Cooking beans

I love adding beans to salads but can never cook them right. I've tried soaking (with baking soda) overnight then cooking low and slow on the stove but they never get soft (the longest I tried was 4hrs). When I cook over high heat, the beans burst. I don't add salt when cooking. Help!

  • Posted by: Sweets
  • January 30, 2013


Sweets January 31, 2013
So I took your advice. I went to a natural food store brought chickpeas from the bin. I then boiled for 2 minutes, let the chickpeas sit for 2 hours and then cooked them for about 90 mins. The chickpeas were amazing!! Thank you!!!
ChefJune January 31, 2013
Where are you buying your beans? They may not be fresh. Old beans never get soft enough. Try buying beans from a bulk bin, or order the fabulous heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo. They always get soft enough!
anntruelove January 31, 2013
Try a crock pot. Put in a pound of dried beans with plenty of water, set it on low, and cook overnight (~8 hours). In the morning they'll be perfect. You can drain off any of the liquid or find a way to use it since it's full of good beany flavor.
SKK January 30, 2013
Agree with both answers. And another possibility is your beans aren't fresh enough as droplet points to. If you can, buy from bulk bins because they turn over more often. Packaged beans in the grocery store are usually quite old.
Droplet January 30, 2013
Something is not right if you are cooking them for 4 hours and they don't get soft. When you say "low and slow" can you actually see simmering action in the water or is the surface completely still? What kind of beans do you cook? Some varieties are tougher by nature (red kidney for example) and you can try with a different variety as a start. In general it is best to buy beans from a place with a good turnaround because old beans take much longer to cook. Also, depending on where you live, if you have hard tap water that might be affecting your cooking time as well. The addition of baking soda is still favored by some, but it really isn't necessary and if you plan on making beans on a regular basis it is best to avoid adding the soda because it destroys the thyamin in beans. The last option for people who cook beans on a regular basis is a pressure cooker- they are not very cheap but can be of good use. Hope this helps.
micook January 30, 2013
I follow Mark Bittman's directions, which, in a nutshell, is: rinse the beans and pick them over, bring to a boil in plenty of water for two minutes. Turn off and let them sit for two hours. Then cook them for -- depending on the bean -- close to an hour . Taste one. If it is getting softer, not quite there, but close, salt them and finish cooking. Any of his books will give you directions . Remember, you most likely are going to use the beans in other recipes, so you don't want to over cook them. I just did a big pot of garbanzo beans this way ....
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