Sunday, May 1, 2011

How To: Soak Dried Beans

In a previous post I briefly discussed why you should soak your grains, nuts and legumes. Today I will walk you through soaking your dried beans before you cook them. This will make your beans easier to digest (less gas!) and they will cook up faster.

For each cup of dried beans you plan to cook, you will need 1 tablespoon of whey or lemon juice.

Rinse your dried beans under cold water and place in a stainless steel or glass container. Cover you beans with several inches of filtered water. Add the appropriate amount of whey or lemon juice. Cover and let sit on the counter for 12-24 hours.

Dump out your soaking water and rinse the beans. Place the soaked beans in a pot and cover with several inches of water. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Skim off and discard any foam that rises to the top (gas!). Turn the heat down and simmer until the beans are bite-tender. Different size beans will have different cooking times. Most beans will cook in 1-2 hours.

I like to cook several pounds of beans at a time and then freeze them in recycled jars (I save most of my glass jars from store bought pickles, salsa, etc). I just measure out 14-16 ounces of beans and liquid then put them in jars and pop in the freezer. I always have "cans" of soaked beans ready to use. Just don't forget to allow them time to thaw. It's hard getting frozen beans out of glass jars!

Soaking and cooking up your favorite dried beans will be better for you and save you money! Here's a little "math with beans" lesson for you:

A 5 lb bag of organic black beans cost $9.35 and produced the equivalent of 10, 15 ounce cans of beans. That breaks down to $.93/can. If you buy cans of organic black beans you'll spend $1.45 each! That's a 64% savings! Woot!

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