Winter Super Foods: Dried Beans: Preparation

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Preparation
With so many bean varieties to choose from, you'll now need to learn how to cook them. There are two steps to cooking beans: soaking and cooking. Soaking beans allows the dried beans to absorb water, which begins to dissolve the starches that cause intestinal discomfort. While beans are soaking they are also double to tripling in their size. Cooking the beans makes them edible and digestible.

Ready to soak and cook some beans?

Soaking Beans
Note: Lentils, split peas and black-eyed peas do not need to be soaked. Pick through the beans, discarding any discolored or shriveled beans or any foreign matter. Rinse well.

There are four ways to soak beans, depending on how far in advance you plan and how much time you have, you can decide which method of soaking will work best for you.

Traditional Slow Soak: In a stockpot, cover 1 pound dried beans with 10 cups water. Cover and refrigerate 6-8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse the beans.

Hot Soak: In a stockpot, bring 10 cups water to a boil. Add 1 pound dried beans and return to a boil. Remove from the heat; cover tightly and set aside at room temperature 2-3 hours. Drain and rinse the beans.

Quick Soak: In a stockpot, bring 10 cups water to a boil. Add 1 pound dried beans and return to a boil; let boil 2-3 minutes. Cover and set aside at room temperature 1 hour. Drain and rinse the beans.