I am trying to eliminate canned foods currently (or at least reduce drastically). We eat meat, but I am trying to cut that down too for financial reasons. So we are turning to dried beans in bulk.
I soaked regular black beans for about 30 hours and then cooked then for at least 2 and they are still kinda hard and gritty. I love beans, but not these beans. yuck.
Tell me how to do this so they taste good. lol. I know there is a way...
I do mine in a crock pot. I put them in on high in the morning with plenty of water and I leave it on all day. I add water when necessary. I turn it off for overnight and then I do whatever I was going to do with them the next morning. The overnight part is really just because I'm always to tired to deal with them at the end of the day, but I have not had a problem with gritty beans doing them this way.
That was a reeeaaally long soak time! I would expect them to be pretty soft by that point. Black beans usually cook up pretty quickly. Did you cook them with an acid (like lemon juice)? That could have affected the cook time. My first guess though, is that you have old beans. I hate to say it, but if you didn't add lemon juice to the cook water, I'd ditch the beans you have and buy some new ones from a store that has quick bean turnover.
Black beans work well in a crock pot. Soak the beans (a few hours is fine - anything longer than overnight is overkill). Rinse them and pick out any stones (usually there aren't any, but it is a good idea to check). Then add 3 cups of water per cup of dried beans, a whole scrubbed (but not chopped or peeled) onion, and some kombu seaweed (if you have it) to the crock. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. If you are making beans ahead, you can freeze them at this point, or use them in a recipe. The only bean I've heard you should not cook this way are kidney beans, because they need to be cooked very hot for a certain amount of time to be safe, and the slow cooker will not get hot enough.
But if you have a pressure cooker, that is the absolute best way to cook beans. Here's how I do it: Soak and rinse the beans. Put the rinsed beans and water in the pressure cooker. For every 1 cup of beans that you put in the pot, add 3 cups of water. Add 1 scrubbed onion and 1 piece of kombu seaweed (if you have it). Bring up to pressure and cook for 15 minutes, then let the pressure drop naturally. The beans will be perfect!
I do add salt when I cook my beans, and never have a problem with it making them hard, but some people swear it makes a difference.
Thanks guys! I soaked them for a long time because they were older and I thought it would help. So, I think I am going to dump them and try again. bummer. I didn't add salt until the very end, so that's not the problem.
Oh well. Lesson learned!
If you want to give the old beans one more try, you could try adding baking soda to the cooking water. Add a little under a teaspoon per cup of dried beans. Some people say it softens the beans, some people say it does absolutely nothing, but it might be worth a try before throwing out the beans if you have a lot.
Another tip for cooking with bulk dry beans is to soak a whole bunch (say two lbs. dry beans), then drain and freeze half while cooking the other half. After soaking and freezing, they cook even faster (like an hour or less). That way you don't have to worry if you forgot to soak the night before! If you do this every time you cook different beans, then you'll have a whole stash of various varieties in the freezer that will cook up quick when you need them ;)