Monday, February 7, 2011

Using Dried Beans....

When using dried beans one of the most important steps in the process is soaking.  Dried beans require an overnight soak to begin re-hydrating before the actual cooking process.  Below are a couple of examples of dried beans, before and after soaking.

These are red beans.  You can see that some of the beans on the right do not look like they've been soaked.  I soaked them overnight and what should have taken only about 40 minutes of cooking (per the recipe) took 5 hours!  It's not the fault of the recipe.  The beans may have been on the shelf for a very long time.  The end result was very good, but would be most discouraging to someone trying for the first time. 
These are great northern beans.  I've always had good luck with this variety.  I'm thinking too, that it's a very popular bean, so a much higher turnover than the red beans.  Anyway, these took between 45-60 minutes of cooking and they were perfect. 

Please remember that when using dried beans cooking times can greatly vary.  The next time I use dried red beans, I will soak them for 48 hours.

Look for one of my favorite old fashioned soups this week!

Have a great night!

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