Soaking Red Kidney Beans - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 11-07-2007, 12:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Are there any secrets to soaking dried kidney beans? Any helpful tips?

I'm soaking dry dark red kidney beans for chili. I used to just use the canned ones, but then realized they had HFCS or corn syrup or sugar added in... I found an "organics" brand that doesn't have sugar/CS added but of course they're much more expensive. So I decided I'll just soak my dry beans.

First time, I tried doing a quick soak method using warm water -- but it didn't work so well. A lot of red skins came off the beans, which made them look wierd in the chili.

This time I am doing a slow overnight soak in cold water. I've drained/rinsed and changed the water twice so far. Now I have them on the stove on a low simmer to get softer.

Does this sound right?

Iris
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#2 of 7 Old 11-07-2007, 01:19 PM
 
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Yup, sounds right!

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#3 of 7 Old 11-07-2007, 04:55 PM
 
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I've had really good results after soaking in very warm water. After trying Gale Force's method (show on the site) I switched to the crock pot method I read about here somewhere. I put the beans and as much water as the crockpot will fit (since it evaporates pretty quickly) and turn it to Low, and NO lid. It stays right about 130F, which is sadly too hot for yogurt but just warm enough for beans. After an 8 hour soak, I rinse the beans and cook as usual.
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#4 of 7 Old 11-07-2007, 05:53 PM
 
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Did you add some salt or seasonings?

I think the beans absorb more while they are cooking

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#5 of 7 Old 11-07-2007, 06:07 PM
 
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Some say that if you add salt before beans are cooked, they'll never cook. It isn't strictly true, but they do tend to take a bit longer and hold their shape better. I don't usually add it until afterwards (garlic and seasonings are OK though), but if I was making a salad or something and wanted the kidney beans to stay very firm-shaped, I might.

I soak mine overnight in warmish water, but a quicker version is: boil for five minutes, then leave to cool for an hour.

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#6 of 7 Old 11-07-2007, 06:36 PM
 
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Oh I should say that I cook mine plain (so that i can separate some in case i want to make a bean pie), then sautee some onions and add the beans to that, and then add spices and salt. I've had really bad luck trying to add spices and salt before the beans are cooked.
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#7 of 7 Old 11-08-2007, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Some say that if you add salt before beans are cooked, they'll never cook. It isn't strictly true, but they do tend to take a bit longer and hold their shape better.
Hmm, I've never heard that about the salt. I did add some salt in the early stages of simmering (after the overnight cold water soak), so maybe that is why it took them SO DARN LONG to cook!

I ended up simmering them on Low almost all day yesterday... only turned them off a couple times when I left the house, then back on when I came home. Last night I added in some leftover sauteed onions from dinner, and some leftover "chicken broth potato water" (that is, the leftover liquid after cooking potatoes in chicken broth to make mashed potatoes). All that simmered together for awhile, and at bedtime the kidney beans STILL were not cooked soft. I just turned the burner off but let them sit on the stove all night long. This morning they were nice and soft (FINALLY!) and had absorbed all the liquid.


So, on with the rest of the chili making. The beans alone have taken two days. : This had better be the best-tasting chili I've ever made.

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