Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Other options......

Perhaps you already know about soaking beans prior to using them. But there are other options. I will list them below:

1. Overnight soaking: Reportedly beans retain their shape better if you do this. Some individuals suggest that you put in a teaspoon of salt for every 3 cups of water. Other sources suggest that you do not use salt to soak your beans as they reportedly make the skin tough. You get to experiment and decide:) Just an FYI, if you are soaking Garbanzo beans, you need to do this in the refrigerator as they may ferment if you leave them on the counter.

2. Quick soaking: This method requires you to put in 8 cups of water for every pound of beans. Bring the mixture to a boil for a couple of minutes and turn off the heat. Let the beans soak for about 1 hour.

3. Pressure Cooker: There are 2 methods I am familiar with. The first states that you should only fill your pressure cooker to 1/3 of its capacity due to foaming of the beans. There is another option as well. In this second option, you put the beans into a metal bowl, inside of your pressure cooker....with water etc for pressuring as usual. This reportedly helps cut down on the foaming problem. You can always add a tablespoon of oil to cut down on foaming. It takes about 5-7 minutes on average to cook beans this way. Please check the manual to your Pressure cooker for more details.

4. Microwave: Check your manual to learn how to "simmer" the beans in your Microwave. You need a very large container to allow for expansion, foaming, etc.

If you are looking for recipes, do a search. I have found recipes from:,,,,,   and there are many, many more!

Two books that I recommend are: 

Country Beans is by Rita Bingham...and is full of ideas and recipes. You don't use beans just for soups and stews, and she shows you a variety of ways to use them.

This book by Peggy Layton, entitled "Cookin' with Beans and Rice" is also very helpful.

(Some of the information noted above comes from these two sources).

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