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There must be some trick to cooking beans that I'm unaware of.<br>
I'd thought cooking up some beans would be the easiest thing in the world, but I always get them either over done or under done.<br>
It's so much cheaper and I think healthier to use dry beans I really want to get this right. Anyone have some info for me?
 

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Soak them for a few days, sometimes mine even sprout. Then simmer gently till done, don't add salt to the water while cooking or it makes them tough
 

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i cook beans daily, i agree with the above post about soaking, and i also read a post a few days back about soaking with baking soda, and then rinsing, that it speeds up the cooking process.<br><br>
I do not agree with the part about adding salt while cooking though, for us, i cook while bloing, because we feel that the taste of food that is cooked with salt is much better than salt added after.<br><br>
I just keep them on medium heat and check them every 10 min, we have a gas stove which seems to make a difference too. just make sure you have enough water and all the other ingredients. we use tomatoe puree, garlic, onion and curry. usually cook with roman beans.<br><br>
hope that helps
 

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Some beans do get tougher with salt while cooking. Whether you like them salted while cooking or not, there is a difference. BUt doesn't matter so long as you like them. Pasta, potatoes, yes I salt while cooking, but beans I don't.
 

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cooking in a pressure cooker generally gets them perfectly done. As does in a crock pot. one is fast, one is slow. I would cook with salt and spices, helps the flavor soak into the beans (for general beans we use oregano, onion, garlic and salt, for other kinds such as navy we use different spices).<br><br>
be sure to soak overnight if possible, especially with thick skinned ones like kidney.<br><br>
Once you see the skins start to split, check them every 5-10 minutes for doneness.
 

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I was taught never to soak beans, as it makes them mushier. I was watching something (America's Test Kitchen maybe) and they discussed the chemistry behind beans and baking soda. It dissolves one of the chemicals in the beans, turning them to mush as well.<br><br>
I was always taught to rinse them well, cover them with a good amount of water and salt and simmer (not boil) slowly for hours, adding water as needed. When you lift a bean out of the pan on a spoon and blow on it, the skin should crack and start to peel back, but if they split while in the pan they're either old beans, or overcooked. The length of time this takes is going to depend on many factors, the breed of bean, the age of the bean, relative humidity, etc.<br><br>
And never add acid (tomato, vinegar, lemon, etc.) to uncooked beans. The chemical reaction actually causes them to harden.
 

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yes, ditto not adding acid things to uncooked beans, especially tomatoes. this goes for lentils too.<br><br>
I haven't noticed my beans to be mushier with soaking, and I've been doing them that way my whole life. Navy beans possibly, but I generally don't pre-soak those anyway.
 

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I don't usually soak anymore...both my own experience and what I've read (from Rick Bayless, among others) have borne out the theory that it's not necessary. I usually cook my beans in the crockpot, or on the stovetop.<br><br>
For most of the things I cook with beans, there's really no such thing as "overdone." Some of the recipes (cold salads come to mind) need beans that are separate and discrete, but so often I use them in soups or burritos or just as refritos and mushy or overdone isn't an issue. If the beans are underdone, why, just keep cooking them. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> But no salt, no acid. Just plain water and some baking soda if you are so inclined.<br><br>
HTH.
 

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Soaking will also break down the phytic acid. Phytic acid reduces your absorption of minerals, so soaking actually makes more minerals available to your body. Here's some research on <a href="http://www.rebuild-from-depression.com/simplechange/simplechange/simplechange/beans.html" target="_blank">phytic acid and beans</a> (and specifically how to soak)
 

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There is a company called Rancho Gordo which sells "heirloom" beans. They are much much much more pricey than regular beans. I'm sure they're wonderful, but I'm just interested in using their recipes on beans I buy locally...<br><a href="http://www.ranchogordo.com/html/rg_cook_index.htm" target="_blank">http://www.ranchogordo.com/html/rg_cook_index.htm</a><br><br>
They also have recipes on their blog as well...<br><a href="http://ranchogordo.typepad.com/" target="_blank">http://ranchogordo.typepad.com/</a>
 
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