You would be surprised at the number of people who have dried beans in their prep supplies, yet have no idea how to cook dried beans. Or if they have cooked beans, they only cook them with a pressure cooker, something that might not be usable in an emergency if there is no power or generator.
No, you can’t just toss a few handfuls of beans in a pot of boiling water and expect softened beans in no time, like you do with pasta. Cooking beans from dried bean form actually takes some planning and some work.
Dried beans can be cooked on a stovetop without a pressure cooker – although the pressure cooker method will be much easier if available!
Here is a simple method to cook dried beans:
- Soak the beans: Rinse the beans and remove any debris or stones. Then, place them in a large pot and cover with water. Let them soak overnight or for at least 8 hours. This will help to soften the beans and reduce cooking time. If you are travelling, you can put the beans in a jar with water and seal it.
- Drain and rinse the beans: After soaking, drain the beans and rinse them with fresh water.
- Add fresh water and seasonings: Place the beans in a large pot and cover with fresh water. The water should be about 2 inches above the level of the beans. Add seasonings such as salt, pepper, garlic, or bay leaves, if desired.
- Bring to a boil: Bring the pot to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce heat and simmer: Once the pot has reached a boil, reduce the heat to low and let the beans simmer for 1-2 hours, or until they are tender. Check the pot occasionally and add more water if needed to keep the beans covered.
- Test for doneness: To test if the beans are done, take a few beans out of the pot and try to mash them with a fork. If they are soft and mash easily, they are done.
- Drain and serve: Once the beans are cooked, drain them and serve them as desired, or add them to your dishes.
Cooking time can vary depending on the type and age of the beans. It is important to ensure that the beans are cooked thoroughly, as undercooked beans can be unpleasant to eat, difficult to digest and may cause gastrointestinal discomfort.