Do you have the patience to cook dried beans?

draft cookbook-795

Thanks to my friend, Wendy, who wants to know how to get dried beans, such as pinto beans, to turn out like their companion in the can.

Well, frankly, they are never going be like what is in the can.  They will however be ten times tastier than what is in the can!  But, before I go on, I have to let you in on a little secret that just might make you run for the hills.  The process of cooking beans is going to test your patience, especially at high altitude.  Don’t expect cooked beans in a couple of hours. Sorry sister, you are going to have to give yourself close to 12 hours to get perfect, tender beans. I know, a serious time commitment!  Ugh…but worth it, I promise!

How to achieve bean bliss?

  1. Rinse your dried beans in a colander and double check that there aren’t any random oddities that shouldn’t be there like a small rock or pebble.
  2. Don’t bother pre-soaking your beans, they will be in water long enough that it really isn’t necessary.
  3. Add beans to a slow cooker or to a large pot over medium-low heat.  Pour enough water over the beans to cover them by about 2 or 3 inches.  Bring the water to a simmer which is representative of small, tiny bubbles.  Large, big bubbles mean you are boiling the beans and will ultimately destroy their texture. Let the beans and water simmer for up to 12 hours or until tender.
  4. It’s not necessary to add in any other ingredient until the beans begin to tenderize. Remember less is more when it comes to cooking beans. You want them to cook as quickly as possible – I know 12 hours is not quick!  Adding in other ingredients (such as salt or anything acidic) can elongate the cooking time as well as alter the texture of the beans and make them completely inedible.
  5. Once tender, use accordingly for any of your recipes that call for pinto beans.

Give it a try and let me know how they come out!

6 thoughts on “Do you have the patience to cook dried beans?

  1. I’ve gone as long as 6-7 hours here at high altitude…thinking even that was crazy long (but alas, the only way to get tender beans)…but will have to try your 12 hour method!

    • Cooking fresh beans have set me over the edge so many times Tina! They can take forever and sometime I just don’t have the patience to wait that long! I’ve tried microwaving them too with not much success. The trick for me is remembering to put them on the night before – I often forget so I resort to canned.

      • It’s a beautiful blog, Elayne! I love your writing…and photos. Wish there was a way to have your new blog posts just pop into my e-mail inbox. I don’t often think to go directly into the blog, unless I see a post on FB of course. Ah, just noticed the “notify me of new posts via email” below, so trying that out :-)!

  2. I think the trick is making sure the heat is high enough that it stays at a simmer for the duration of cooking. Often time with slow cookers, there is no magic answer except for trial and error (and then remembering for the next time how long it actually took!). = )

  3. I’ll have to try this…I’ve soaked, used the crock pot, cooked long hours & they still don’t turn out. I need to try again.

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