How to Cook Dried Beans – The Right Way
Learn How to Cook Dried Beans the right way for maximum nutrition so that you can have these nutritious and convenient foods as a staple in your traditional foods pantry.
Why Soak Dried Beans?
When it comes to the process of cooking dried beans, focus on how to maximize extracting as much nutrition out of those humble beans as possible. And that’s why soaking dried beans is so important. And it’s not just about reducing their gaseous effects!
The Problem With Phytic Acid
Phytic acid is a compound found in many foods and specifically in grains and beans. You can learn more about their problematic effects in grains in my article and accompanying video where I show you how to soak and sprout grains.
But when it comes to beans, it’s important to soak them for an extended period of time—a minimum of 12 hours, but 48 hours is better—to activate a compound called phytase. And why activate phytase? Because phytase helps to deactivate some of the phytic acid.
We want to deactivate some of the phytic acid because it can make it difficult for us to absorb the nutrients in beans. Plus, phytic acid can also bind to certain minerals, like iron, in our bodies and strip them out of us. But the good news is that when we soak our beans, we deactivate some of that phytic acid and improve our ability to absorb and hold on to important nutrients.
But is Phytic Acid All Bad?
But don’t worry. We don’t need to obsess about phytic acid and deactivate every last bit in our food. Phytic acid has a bright side. It’s an antioxidant that scientists believe may play a roll in the prevention of certain diseases. So retaining some phytic acid in our food may actually be a good thing.
Plus, something worth noting, certain ethnic groups benefit from having phytic acid in their diet to remove some minerals from their bodies, especially if their genetics, for one reason or another, tends to hold on to too many nutrients.
For example, scientists have found that people of Irish ancestry have a trait of sometimes holding onto too much iron. And guess what? Phytic acid helps remove some of that iron. Because just like too little iron is not a good thing, too much iron is not a good thing either. To learn more about this fascinating topic, be sure to watch my video where I discuss the pros and cons of soaking certain foods.
Getting Back to the Dried Beans
Well, that was an earful about phytic acid, but now you see why you want to soak your beans. The good news is that dried beans are very inexpensive and take little actual “hands-on” time to prepare. The bulk of the time is downtime on our part while the beans soak. And once they are done soaking, the cooking time is considerably shortened up to as much as 30 minutes.
When it comes to making your beans, not only tender but tasty, I share a clever tip on how to season them perfectly. This tip allows the beans to absorb lots of flavor without affecting the cooking time—or their texture (Hint: Don’t salt the water while cooking the beans! I share a much better approach.). So be sure to watch the video and learn How to Cook Dried Beans – The Right Way!
More Bean Recipes
Now that you’ve learned the best way to cook dried beans, you can venture further into the world of beans and learn the secret to how to sprout beans! And with my tips, it’s much easier than you think—and you’ll be successful every time! So even on those days when you think life is a “Hill of Beans,” at least yours will be sprouted! 😉
And be sure to check out this delicious Italian Chickpea and Pork Rib soup recipe where I share a tasty way for using soaked…and sprouted…chickpeas!
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How to Cook Dried Beans
- 2 cups Beans, dried
- 10 cups Water
- 1 tablespoon Fine ground sea salt, optional
- Rinse beans well in a colander or strainer.
- Pick over beans to remove any that are discolored. Also, remove any small stones or pebbles.
- Put beans into a large pot.
- Add 10 cups of water to the pot.
- Soak beans for 12-48 hours. If soaking for 48 hours, change the water after 24 hours.
- After beans have soaked, rinse well, and return to pot with a fresh 10 cups of water.
- Bring the beans to a boil, then quickly reduce the heat to a medium simmer. (See "NOTES" below.)
- Simmer the beans until tender. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the type of bean.
- Once the beans are tender, remove the pot from the heat. If desired with the beans still in their cooking water, add the salt to the cooking water with the beans and stir to dissolve the salt. Allow the beans to sit in the salted water for approximately 5 minutes.
- Drain the beans.
- Cooked beans may be added to any dish, or kept refrigerated for up to 3-4 days. Beans may also be frozen for 2-3 months.
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