Cooking with dry beans is a fantastic way to add flavour, nutrition, and versatility to your meals. However, one of the biggest challenges when cooking with dry beans is figuring out how to soak them properly before cooking. Soaking dry beans can make them more digestible, reduce cooking time, and ensure that they cook evenly. In this article, we'll give you some tips and tricks on how to soak dry beans such as chickpeas, pinto beans, and kidney beans for cooking.
Why soak dry beans?
Soaking dry beans is an essential step when cooking them as it can help remove some of the complex sugars in the beans that cause gassiness and bloating. Soaking can also reduce cooking time, which is especially helpful if you're short on time or cooking for a large group of people. Finally, soaking ensures that the beans cook evenly, which can be a challenge when cooking with dry beans.
How to soak dry beans?
The soaking process is simple, and all you need is a large bowl, some water, and your dry beans. Here are the steps:
Step 1: Rinse the dry beans under cold water and pick out any debris or stones.
Step 2: Transfer the beans to a large bowl and cover with water at least 4x or 5x the amount of beans.
Step 3: Let the beans soak for at least six hours, or overnight. If you're short on time, you can soak the beans in hot water for one to two hours.
Step 4: Drain the beans and rinse them under cold water before cooking.
Tips for soaking dry beans
Here are a few additional tips to keep in mind when soaking dry beans:
If you're using hard water or water with a high mineral content, you may need to add some baking soda to the soaking water to help soften the beans.
For a more flavour, you can add some apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to the water.
If you're short on time, you can use a pressure cooker to cook unsoaked beans quickly. However, keep in mind that unsoaked beans may be harder to digest and may cause gas and bloating.
Soaking dry beans before cooking is a simple and essential step that can make a big difference in the flavour and texture of your dishes. By following these tips and tricks, you can ensure that your beans are properly soaked and ready to cook. With a little practice, you'll be able to master the art of cooking with dry beans and enjoy delicious and nutritious meals every time.
Pro Tip: We batch-cook beans over the weekend and keep a stash of cooked beans in the fridge ready to go. Over the week, we add them to salads, stews, or even mash into sandwich fillings to add a little protein and texture to our meals.