I am making soup and have been boiling my dried beans for hours and they have softened but are not soft. Any ideas on how to get them to completely soften?

asked 25 Nov '09, 04:32

Newday's gravatar image

accept rate: 16%

edited 25 Nov '09, 14:27

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klypos ♦♦

Unfortunately, the answer to this question won't help you with your current batch of beans. If you add salt to the beginning of the boil the beans might not ever get soft. You really have to wait to add salt until the very end.


answered 25 Nov '09, 05:12

4dramamama's gravatar image

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You have to soak dried beans before you use them. This is especially important with red kidney beans, which naturally contain a nasty substance (phytohemagglutinin) that is removed by soaking.

Do not add salt or any seasoning until the beans are cooked soft - use water only.

You start the day before you want to use them. Measure the beans into a bowl or saucepan, add freshly boiled water - three times the volume of the beans, so three cups of water for each cup of beans. Cover them and leave to one side for at least 8 hours - longer will not hurt, overnight is usual.

Throw away the water. If cooking red beans, add more freshly boiled water and soak for another two hours, then throw the water away again.

Now you have soaked the beans, you can cook them. Boil in fresh water until tender. This will take anything from an hour and a quarter to a little over two hours. Once you reach this stage, you can add seasoning, and put them into the dish you are trying to create.


answered 25 Nov '09, 15:11

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klypos ♦♦
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There are a couple ways I use to prepare dried beans for cooking.

The best way I've found to reduce cooking time and get the beans to be tender is to soak overnight in water, an added bonus to this method is if you add a teaspoon or two of baking soda to the soak it will reduce that well known side effect from eating them.

Rinse thoroughly the next day and bring to boil in plenty of water or broth. After about 2-3 hours the beans will be ready to eat.

If you find yourself in a hurry the next best thing is to set the beans to boil, then take them off the heat and let stand covered for approximately 2 hrs before resuming the cooking process.


answered 25 Nov '09, 14:45

Kathy%20Altholz's gravatar image

Kathy Altholz
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edited 25 Nov '09, 15:18

klypos's gravatar image

klypos ♦♦

Adding baking soda is useful for soaking dried peas in cold water. Water containing baking soda must be thrown away and the beans washed before cooking. When baking soda is heated at the boil, it turns to WASHING soda, which will toughen the skins and make peas turn a peculiar dark color.

(25 Nov '09, 15:23) klypos ♦♦

The best way to get beans the right texture is to follow the soaking instructions on the back of the bag. HOWEVER, if it is too late for that now, you might try the CROCKPOT, which has saved my life a million times over. Place the contents of your recipe in the crock pot and do not allow to go over more than a simmer. Allow to sit all day. Good luck!


answered 25 Nov '09, 15:23

ladyjerusalem's gravatar image

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If you aren't able to soak your beans overnight, you can use a quick method. Bring a potful of water to a rolling boil, add your beans, bring back to a boil for a minute or two, turn off the heat, cover, and let them sit for 45-60 minutes. After that you can drain the beans and use them in your recipe (which hopefully require a few hours of simmer time).


answered 27 Nov '09, 11:15

mister%20bill's gravatar image

mister bill
accept rate: 0%

The best way to soften beans is to set them out the night before in a bowl of water. This helps soften and "break" up the hard skin. Drain the soak water in the morning and add fresh water before placing on stove. Bring water to boil and reduce to simmer until the skin splits when blown upon. Beans are not a quick cook food so even with this method be prepared for it to take some time but does not take nearly as long as trying to cook hard beans from start.


answered 27 Nov '09, 14:50

Destiany's gravatar image

accept rate: 4%

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Asked: 25 Nov '09, 04:32

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Last updated: 26 Apr '10, 17:42

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