Dry Heirlooms Beans

Cooking with Dry Beans – this phrase seems to scare some people, but it’s really an incredibly easy process.

calypsoSee links to Heirloom Bean Recipes at bottom of this page.

Four Easy Steps

  1. Clean the Beans – sort the beans, looking for any stones or debris and discard them.
  2. Rinse the Beans – place in a colander and rinse under cold running water
  3. Soak the Beans – See soaking notes below
  4. Cook the Beans – see cooking notes below

SOAKING METHODS

The Hot Soak Method

  1. Place beans in a large pot and add 10 cups of water for every 2 cups of beans.
  2. Heat to boiling and boil for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Remove beans from heat, cover and let stand for 4 to 24 hours.
  4. Drain beans and discard soak water.
  5. Rinse beans with fresh, cool water.

The Traditional Soak Method

  1. Pour cold water over beans to cover.
  2. Soak beans for 8 hours or overnight.
  3. Drain beans and discard soak water (NOTE: cold water starts but does not complete the rehydration process so the beans may appear wrinkled after soaking. They will fully rehydrate during cooking.)
  4. Rinse beans with fresh, cool water.

The Quick Soak Method

  1. Place beans in a large pot and add 6 cups of water for every 2 cups of beans.
  2. Bring to boil and boil for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Remove beans from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour.
  4. Drain beans and discard soak water.
  5. Rinse beans with fresh, cool water.

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Cooking Methods

If you can boil water, then you can cook Heirloom Beans. 

A few tips:

  • Wait to add salt, vinegar, wine, lemon juice, & anything with tomatoes at the end, adding too early can prevent beans from getting properly soft
  • Herbs and spices can be added at any time during cooking
  • Add 1 T of oil to your water to prevent beans from foaming and boiling over
  • Keep cooking temp to gentle simmer rather rolling boil
  • Make sure you don’t let hem boil dry – keep adding water as needed to keep them covered
  • Stir occasionally to prevent sticking

Stove-Top Method

Put about 3 cups of water to 1 cup of beans or until the beans are covered by 2″ of water.   Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Let beans cook gently until they become tender and have reached your desired stat e of doneness.  Usually about 1-2 hours. 

NOTE:  Cooking with hard water will toughen the beans and  increase their cooking time.  Old beans will take much longer to cook than fresher beans.  

Oven Method

Oven cooking is perfect for a cold winter day as it will keep your kitchen warm all day.  Oven cooking takes about the same time as stove top cooking.   Preheat your oven to 350.  Bring to a boil on the stove top and then once it boils, cover and place in the preheated oven.  Stir and check your beans every 45-60 min to see if they need more water.

Slow Cooker Method

Add the beans to the slow cooker and cover with three inches of water above the beans. Cook on low overnight or for 6 to 9 hours.  This is my favorite way to cook beans – no babysitting, but you have to plan ahead.

NOTE: You can cook any beans in a slow cooker except kidney beans which can have a toxin calledphytohaemagglutinin and will need to be brought up to a boiling temperature to destroy the toxin.  You can boil kidney beans for 10 minutes before cooking them in the slow cooker. You will not have to do this for other types of beans.

How do I know when the bean are done?

  • Bite “test beans” for tenderness. Beans should be tender, but not mushy. If beans are not tender after the specified cooking time, the reason could be altitude, hard water or the age of the beans. Keep cooking and bite test for tenderness until they are perfect for your likeness or recipe.
  • Drain beans immediately after they reach the desired tenderness to halt the cooking process and prevent over-cooking.

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Great resource for cooking Dry Beans is the Bean Institute 

Links to Heirloom Bean Recipes