Cooking with beans
Beans are a versatile, no cholesterol, low-fat heart healthy food that are high protein and full of fiber (especially soluble fiber), folate, zinc, iron and magnesium. Whether used in a hearty soup, a healthy dip or a refreshing salad, beans add great flavor to any dish. And beans can be less expensive than other protein sources.
Some people avoid cooking with dried beans because they aren't sure how to sort and prepare them for cooking. Don't be intimidated. Cooking dried beans is easy, and some dried legumes, such as split peas, don't need to be soaked at all. Check packaging for directions.
Sorting dried beans and peas
Layer the beans or peas in a baking dish. Sift through the beans with your fingers, feeling for stones or pebbles. Discard any shriveled or broken beans, pebbles, stones or debris and any beans that are greatly undersized or discolored.
Long-soaking dried beans
In a large saucepan, cover the beans with room temperature water. Hot water may cause the beans to sour, and cold water may cause longer cooking time. Soak at least 8 hours or overnight. Keep the beans covered by room temperature water while soaking.
Quick-soaking dried beans
In a large saucepan, cover beans with water and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and set aside, covered. Let beans stand in the water for 1 hour. Drain beans and cook as desired.