Dried beans are priced more affordably than canned beans, but require a bit of extra preparation. A lot of people experience discomfort and gas from beans due to their naturally complex sugars, but soaking the beans overnight turns those complex sugars into simple sugars. Pre-soaking beans overnight could make eating beans easier on the digestive system, while soaking also decreases the cooking time and allows less opportunity for loss of protein and nutrients in cooking water. To test for doneness with any bean, look for tenderness -- it should be possible to mash beans when they are finished cooking.
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Used to make soymilk, tofu and edamame, soybeans are a complete protein source containing carbohydrates, protein, fat and all of the essential amino acids. Soak every 2 cups of soybeans in 6 cups of water for 8 hours before cooking. Drain and rinse the beans, then pressure cook them for 12-15 minutes or simmer for around 3 hours.
Sort through black beans before cooking to get rid of any residue, then soak them in an amount of water that is three times their volume. Generally, 1/3 cup of beans will yield 1 cup cooked beans, while 1/2 cup beans will yield 1 1/2 cups cooked beans. Add black beans to fresh water and bring to a boil. After they boil, simmer for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours or in a pressure cooker for 5-8 minutes. Use cooked black beans as a base for soup, dip, bean salads and chilli.
Also called butter beans, soaked lima beans have a shorter cooking time than most beans at 45-60 minutes. The pressure cooker method is not suggested for lima beans, but lima beans can be boiled for two minutes and allowed to stand for an hour in lieu of soaking overnight. After the expedited soaking process, proceed to cook lima beans for up to an hour until tender.
Popular in Italian cusinine, Cannellini beans are a type of nutty, smooth white bean also referred to as White Kidney or Fazolia beans. They are a little larger than some beans, so be sure soak overnight and then to boil them for at least 10 minutes before simmering for another 1-2 hours until tender. In a pressure cooker on a high setting, Cannellini beans cook in 6-8 minutes. Use in minestrone soup or sauté with leafy green vegetables.
Garbanzo beans are more commonly referred to as chickpeas, infamous for their role in hummus. Great northern beans should be soaked overnight, then simmered for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or cooked in a pressure cooker for 5-7 minutes. A great source of protein and iron, garbanzo beans can be found in red, black and brown varieties but are most often light yellow. Their round shape holds up after cooking, making them great for soups and salads. When cooked, they should be soft enough to mash or blend into a hummus.
Slightly mushy when cooked, pinto beans are often used in Mexican dishes. After soaking overnight, simmer the beans for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or pressure cooked for 5-7 minutes. They have a speckled appearance when dried, but will change to a light brown after cooking.
Red Kidney Beans
Cooking red kidney beans sufficiently is especially important, since red beans contain a type of toxin called Kidney Bean Lectin. Eating raw kidney beans can cause symptoms of intense naseau, vomiting and diarrhoea. For a more appetizing experience with red kidney beans, soak them for at least 5 hours. Then boil them for at least 10 minutes before simmering for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Their slight sweetness makes them a great ingredient in bean salads.
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