?

They are gigantic (around the size of a small thumb before they're cooked) and I am a little concerned that they'll take forever to cook and get all torn up on the outside if I don't soak them.  The thing is that Corona beans are quite expensive, so I'm a little hesitant to do the trial and error thing.

My sister did some big lima beans and they seemed to take about the same amount of time and water. I would just do what I do when trying a new bean, I check on them in an hour or so and add water if needed. My thinking is that the only thing the size of the bean may do is cause it to take a bit longer. In fact, I would be more concerned about them falling apart when soaked. From watching beans with the non-soak method, they don't seem to go through that wrinkled skin stage as much. My experience with garbanzos is that I get less loose skins without soaking. But, I know nothing about Corona beans. Please enlighten.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I cook very large "butter" beans, AKA large limas - I grew up calling them butter beans and simply can't get my brain to record them as limas.

They are very large and yet the regular overnight soaking time is fine.

I also use scarlet runners and white runners which are comparable in size.

The corona beans I have had are a little larger than the large limas and a little fatter.

Fifi, this site

has info about the corona beans (and other Italian beans)

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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QUESTION:I'm slightly embarrassed to admit, that, despite this thread I pre-soaked some supermarket white navy beans... I let them soak for ~ 1 1/2 days rather than "overnight".When I looked at them today, there were some bubbles, apparently looking like some slight fermentation occurred. They also have a slight fermented, yeasty type smell.re these safe to cook?If safe, will they taste bad? good?Thanks!(it's easy to just throw them out, but I'm curious if any one know the answer :

I don't know about fermented navy beans, but I have made bread and bread rusks with a leavening made with soaked chickpeas left to ferment until bubbling. The rusks are very popular in tomato salads in Cyprus, Greece and South-eastern Turkey. If you are still curious, check out the recipe for Chickpea-Leavened Bread and Rusk Salad

http://www.paulawolfert.com/recipes/chickpeas.html

Edited by Wolfert (log)

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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  • 1 month later...

More beanery: I have a very good client who uses Runner Cannellini as part of his signature dish. He was happy with the taste but he told me too many of the beans were falling apart, making for a delicious soup but that's not what he was after. Runner Cannellini are even softer than regular cannellini ("bush" beans) and there is some breakage, but nothing like 50%. I cooked the beans again and couldn't replicate his problem. We talked and it turns out he salts right out the gate and I always wait until I can smell beans (which is almost completely cooked).

We switched and he tried my method and I tried his and we were able to replicate the other's beans. Moral: salting up front can change the texture and stability of the beans.

There is a wonderful moment when your pot smells not so much like the vegetables or stock you seasoned them with but actual beans. They are almost finished at this point and I think this is when I'd suggest salting.

I've also been experimenting with the Wolfert/McGhee method of cooking with only a little water and I think I prefer it. I soak covered by 2 inches and cook covered by 1 inch, which is a lot less than I used to do. I love pot liquor but there's still plenty and what you get is richer and deeper flavored. I haven't noticed the beans cooking faster but I've also switched exclusively to clay pots and the technique generally takes longer anyway.

A few notes from the laboratory. I cook beans almost daily, FWIW.

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  • 9 months later...

Do you have a pressure cooker? If so, you can cook the beans in 1/3 the time with no soaking. the texture isn't quite as good as with regularly cooked beans, but it's great for last minute beans and especially in soups, I think.

I cook all my beans without soaking anyways, as recommended in a number of places on this site, so if you have time before dinner, you could just do that !! They take a bit longer, but are much less prone to bursting.

Good luck!

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I don't think soaking makes much of a difference in cooking time, Wendy, so unless it's dinner in a hurry, you should be just fine.

Canned beans work, however they can mush if you cook them very long (I always make sure and have a couple of cans of Canellini's and black beans on hand.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I cook all my beans without soaking anyways, as recommended in a number of places on this site, so if you have time before dinner, you could just do that !!  They take a bit longer, but are much less prone to bursting.

Me, too. I figured Rick Bayless and Rancho Gordo couldn't both be wrong. :)

Edited to add: I wouldn't use canned beans unless you're going to puree them, or they're a small part of the recipe (which doesn't seem to be the case here).

~A

Edited by ScorchedPalate (log)

Anita Crotty travel writer & mexican-food addictwww.marriedwithdinner.com

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Try the fast bean covered cooking method:

Cooking beans the no-soak way a la Russ Parsons

Rachel and I have done it several times with great results.

Cooking unsoaked beans in a covered Le Creuset

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Not soaking beans is one of the great lessons EGullet tought me.

Sometimes I cook them in the oven, sometimes simply in a pan on the stove. I just cooked a large pan of white beans, they were ready in a little under 2 hours. (Maybe they were ready sooner, but that's when I checked :smile: )

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I don't always soak beans, in fact, I usually don't think about making beans until it is too late to soak them.

So I use a similar method to that mentioned above. I have an Instahot water dispenser. I pick over the bean, rinse them in a colander then dump them into a thick crock that holds the heat well, add hot water to cover plus a half inch or so and let them "soak" for 20 to 30 minutes then transfer to a pot and onto the stove.

Depending on how fresh the beans are they will be done in 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

However if the beans are old, they will never soften, soaked or not, no matter how long your cook them. So be sure they haven't been hanging around in your cupboard for over a year.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I would never skip the soaking of 'old world' beans such as garbanzo and favas

On the other hand, I am intriqued by the pressure cooker method and can't wait to try it with white beans---especially for a simple soup.

For salads and some dishes such as cassoulet, I think it is very desirable to fully soak beans overnight. Then if you cook the completely swollen beans in a minimum amount of liquid along with aromatics the final dish is more flavorful.

Edited by Wolfert (log)

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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I agree it really depends on the beans. I did a test recently with the runner cannellini from Rancho Gordo. I didn't soak the first batch and it took forever to cook. I soaked the second batch overnight in the refrigerator and they seemed so much creamier and cooked faster as well. I think I'll always soak this type of bean.

I worked with a cook years back who soaked some beans over the weekend, and came in to find they had sprouted! Since then, I make sure I soak in the refrigerator and for no more than overnight.

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