Cooking Beans

Start by picking over beans, removing stones or clumps of dirt. Rinse the beans.

Option 1: pre-soaking
Soak beans in water to cover by at least 2 inches overnight (in the fridge if the kitchen is hot). Use a large container because beans increase to 2-3 times their size in wter. Drain and cook.

Option 2: pre-cooking
Place beans in a pot covered with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil. Let simmer 10 minutes then remove from heat, cover, and let sit 1 hour. Drain and cook.

Method: Place the beans in a large pot with water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until the beans are tender all the way through (cut a bean in half to see what it’s like inside). Add more boiling water as necessary to make sure the beans are always covered by at least one inch. Cooking time is 1-4 hours depending on the beans and their age. It will take less time if you use Options 1 or 2. However, I usually start with dry unsoaked beans.

Drain the beans. Add to soups or stews. Or add your favorite seasonings to make it a meal.

Italian: Cook onion and garlic in olive oil. Add chiles if desired. Add diced tomatoes and beans. Cook until warmed through. Add fresh herbs or greens as desired.

Mexican: Cook onion and garlic in oil. Add chiles and chili powder. Fry until fragrant. Add diced tomatoes and cooked beans. Cook until warmed through.

British: Add a can of tomato sauce to the drained cooked beans. Warm through.

Indian: Cook onion and garlic in oil. Add curry powder, curry paste, garam masala or cumin and tumeric. Stir until fragrant. Add beans and diced tomatoes. Warm through.

Cooked beans can also be warmed and added to cooked greens to add protein, making a simple meal.

They can also be puréed with seasonings to make a dip. Or mashed into a bean loaf or bean burgers.

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