How do I cook beans
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What kind of beans? If they are dry beans go to the bulk bins of dry beans at Whole Foods and there are instructions in front of each type of bean for cooking.
Are you asking about fresh beans or dried beans?
Fresh beans you can steam, saute, stir fry . . . the option are endless. Dress with a little olive oil, lemon and dill or other fresh herbs and serve. So yummy!
For dried beans (black or pinto), I usually soak them. I think that it helps them cook a little more quickly without falling apart. Take two and a half cups of beans and soak them overnight in lots of water (about four times the volume of your beans) or do a quick soak. Put beans and water in large pot, bring to a boil. Let boil for a minute or two, then cover and let sit for an hour, undisturbed.
For the actual cooking, I follow a Rick Bayless recipe. Drain beans and discard soaking liquid. Put beans back in pot and add 2 1/2 quarts water, 2 tablespoons fat (bacon drippings, canola oil, or even lard), 1 roughly chopped onion, and some fresh or dried epazote, if you have it. Bring to a strong boil, then reduce heat and cook at a gentle simmer, partially covered, for about 2 hours. Cook until beans are thoroughly tender, then add salt to taste. From here, you can mash, fry or serve the beans as is. I usually make a big batch and freeze what we don't eat. Cooked beans freeze really well.
If you want to cook Italian-style cannellini beans, here is a great link from the New York Times by David Tanis. http://www.nytimes.com...
If you want to cook dried beans on a regular/frequent basis, consider getting a pressure cooker. Same process -- soak, drain, cook, but the cooking time is short, it's fuel saving, and the beans get truly tender.