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FF: beans

One of us wrote:  "I was taught to put a pinch of baking soda in my beans
so that they =
would get soft."

This is not a good idea.  I chemist aquaintance told me that there is some
sort of undesireable chemical reaction between beans and baking soda.  The
baking soda leaches all of the nutrients from the beans.

I have been cooking with beans for decades ( am I grown up enough to think
of my life in terms of decades now?  oh my!!)  and there are a few tips I'd
love to share.

Soak the beans overnight....in a cool place.  Here in San Diego that often
means the refrigerator.  Letting them soak in a warm place means that they
will begin to ferment.  Fermentation results in flatulence and most people
object to that aspect of beans.

Cook the beans slowly.  I have learned that a long slow cooking period is
much better than a hot, fast cooking.  I use the crock pot.  Or I use the
stove, but at a long slow simmer.  People sometimes use a hot fast boil as
a substitute for a cool soak overnight.  I personally have not found this
to be effective as the few times I have tried this, my beans turned to mush

I find I prefer to have my beans completely cooked before I start adding
anything to them.  Any falvorings added to beans while they are still in
the cooking interfers with the beans cooking completely.  So I cook up
quantites of beans, freeze them in 1 cup portions and remove what I need
for a recipe.  Then and only then do I add any flavorings.  If the recipe
allows for a cooking time for the beans, such as soup or chili, I simply
ignore that instruction.  I cook until flavors meld together.

***Under no circumstances ever use salt at any point in cooking beans.***
If salt is used, even after the beans are cooked and then added to a
recipe, the beans will toughen up.  Please save the salt for the table.

Personally, I don;t like my beans to be soft.  I prefer them al dente,
cooked but with a bit of tooth to them <g>.

Gloriamarie, writing to you where San Diego's Perpetually Perfect Weather
reigns again!!

"The moral is, build up that stash. You never know when you're
going to need to knit a scarf for the Dalai Lama." Jean Miles, Edinburgh