Cook beans and you are immediately part of an international community.
- Prepare meals that are easy, tasty, healthy and economical.
- Enjoy the splendid variety of colours, textures, and taste.
An essential part of the Mediterranean cuisine, beans are a gastronomic treasure across the globe.
- Alubias – the white cannellini beans used in Italian and Spanish dishes.
- Multi-hued pinto beans essential for the frijoles refritos of Mexico.
- Black beans that star in the Brazilian feijoada.
Cook Beans from Dried or Canned
For frugal preppers, dried beans are convenient and economical to buy in bulk. And the option of ready-to-go tinned beans is always there for those needing a quick meal.
I am fortunate in that working from home allows me to manage my time, and plan exercises such as dough-rising or bean-soaking.
Plus which, an alarm buzzer proves useful for those days when I am in the distant land of words and images . . .
Soaking Dried Beans
Preparing the dried beans is easy, and there are options for slow or accelerated preparation – much as with sourdough versus quick-yeasted breads.
The classic slow preparation:
- Rinse the beans, and soak them overnight.
- Drain, and toss out the soaking water.
- Rinse the beans again before use.
I have had equal, and sometimes better results with the ‘Quick Soak’ method.
Quick Soak Dried Bean Preparation
- Rinse the beans and measure them out into a large volume pan.
I use my Le Creuset marmite.
- Cover the beans with abundant water – a 4-to-1 ratio by volume is reasonable –
and bring to the boil.
- Hold at the boil for 2-3 minutes, then cover the pot and allow the beans to soak for an hour.
- Proceed as with the overnight-soaked beans – drain, rinse and use.
Use the Bean Soaking Water?
Some recipes I have seen advocate using the water in which the beans were soaked as the liquid for the final cooking.
Personally, I choose not to cook with the water the beans have soaked in. I find that using fresh water aids in presenting beans that are easily digested.
A balanced perspective is presented here.