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Tips for Cooking with Dried Beans

Tips for Cooking with Dried Beans

Shiloh Farms Adzuki Beans

1. Properly stored in a cool, dry place, dried beans will keep indefinitely in a tightly closed container or glass jar. However, as time passes, their nutritive value and flavor can degrade, and cooking times lengthen. Therefore, it is advisable to use dried beans by the "Best By" date referenced on packaging.

2. Average cooking times for dried beans typically vary from 1-3 hours and will depend upon the age of the bean, altitude, and your desired level of doneness, among other factors. For more specific cooking guidance, please check packaging or product pages.

3. Higher altitudes can wreak havotic when cooking dried beans. As a rule, the higher the distance above sea leve, the longer it will take beans to cook.  

4. For most beans, 1 C. dry usually nets about 2 1/2 C. cooked. For lentils, chickpeas, lima beans, and great northern beans, 1 C. dry equals about 3 C. cooked. 

5. Before cooking, beans should be carefully sorted and rinsed to remove any stones, dirt, or discolored beans.

6. We recommend hot soaking dried beans before cooking to reduce actual cooking time and produce the best texture. To do so, cover beans with 3-4 times their volume of water, then bring to a low boil for about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and leave beans soaking overnight (or at least 4 hours.) When finished, drain and rinse with fresh water.

7. Use 2 parts liquid for every 1 part dried beans. Once beans begin boiling, lower heat to medium simmer and cook 1-2 hours, or until done to your liking. Stir beans occassionally and add liquid as needed.

8. Test frequently during cooking and make your own determination about when beans are adequately tender and taste "done." Remember, desired tenderness will vary depending upon intended usage. It is better to cook beans to a firm stage for salads, freezing, and longer-cooking recipes. If you plan to puree or mash the beans, cook until very soft.

Cooking Suggestions:

  • Add salt and tomatoes at the end of cooking, since they have a tendency to harden the skins of beans, lengthening cooking time.
  • Chopped garlic and onions may be added at any time during cooking process.
  • Do not add baking soda during cooking, as it will destroy nutrients in the beans.
  • Add dried herbs during the last half hour of cooking; fresh herbs should be added at the very end.
  • Add vegetables after the beans have begun to become tender, about 30-60 minutes before they will be finished cooking.
  • For hard-to-cook beans, try adding 1 strip of Kelp Kombu to the pot. Kombu does magic things with all types of beans, speeding cooking time, softening the beans, and thickening the broth. Add a 4" long strip of kombu per every 1 lb. dried beans and cook as usual.


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