Cooking beans, part 2

Hello all, here are the remaining directions for cooking dried beans.

Step 5: Well, this isn’t really a step, unless you want to count taking the lid off a step, but I wanted to show you what the soaked beans will look like in their soaking water. I have found that my water is usually the color of the beans. Or at least has a slight hue of the color of the beans.

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Step 6: Drain and rinse soaked beans in a colander.

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Step 7: Cover with clear, clean, cold water. Make sure that there is AT LEAST double the amount of water to beans in the pan, so as to avoid accidentally boiling the beans dry (I’ve done that too many times to count, and wouldn’t want you to make the same mistake. It is better to use two pots and make sure you have plenty of water than to have them boil dry/burn/stain your pot.)

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Step 8: Place on stove, on high heat and bring to a boil. Once it has reached a full rolling boil, turn down to a simmer, cover pan, and let cook for 2-4 hours or until beans are tender (the older your beans are, the longer it will take to cook). I don’t usually season my beans until the last hour, and then the last hour I add my salt, pepper, garlic, whatever I’m seasoning with that day…..if I am making beans to freeze for salads/recipes, etc, then I don’t season them at all. One important thing to remember is to not cook your beans with anything acidic until they are done or nearly done. If you add tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, lemon juice or anything acidic, the skins of the beans will remain tough, and you will end up with crunchy beans (yuck!).

Step 9: When beans are cooked through, remove from heat, drain, and rinse again.

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Step 10 (if you’d like): Once your beans are completely cooled, they can be put in containers or freezer bags for freezing for quick meals, salads, etc. I like to freeze mine in 2 cup increments, because when a recipe calls for a can of beans, I can pull out one of my bags that is marked 2 cups, and use that, it will be approximately the correct amount of beans (some manufacturers can their beans with more liquid, less beans, so the 2 cups isn’t always exact). Make sure before putting the beans into the bags that you mark your bags or containers! You don’t want to wonder a ways down the calendar road, what this bag of mystery substance, and how much it is. Oh, also, according to a chart that I have from the Ziploc company on freezing foods, you can safely freeze cooked dried beans for 6 months (If packaged properly)  One more thing about freezing beans, I like to distribute mine evenly in my bag and lay it flat so that I can stack several bags on top of one another in the freezer.
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I do hope that this has been helpful, and that it has taken the intimidation out of cooked dried beans!

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