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I am now beginning hour 3 of cooking giant dried lima beans which had been soaked overnight (and then some) before I started cooking them. They are still as crunchy as a cracker! What happened? Could it be related to the fact that most of their their skins came off in the soaking? Are these beans really old? Is there any point to continuing? I'm ready to pour them in the compost pile.

asked by Eliana60 over 6 years ago
8 answers 2904 views
79ca7fa3 11e3 4829 beae d200649eab49  walken the walk

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added over 6 years ago

The skins should come off in soaking. That's a good thing. But I think you are right, they might be really old if they are still that hard.

Cfdd183b f2d3 436f abf5 4a8285003ba1  monica
added over 6 years ago

I had this happen with chick peas once--even after cooking for 8+ hours--I read somewhere that this can happen when the beans are really old. Don't know of a fix, though...

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added over 6 years ago

it sounds like they're old. just cook 'em for another hour or two and see if it makes a difference. i once cooked dried chickpeas for like 5 hours! but then they were fine.

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added over 6 years ago

I had the same experience recently with some gigantes. But after cooking them for hours and hours, and then seasoning them and baking them for even more time, they were quite delicious. They never got really tender, they still had some bite, but they were very tasty. (Of course, the flavor probably had more to do with what I added to them than the beans themselves!) The thing is -- would I want to spend that much gas (stove) and electricity (oven) again just to save some over-the-hill beans?? Probably not.

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added over 6 years ago

Try adding 1/8 -1/4 tsp of baking soda to the water, it should soften them up in no time.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added over 6 years ago

The older dry beans get, the harder they are to cook. It's one of the things you check when you inspect a large shipment of dry beans (ie. by the boxcar...I used to work for World Food Programme). The baking soda tip is a good one and may work, otherwise, I'd toss them. No way of knowing how long you'll have to cook them before the soften.

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added over 6 years ago

This is one of the reasons I almost always cook my dry beans in a pressure cooker. See Lorna Sass' page for details: http://pressurecookingwithlornasass...

Fd116375 451e 4017 948e fac0f670ad4b  100 0933
added over 6 years ago

Thanks all. In hour 4 I finally tossed them. But I appreciate the baking soda tip and will try it next time. I'm still afraid of pressure cookers though. Perhaps irrationally.

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