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Beans, Legumes, Pulses, Everything You Wanted to Know Part 3 – How to Prepare Dried Beans for Cooking
Beans, Legumes and Pulses
In the first part of Beans, Legumes, Pulses, Everything You Wanted to Know Part 1, we discussed why they are good for you and where you can purchase them. In the second part of Beans, Legumes, Pulses, Everything You Wanted to Know Part 2 - Identifying Beans, we sorted the common types used with a brief description of the characteristics of the individual beans along with a photo for easy identification. This now leads us to Part 3, what do we do next after purchasing the beans? You can store them in the cupboard for one year provided that the container is moisture and air proof or you can prepare them for cooking.
Preparing Dried Beans
Dried beans and dried whole peas must be soaked prior to cooking. This is an important step, and should not be shortened or overlooked. Remember that garbanzo beans, or commonly known as chick peas, are beans and must also be soaked. Lentils, split peas and black eyed peas do not require pre-soaking on the condition that they will be cooked to a minimum temperature of 100 0 C for at least 10 minutes to ensure the breakdown of phytates and lectins. There are two methods to soaking beans: the quick soak method and the slow soak method.
Method 1: Quick Soak Method
Quick Soak Method
First, sort through the beans. Discard broken and shrivelled beans, rocks, grit and grass. I also sort out any other legumes that do not belong in there. Second, place the beans in a large colander and place under cold, running water. Rinse the beans and gently move them around with your fingers. The water will be murky at first, but after a few minutes, will run clear. Let the beans drain.
Next, place the beans in a large cooking pot and cover with three times the volume of water. For example, one cup beans will require 3 cups water. Place on the stove and bring to a boil. Simmer for another 2-3 minutes and remove from heat. Let stand covered for at least one hour. Drain beans and rinse under cold running water. You can store the beans in the refrigerator or freezer until you are ready to cook them.
Method 2: Slow Soak Method
Slow Soak Method
Follow the sorting and washing instructions for the Quick Soak Method. Next, place the beans in a large bowl. Cover the beans with three times the volume of the beans with cold water. Allow the beans to sit for at least 8 hours or overnight in a cool place. When thoroughly soaked, drain the water and rinse with cold water. If you are not using them immediately, you can store them in the refrigerator.
What can I do with my soaked beans?
Now that your beans are soaked, you are ready to cook them or you can freeze them for later use. If you choose to freeze them, make sure that you label the bag with “Only Soaked, Not Cooked” so that they cannot be confused with cooked beans. If you use the uncooked beans in a salad, you will be in for a surprise!
Beans can be cooked in chillis, soups, stews and casseroles. For these dishes, the beans can be cooked direct with the recipe as long as the beans have a 45 minute cooking time. If you are using garbanzo beans or chick peas, the time will have to be lengthened to 1 hour and 20 minutes.
You can toss your salad and vegetables with cooked beans. They add a nutty flavour, texture and fibre into the dish. For cooking times for various beans, see the following chart. The method of cooking the beans follows the chart.
Suggested Cooking Time for Beans – Soaked
30 - 35 minutes
Chick Pea (Garbanzo)
1 hour 20 minutes
40 - 45 minutes
Kidney (Red or White)
35 - 40 minutes
55 - 60 minutes
35 - 40 minutes
30 - 35 minutes
30 - 35 minutes
Suggested Cooking Times for Beans – Unsoaked
20 - 25 minutes
20 - 25 minutes
I cooked the beans according to the chart times, but my beans are not cooked!
This can happen with old beans that have been on the market shelf too long. Remedy this by shopping at another locale that has higher frequency of shoppers purchasing legumes. If the beans are not old and you live at a high altitude, adjust the cooking time. You will need more time to cook them as the higher you are, the longer the cooking time. If it isn’t altitude or freshness, then it could be the water. If you have hard water, you will have to keep cooking. Try the “bite” test as you cook to gauge the softness of the beans. If the beans do not soften, then throw them out.
How do I convert dried and canned measurements?
How much is enough?
As you know, all dried ingredients when soaked will expand. Generally for most beans, 1 cup will yield 2 ¼ cup – 2 ½ cups cooked beans. The exception to the rule are garbanzo beans or chick peas, lima beans and Great Northern beans. For these types of beans, 1 cup will yield 2 ½ cup to 3 cups cooked.
Cooking with dried beans requires some planning for the night before cooking. Sometimes, we may not have the time and turn to the more convenient canned bean or lentil. We can use these in recipes and substitute for the cooked beans. In these cases, canned beans are sold by the ounce not by the cup. The following chart provides the canned equivalent for cups.
Size of Can
Amount in Cups or mL
14 oz./398 mL
= 1-1/2 cups/375 mL
19 oz./540 mL
= 2-1/4 cups/540 mL
28 oz./796 mL
= 3 - 3-1/4 cups/750 - 796 mL
You're now ready to cook!!
Your beans are ready for cooking!
Beans are extremely versatile as they can be used in salads, soups, appetizers, main dishes and, yes, dessert. As an appetizer, there is nothing tastier than a good hummus with roasted pita or naan bread. Accompanied with a feta garbanzo salad, this makes a filling meal.
Lentils are fabulous in main dishes. One that I often serve is lentil pie with a side of Sarah’s Caesar salad and a fresh fruit smoothie. For the ones who love chilli, I have a special chilli that I make. It’s not super hot, but has an added twist of sweetness to it. I call it my Sweet Chilli and served with fresh French baguette and warmed butter, it’s to die for! I could go on and on with a few more recipes, but I’d rather go and cook. Let’s get ready and head to the kitchen!
Copyright June 7, 2010
Pressure Cookers Reduce Cooking Time
Look out! It's another HUBMOB !!! (and one for the June Hublicious Foody Contest)
© 2010 Beth100