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Question about beans (cooking not growing)

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Post  middlemamma on 4/20/2011, 9:45 pm

Here is my dumb question.

When I cook beans I usually cook northern or pinto and I cook them all day with onions and spices and we eat them with cornbread. The beans are WAY cooked easily fall apart, they could be mushed up and refried at this point.

How do you cook beans so they are like you get in the can? I have some recipes that call for canned black beans, and dried are so much cheaper. So are there instructions to cook beans so that they don't get mushy and are cooked but not fall apart soft?
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Post  janefss2002 on 4/20/2011, 10:14 pm

Actually this was a quest for me a few years ago. I found that pressure cooking the beans worked the best. There are many great recipes for pressure cooking beans in books by Lorna Sass.

Here is her website so you can get a feel of her recipes.
http://www.lornasass.com/

Soak the beans overnight and pressure cook with whatever seasonings (or as few as you want) and you are there. I freeze the results in 1 cup and 2 cup amounts for recipes.

jane
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Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 4/20/2011, 10:24 pm

Man, I don't know off hand, I just do it. Obviously from that statement, you know I'm OLD! Actually, black beans seem to cook faster than pintos. Here's what I do: The night before, I pick over the beans, and rinse them well (don't even ask how I know some clods of dirt can sneak past if you don't eyeball every bean!). Then I put them into the pot in which I intend to cook them, add water to about 1/2 to 1 inch above the beans, put the lid on the pot, and ignore them until the next day. Most likely the following day will show the beans have absorbed a lot of the water and will be above the water line, but pour off the water anyway and add fresh water and the seasonings you intend (but not salt) like, onion, any other aromatic vegetable, garlic, whatever. Put pot on the stove and bring to a boil, then turn down and let simmer gently for.....now here's where it helps to be OLD.....enough time to become cooked, but not mushy. My best advice is to start checking them after an hour (also about time to add any salt or tomato products you want to add--both of which can slow the beans' cooking. How long it takes to cook beans depends on several factors, and one of the most variable is: How Old Is the Bean, which translates to, how much residual moisture remains in this mostly dry item. Best indicator for a fully cooked bean is this...take a couple of individual beans into a spoon, blow on the beans, if the skins peel back from the wind from your breath, the beans are done....or you've been eating too much garlic.
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Post  janefss2002 on 4/20/2011, 10:28 pm

P.S.
I'm saying check out Lorna Sass recipes or cookbooks, not necessarily her "transforming your life" part. Her pressure cooking recipes are awesome. You get the texture of canned beans but you can control your salt, herbs, seasonings, etc. And save money by using dried beans.

Jane
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Post  herblover on 5/29/2011, 4:09 pm

@Nonna.PapaVino wrote:Man, I don't know off hand, I just do it. Obviously from that statement, you know I'm OLD! Actually, black beans seem to cook faster than pintos. Here's what I do: The night before, I pick over the beans, and rinse them well (don't even ask how I know some clods of dirt can sneak past if you don't eyeball every bean!). Then I put them into the pot in which I intend to cook them, add water to about 1/2 to 1 inch above the beans, put the lid on the pot, and ignore them until the next day. Most likely the following day will show the beans have absorbed a lot of the water and will be above the water line, but pour off the water anyway and add fresh water and the seasonings you intend (but not salt) like, onion, any other aromatic vegetable, garlic, whatever. Put pot on the stove and bring to a boil, then turn down and let simmer gently for.....now here's where it helps to be OLD.....enough time to become cooked, but not mushy. My best advice is to start checking them after an hour (also about time to add any salt or tomato products you want to add--both of which can slow the beans' cooking. How long it takes to cook beans depends on several factors, and one of the most variable is: How Old Is the Bean, which translates to, how much residual moisture remains in this mostly dry item. Best indicator for a fully cooked bean is this...take a couple of individual beans into a spoon, blow on the beans, if the skins peel back from the wind from your breath, the beans are done....or you've been eating too much garlic.

This is the method I use as well, although I don't add anything to the beans. I then freeze them for use is recipes and the freeze/thaw helps to tenderize them a bit more.
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Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 5/29/2011, 6:35 pm

Herblover, great idea, especially if you put up a bunch of pinto beans, then when the urge moves you to brew up some Texas chili con carne, the bean side dish is already available! You may get the drift that I'm not a fan of chili cooked WITH beans, prefering beans served alongside and added by the dinner guests. That way, the beany flavor complements the chili, and isn't overwhelmed by it. Also, leftovers give one the option of Huevos Rancheros the next day: Refry the beans in your big ol' Griswald cast iron skillet. Slop some hot refried beans on a warm corn tortilla or two, top with an over-easy egg or two, slather the creation with a goodly dollop of hot chili and some shredded cheese, and serve with chopped onions, salsa, cilantro, sliced pickled jalapenos on the side. With such a breakfast, I guarantee you can work all morning in the garden with nary a hunger pang, even buillding beds and mixing Mel's Mix with a spade.
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