Cooking Dry Beans and Legumes

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Here at Foodnude we sell a range of dried beans & legumes.  The soaking and cooking of these can seem a little daunting as canned options can at times be a much easier option and can put us out of touch with the basic cooking requirements for these products.  Here are some simple guide lines to help you understand why and how we need to soak the beans/legumes and how to cook them.

BackgroundSoaking dried beans for several hours in filtered water reduces the time required to cook the bean/legume but pre-soaking also has other advantages: it helps break down some of the indigestible sugars that can cause flatulence (intestinal gas), heartburn, reflux, bloating and other digestive problems.

Food authorities today recommended that you soak all dried legumes except lentils, split peas, black-eyed peas and mung beans. The recommended minimum soaking times varies from variety to variety, with soybeans and chickpeas requiring the longest soaking times.

The ideal pre-soaking time for each dried legume depends on a number of factors, including its size, maturity at harvest, moisture level, age/freshness (older beans must be soaked for longer), and digestibility of the carbohydrates it contains.

Soaking: Before soaking beans, remove any broken beans and foreign particles. Rinse the beans thoroughly and discard the rinse water. Place the rinsed and drained legumes into a glass bowl and add cold water (about 3 cups of water for every cup of dried beans). Do not add salt as this can prevent the absorption of water!

Let the beans absorb water for several hours – the approximate minimum times are shown in the table. To reduce the ability of the cooked beans causing gas and bloating, change the water a couple of times during the soaking process.

After soaking, drain the beans and rinse them thoroughly with clean water.

Cooking: Cook the beans until they are tender but not mushy (note that this can take up to 2 hours, or even longer, for harder bean types such as soybeans and chickpeas). If you are using a pressure cooker, the cooking times will be significantly shorter.

Below is a guideline table of soaking & cooking times. Use the chart only as a rough guide.

Caution: Keep in mind that soaked, uncooked beans are still raw and in many cases highly poisonous, so make sure you always cook your beans thoroughly before eating them.


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