Beans: To Soak or Not to Soak?

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People have often soaked dried legumes like beans, lentils, and garbanzo beans prior to cooking to make them more digestible.

But you don't have to soak. With a few tweaks to cooking times and temperatures, you can cook beans from a dried state and have beans that are easy-to-digest and have a more robust flavor.   

This is something we'd already been doing for some recipes, and when the LA Times declared that all the cool kids agree, it was pretty much settled. 

Here's their method: 

  1. Rinse and sort beans in a large pot. For every cup of beans, add 4 cups of water.
  2. Boil beans for 3 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to stand for two hours.
  4. Drain, add enough fresh water to cover beans plus an inch, and soak for two hours.
  5. Drain, cover and soak for another two hoursdrain, rinse. 

It might be easier for some to stick with the tried and true overnight soak.

Here's how:

Soak 1 lb. of beans overnight, drain, rinse. To cook them, add 6 cups of hot water and simmer gently with tilted lid for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours until you reach desired tenderness.  

And finally, here's a tip: don't soak your beans and wait to use them...

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Anna Dietze
Anna Dietze

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