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Traditional Methods for Cooking Beans

Jump within page to... Soaking Dry Beans
Dry beans, whole peas, and split peas (unless used in soup) need soaking before cooking. Lentils do not. Overnight soak: Wash and sort beans; place in large sauce pan with 6 cups of water per pound of beans. Let stand overnight. Whole, soaked beans can be cooked in a variety of ways, or frozen to speed cooking time even further. Cook soaked beans slowly over low heat to prevent broken or floating skins. A tablespoon of oil or butter added during cooking reduces foaming and boil-overs.

Cooking Times These times are approximate. They differ according to altitude, age and moisture content of beans, and soaking method. The following list is a fairly complete list of average cooking times for soaked beans:

Note: Old beans ground to a flour still cook in only 3 minutes for soups. If using very old beans, make a small amount of soup to test for bitter flavor before using in soups or breads, etc.

Cooking Cracked Beans
Place soaked cracked beans in saucepan with hot water to cover. Bring to a boil; cover pan, then turn heat to medium-low and cook for 15-25 minutes, depending on texture desired (firm for stir fry or to mix with cracked wheat or pilaf, soft for creamy soups, casseroles or loaves).

Cooking Lentils
To cook lentils, combine 2 c. lentils and 5 c. water in a saucepan. Bring to boiling, reduce heat, cover tightly, and boil gently for 30 minutes.
Lentils do not require pre-soaking. Cook sprouted lentils only 5-10 min.

Cooking Beans in a Crock Pot
Place washed and sorted beans in boiling water (enough to cover) and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain off water. Then place beans in crockery cooker and add 6 cups of water per pound of beans and add seasonings to taste. Cook on low 12 hrs.

Cooking beans in a Pressure Cooker
Soak washed and sorted beans by either the overnight or quick method.
Drain and rinse. Place in pressure cooker (cooker should be no more than 1/3 filled to allow for expansion). Add water to cover and 1 T. of oil to reduce foaming.

Cover; cook at 10 pounds pressure 10-20 minutes, depending on size of bean.
OR, place washed and sorted beans - unsoaked - in pressure cooker with 3 times as much water as beans and 2-3 teaspoons of oil or butter. Cover; cook at 15 pounds pressure for 30 minutes for small beans, 40 minutes for large beans. Variance in time is due to the inherent texture of each different variety of bean.

For more information and nearly 400 bean recipes (with over 120 FAST bean flour recipes!), see my book, Country Beans.


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Copyright 1999 by Natural Meals Publishing. The information in this section may be freely used for non-profit purposes as long as the book source and author remain intact. Express permission of the author, Rita Bingham, must be received for commercial profit.

Updated: 24 Mar 99