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How to Cook Beans

Article by: Allrecipes  |  Picture by: Allrecipes
How to Cook Beans
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Easy to prepare and easy on the wallet, beans are a cheap and healthy way to eat plus they are high in protein, fibre, calcium, potassium and iron. Also known as pulses or legumes they are a must-have in any pantry.
Dried vs Tinned Beans
There's no doubt there's nothing more convenient that opening a tin of fully cooked chick peas or red kidney beans. But dried beans can offer much more variety compared to tinned, give you greater control over how your beans are cooked and are much more economical.

You just need to be a little more organised in how you use them due to the longer preparation time required.

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Soaking Dried Beans
For the best results, soak your beans overnight but – in a pinch - you can do a quick soak about an hour beforehand.

Full Soak Rinse beans in cold water, picking out any shrunken ones as well as pebbles or grass - some of the best beans do have them! Place in a pot with about 3 cups of water for every cup of beans – and soak overnight in the fridge. Discard any beans that float to the top.

Quick Soak Rinse and pick through beans, then place them in a pot with enough cold water to cover them by 5cm. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and let sit covered for one hour. You can either keep the cooking water and proceed with your recipe, or you can drain the beans and start again with fresh water.
Reducing bean gas
Using fresh cooking water will not, as some claim, reduce beans' gas-causing properties. To build up your body's ability to digest beans, eat them more often - just like those cowboys in "Blazing Saddles."
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Cooking Beans
When you're ready to cook the soaked beans, drain them and cover with fresh water. Bring the beans to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.

Check periodically and keep enough water in the pot so beans are always under at least 1cm of liquid.

After soaking, beans will take between one and two hours to cook, depending on their size. Check the recipe to see how long you need to cook them for.
Lentils
The only exception to the soaking rule is with lentils. These generally don't need to be soaked at all. Just rinse and cover with plenty of water, then simmer for about half an hour - or cook according to the recipe.
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Substituting Dried Beans for Cooked
If you have a recipe that has tinned beans but you want to use dried, remember that most dried beans will triple in volume when fully cooked. And if you're using black beans, cannellini beans, split peas or chickpeas, they will nearly quadruple in size.
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