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How to Cook Beans, Basic Bean Cooking

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Published on Jul 15, 2013

Hi, I'm Judith Kingsbury from savvy vegetarian dot com. Today I'm going to show you basic bean cooking, with kidney beans and black eyed peas. Let's start with kidney beans. Kidney beans are very hard and they take long soaking, 12 - 24 hours, and it depends on the age of the bean how long they have to be cooked. When you first start soaking them, they get kind of wrinkly, then they get less and less wrinkly until finally there are no more wrinkles and they are double in size. Sometimes that takes 24 hours and you need to change the water several times. At this point you can cook beans in the pressure cooker, or on the stove, or in a slow cooker. If you're going to do kidney beans in a slow cooker, you have to bring them to a boil and boil them for about 10 minutes. Some people say 15 minutes, some people say 20 minutes, but I find that 10 minutes is enough. The reason is that kidney beans have a toxin called phytohennagglutenin. In kidney beans that toxin is very high and can make you quite sick.How you get rid of it is the long soaking and boiling for 10 or 15 minutes before you put them in the slow cooker. It's a good idea to pre heat the slow cooker on high, then cook the kidney beans on high. Robin Robertson in Fresh from the Vegan Slowcooker says to cook them on high for 3 hours. With kidney beans, or any other beans, once you bring them to a boil, and put them in the hot slow cooker and put the lid on, they will stay at boiling point for some time. So that's why I say 10 minutes is good enough. Lots of people do cook kidney beans in the slow cooker without bringing them to a boil first and they haven't gotten sick yet, but I'm giving you the safest way to cook kidney beans to get rid of the toxin. That toxin is also in black beans but not nearly as much. It's also in white kidney beans, but about half as much as kidney beans. In other beans it's not really something to worry about. But with kidney beans it's a big deal. Lorna Sass's Complete Vegetarian Kitchen talks about pressure cooking beans, and for kidney beans she gives a time of 10 -12 minutes, after being soaked, and un soaked, 20 - 25 minutes. I don't recommend cooking kidney beans without soaking - it just doesn't work. Stove top cooking for kidney beans takes 1 1/2 - 2 hours, and my experience has been that it takes at least that long. Even after soaking for 24 hours, you could end up cooking them for up to 3 hours, so don't have in your head that after two hours your beans should be done and they are not, so you think there is something wrong with the beans. They just need to cook longer. Now I'm going to transfer these kidney beans into the pressure cooker. I've already sorted through these and taken out anything that doesn't belong. Then I'm going to add water to just cover the beans, bring them to a boil, skim the foam, then put the lid on and lock it down. The lock button is up, and the pressure set for high, waiting for the yellow pressure indicator button to pop up. Then I turn the burner down to simmer, and set the timer. When the timer goes off, turn off the burner, and let the pressure come down naturally. Then I can open the lid. My kidney beans cooked a total of 17-minutes, 5 minutes longer than they would normally. The reason is that I added salt to the beans to keep them intact, instead of splitting and blowing out when cooking. See - they are all intact. Let's see if they're tender. Mmm, good! I'm going to leave these on the stove to cool off, and then I'll freeze them in small containers to use when I need them for chili or soup or salad, or anything I like. Here's my black eyed peas all soaked, and ready to go on the stove and cook. The other day, it took me 20 minutes to cook black eyed peas after a few hours soaking. Some books say thirty minutes cooking, but I think they would be mush if I cooked them that long. Add water just to cover, put the black eyed peas on the stove, and bring to a boil. Skim the foam, then cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Let's see if they're done. Perfect! Mmmh! I'm going to let them cool and then put them in freezer containers to keep in the freezer. You can use black eye peas to make stews, soups, salads, hummus, refried beans. Black eyed peas are a traditional in the south, for making a New Years dish called Hoppin John, but we like them anytime. They're very tasty. Thank you for joining me for basic bean cooking. I hope you feel encouraged to try using a pressure cooker. Its the best kitchen investment that I've ever made. You can find our basic bean recipe on savvy vegetarian dot com. Just search in the upper right hand corner for basic beans and it'll pop right up.

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